professional lean, agile & change coach

Leadership in 3 minutes

First; a leader needs to have the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous but what he’s doing is so simple it’s almost instructional. This is the key; he must be easy to follow!

The first follower has a crucial role since he publicly shows everybody else on how to follow. Notice how the leader embraces him as an equal. It’s not about the leader – it’s about THEM! The first follower is calling for his friends to join in. It takes guts to be a first follower. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms an alone nut into a leader. If the leader is the flint then the first follower is the spark that really makes the fire.

The second follower joins in. This is the turning point! It has proof that the first has done well. Now it’s not a lone nut, or two nuts – three is a crowd and the crowd is loose. A movement must be public. Make sure that outsiders see more than just the leader. Everyone needs to see the followers because new followers emulate followers – not the leader!

Two more people joins and immediately three more – Now there’s momentum! This is the tipping point, and now there is a movement. As more people join in it’s no longer risky. There’s no reason not to join in now. They won’t stand out, they won’t be ridicule – and they will be a part of the “in crowd” if they hurry. The rest prefer to stay a part of the crowd because eventually they will be ridicule of not joining. A movement is made!

Summary: If you are a version of the shirtless dancing guy, all alone. Remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals. Making everything clearly about the movement, not you. Be public. Be easy to follow. And the biggest lesson: Leadership is over-glorified. Yet it started with the shirtless guy and he gets all the credit. It was the first follower that transformed an alone nut into a leader. There’s no movement without the first follower. We are told that we all need to be leaders but that would be really ineffective. The best way to make a movement, if you really care, is to courageously follow and show others how to follow. When you find alone nut doing something great have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in!

1 Comment

  1. Tage

    Hi Sasa, long time no talk… You re so right. This is why many leaders bring in their old “first followers” to their new jobs. Ever noticed this, especially with a new CEO? 🙂



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