6 Differences Between Leaders and Followers

We often say that the best leaders started out as just being clueless followers, which for the most part, is true. Without leaders, we wouldn’t have people to guide us on the right path, to study and learn from.

When we follow successful leaders, we learn what works and what doesn’t work, what to do and what not to do.

However, when we follow others, we never learn anything from first hand experience. We’re never the first people to try something or find something new, and so there comes a point when just following someone is not enough.

We’ll never become leaders if we just wait for that person to step down so we can take their place.

There are many other powerful things that you need to do to become a leader, and these are all things that existing leaders had before they started following others. So here are the key differences between leaders and followers.


1) Leaders Take the Initiative, Followers Don’t

People become leaders because they took the initiative to get to that position in the first place. When they saw opportunities, they took them for themselves instead of waiting to see what others with a better reputation did about it.

“Will this work for me? Is it possible? Should I wait for someone else to try it?”

You want to be the innovative person, because that person is the first to discover, to do, and to thrive off something new. The results from something is never as good the second time it’s done.

By the time a leader’s crazy number of followers have tried this new method, the benefits will be minimal. It all trickles down until eventually the resource is tapped out, and there’s nothing left.


2) Leaders Don’t Rely on Others, Followers do

As a follower you’re always relying on someone else with whatever you may be striving to do. You’re relying on them for information, for growth, and to try things new to see what works so that you don’t have to.

You learn so much from leaders that it’s important you follow them, but if you actually get to the point where you’re relying on them to get your work done, that’s when you’re going to struggle.

Think of a successful figure that you admire and look up to.

I guarantee that back when they were in your position, they were learning from others but at the same time doing their own research, and improving themselves on their own, without having that one leader to rely on for their journey to success.


3) Leaders Come up With Original Ideas, Followers Then use Them

This point is so truthful, and it’s similar to the two I’ve just mentioned. The leader will always be the one coming up with the new ideas, and it’s not because they’re smarter than you, or they have more experience, more money and better status than you.

Sure, it gives them an advantage, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t come up with great ideas, too.

My bet is that they were coming up with these genius ideas well before they became a leader, instead of holding back like most people.

Nobody becomes the best by using someone else’s ideas. The person who becomes the best is the one coming up with those ideas in the first place and putting them to action.

You may have some success from someone else’s idea, but you’ll have greater success from your own.


4) Followers Want to be Where the Leaders are, but not Become Them

How many of you can actually say that you want to lead? Forget about everything that leaders have; all the fame and fortune. Do you want to be a leader, or do you just want to be where they are in life, and have what they have?

It’s probably an important question that we should ask ourselves. Most leaders want to lead, they love to inspire everyone around them and become the master at what they do.

It’s safe to say that they probably wanted to lead people, a long time before they actually took on that role for the first time.

Ask yourself, do you want to lead people, or have the status of a leader?


5) Followers Follow Because they are Afraid to Lead

Many of us may stay in the position of being a follower, simply because we are afraid to become the leader that everybody looks up to and relies on.

It’s a similar situation as to when you’re put into a team at work, or in school, and one person is needed to volunteer to be the leader of your team.

Are you afraid to stand up and say “I will lead the team”? You have the opportunity to. You’re in a team and anyone can volunteer to be the leader. What you do next will determine whether you’re afraid to be one or not.

Chances are if you’re too afraid to, you’ll sit back and wait for someone else to volunteer, or if you’re not you’ll stand up and proudly lead your team.


6) Followers Haven’t Put in the Effort that Leaders Have

If you’re classed as a leader, it’s because you’re respected by others. It shows that people have recognized your ideas, your thoughts and your efforts, and how successful they have been.

It takes a lot of effort and a lot of hard work to become a leader. They are always a minority, so in order to become one you need to be working a lot harder than you”re competition.

Some of those who follow may not be considered a leader as yet as they have not been putting in the effort that it takes to become one. On the other hand, you may be putting in the effort, but have not put the amount of time in yet.

There’s no right or wrong figure when it comes to how many hours you’ve put in, that’s up to you to decide.


“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.” – Vince Lombardi

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