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learning to lead by learning to follow

We know that in order to qualify as a leader you must have at least one person following you.  Or, as John Maxwell says, if you think you are leading and no one is behind you — you’re just taking a walk.

That being said, every good, effective leader has also been a good, effective follower.  In fact, I’m not sure you can learn to lead without first learning how to follow.

Before Jesus deployed his apostles to shake up the world, he first invited them to follow him.  Then he spent three years with them, allowing them to shadow him around.  They learned to lead by learning to follow.

I’m often asked, “How can I become a better leader?”  Yes, you can read more (and you should).  Yes, you can attend great seminars and watch TED talks (and you should).  But one of the most effective ways to become a better leader is to become a better follower.

Give it a try.