It takes real guts to lead and land the first follower!
A leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous, even though what he or she is doing is simple and so instructional.
At first, it can look ridiculous to so many. It is so because their minds can’t wrap around the unusual.
When I muted the idea of leaving engineering that I studied and practiced for 15 years to embrace the art of writing which was calling me every minute of my day, a few friends said I’d lost my mind.
Some deleted me off BBM. Some threw comedic taunts. Some called me on the phone and expressed pity.
I wouldn’t say I braved it like a gladiator. Sometimes, I stole away and cried away my pains. I just wanted everyone to understand me and appreciate my journey. It wasn’t so.
I kept on…. applying the principles of leadership I’d learnt. I adopted a warm strategy. I made it easy to be followed.
By living up to the ideology you’re sharing and being sociable, you gain the first follower. That happened. I was ecstatic and I embraced the first follower.
Embracing the first follower is crucial because you show that the movement isn’t about you, but about them. That embrace shows you’re equal. When they experience the sensation of equality, it makes following so easy.
Subsequently, the first follower begins to beckon on his own friends and family to join the movement. He shares the message and becomes a rabid evangelist.
Yes, it is not easy to follow, but that first follower is the one that shows the world that you’re not nuts. He is the one that transforms you into a true leader by that simple act of followership.
From then on, the second follower joins and the family begins to thicken. This is where most leaders get it so wrong. They make it about themselves, no longer the followers. They abandon the essentials that got them the nod by people to lead them.
A movement isn’t truly a movement if it’s not publicised. It must be public. People must see that followers are actually following. As a leader, you provide a platform to showcase them and let the world know it’s about a movement and not a single person.
As more people join, the movement grows. Those who have been on the fence now see that it is not risky to join, so they join in. People on the fence, faltering between a nod and a denouncing now see themselves as nuts not to join in the movement, so they join because they feel they will be ridiculed for not joining.
When they’re joining in their numbers, all you need to do is to nurture and provide leadership the best way you could, never forgetting the essentials that led you to the point you are now.