Why People Follow Leaders: 3 Things Disciples are Curious About


In the roles we play, we are either a leader or a follower.  Find out why we follow leaders — why we are curious about them. Taking on a follower’s perspective may help in our own leadership in the workplace or in our homes. I have observed that there are three things people are curious about when following a guru, mentor, or leader. Whether consciously or subconsciously, we might have asked ourselves the following:

1. “Why is he/she successful?” (Model)

People listen to someone who models their dream or ideal. They want to find out what motivates that leader. They are curious about the reasons behind his/her passion.

Reflect: As a leader, do we model the aspirations of our workplace?

2. “How does he/she do it?” (Method)

People want to know exactly how that person became successful. Whether it’s about financial success, spiritual disicipline, or solid character, followers want to learn the “how-to” of things. One may even ask, “What’s his/her secret?”

Reflect: As a leader, are we generous in sharing our experiences and methods?

3. “How can I become like him/her?” (Mirror)

They want to have a taste of what the leader has: knowledge, wisdom, wealth, or health. Being present with that certain leader — whether in a forum, concert, coffee session, or in a classroom — creates great impact. A close encounter can generate enough inspiration to last a lifetime.  The more time spent with a leader, the more one can mirror his/her actions.

Reflect: How much time do we spend with those we lead?

If you model your vision and mission, you are a leader with integrity and people will follow you naturally. If you show them the method, you are a leader that brings benefit to his/her followers. If you can make people see themselves in what you do, you are a leader that multiplies leaders.

Jesus spent 3 years with his Apostles, showing them the Father’s ways and teaching them what to do attain salvation. The faithful ones followed Christ to the end, saying: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6: 68).

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