Good article from http://www.4bn.co.uk/community/articles/why-some-followers-can-not-become-leaders
Tom Peters said, “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” A follower can be considered to be the leader in making. Followers learn leadership under the guidance of a leader just like a pupil acquires knowledge with a teacher. You can also compare a leader with a captain of a team who has to play with his team to provide
victory and glory to his team. A leader is thus selected amongst the people who have learned to follow.
A good leader is, therefore, a good follower as he knows the feelings and aspirations of a follower. He can see through the heart and soul of the follower and knows their inspirations and motives. The followers may never tell such inspirations to their leaders and only through their intuition; leaders understand their feelings and emotions.
Yet, leadership is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people are good followers and team members but they fail miserably as leaders. Since all leader’s rise from the level of follower, how can you possibility know whether or not you would become a successful leader.
The key difference between the leader and the follower is in the width of the personality. Good leaders are not only intelligent in traditional skills but also emotionally intelligent. They know not only their heart and mind but also know the minds of other people. They are not only good at their work but also know something of everything.
Some people are so specialized that they develop a tunnel vision. They cannot see the complete truth as they are blind outside their area of specialization. When the leadership comes in their way, they are frightened like a frog that has seen only the water in its well and never seen a river whose horizon he cannot see.
A leader is one whose vision is exceptionally wide. Even when he is working like a specialist, as a team member, he has the vision of a generalist. He knows everything of his specialized area but he also knows something of all other areas. He is always excited in discovering more that lies beyond the horizon of his specialized territory. He is always excited to meet people who share their stories of a different world with him. He does not disbelieve such stories simply because he has not seen them by his own eyes. He learns to see the world through the eyes of other people.
The imagination of a leader has no limit and he can see everything from the eyes of his imagination. Thus even when he is merely a team member who must follow the command of the team leader, he thinks like the team leader. He always sees the point of view of other specialists who are part of the team and he does not consider his role as anyway superior to the roles of others. He tries to create the synthesis of all the team members’ points of view. He spends good amount of time in learning from others, even if it mean reducing his focus on his field of specialization. He understands that it is impossible to see the whole picture if you focus only on your specialization.
However, most people are in so much accustomed to their tunnel vision which gives them comfort and security. They are excellent team members and followers but they fail miserably when they are selected as leaders as they neither understand nor appreciate the holistic vision. They are like an engineer who has not learned the skill of assembling all the parts of a car to make a complete car. The expertise of assembling parts is different than manufacturing the parts itself. A leader focuses not on making the parts but on assembling the parts to make a useful machine.
Life is a mystery which can not be explained either by science or by scriptures. Truth has a body and a soul which we call science and religion. Contrary to popular perception, they are not opposed to each other but complement each other like body and soul. In fact, they can not exist without each other.