When you come to think about leadership, it basically is meaningless without the group being led. Let’s consider a couple of examples. What is a captain without his team? What is a president without the actual group or club he leads? What is the first/winner in a race if there were no second, third and more important a group of people behind him; in the end no one wants to win a competition with just three participants competing.
The notion here is not to glorify the role of the leader over the rest, but to shed the light on the importance of followers or better address them as companions. As we see in groups and organizations, every leader needs a group of assistant leaders by his side, otherwise one or many individuals that help him reach out to the rest of the group, offer advice and help him get goals accomplished.
In established organizations, clubs and student groups, the idea of a FIRST FOLLOWER might seem hard to grasp and appreciate, since everything is set. The ideology of the group is to have a leader and treat him as one. This is totally different when an individual is gaining leadership in a complete anarchy with no structure or organization whatsoever. The “leader-to-be” in this case needs to risk stepping up and proving him/herself in order to be acknowledged by the rest. The “leader-to-be” is in a position where he/she might be doing something we call “out-of-the -box” and people might not be willing to acknowledge him/her at first, not to mention considering him as a “lunatic” for merely trying to do such a thing. Now, how would such a person gain support and credibility? If he/she could get one person/ follower to do the same, he would not be the “only lunatic” anymore and people might give the whole thing a thought now. This FIRST FOLLOWER is really essential for the whole process of leading. Without him/her, the leader would indeed look a lonely crazy person.
Convincing a First Follower to join the club is not the only step of course. The “leader-to-be” has to embrace the First Follower as an equal and share with him/her the spot and the task being performed. The “leader-to-be” and the first follower have to be really synchronous and coherent in order to prove effectiveness of the act or idea being proved. This way, it would be easier to convince a Second Follower to join and the rest becomes easier as people feel more comfortable joining the act and not having to be embarrassed and be under the spotlights when the performers are so few that their actions are so obvious.
This video shows a funny and yet very effective way to explain the concept of the First Follower.
Press on the title to be directed to the video.