To Be a Good Leader; Be a Good Follower


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Research: To Be a Good Leader, Start By Being a Good Follower

By Kim Peters. Alex Haslam

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Leadership is a process that emerges from a relationship between leaders and followers. People will be more effective leaders when their behaviors indicate that they are one of us, that they share our values, concerns and experiences, and are working for us. Seen this way, perhaps the usual advice for aspiring leaders — “stand out from your peers” — is wrong. …

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49 Responses

  1. Jack Yoest says:

    This article is required reading for my course on Completed Staff Work

    • Emily Lynn says:

      Kim Peters and Alex Haslam explore a fascinating phenomenon in the area of leadership in this article. They discuss an experiment they conducted among Marine recruits, where they found that those who describe themselves as “followers” are more likely to come into leadership positions than those who describe themselves as “natural leaders.” It may seem like these results do not make sense, but when you think about it, they begin to make sense. If someone thinks of themselves as a follower, they are more likely to pay attention to the inner workings of the organization. They also know what a follower would want. These are two important qualities of a leader, and someone who is constantly looking to be in charge may overlook this when leading.
      Another interesting point Peters and Haslam bring up in this article is that leaders need to focus on we, not I. Oftentimes leaders will work in their personal interest. However, they really should be thinking of what actions they can take to benefit the whole team, or even the greater organization. Successful leaders will recognize their role in the team, and not act like they are better or above the rest of the team. They need to know how to make decisions that will benefit everyone, not just themselves.
      Overall, this article provided invaluable advice that can be applied to work, school, extracurriculars, and one’s personal life.

    • Will Turgeon says:

      After reading this article on being a leader, there are many new methods that I learned on what it takes to truly be an effective leader. The most important takeaway from this article is the idea of the key to success in leadership is saying “we,” instead of “I.” This is basically the idea that leadership comes from the mutual relationship between leaders and followers because they are bound together in the same social group with the same goals. With that being said, although there is a mutual understanding between leaders and followers, this article does an exceptional job of illustrating the importance of separating yourself from the rest of your co-workers. We must seek opportunities to lead and adopt behaviors that people will associate with being a leader. There is no leadership without followership, so a leader must make sure they work as one when working towards a common goal. Ultimately you have to be SEEN as a leader by the followers, which starts with showing a similar social group.

    • Marie Fitzpatrick says:

      When reading “To Be a Good Leader; Be a Good Follower” and chapter 3 of Supervision I noticed the importance of teamwork. As described in the article, you should want to lead, yet just because you want to does not mean that you can. True leadership is best when one first knows how to follow. By following not only are you taught anticipation, but you also learn how to work well with others, listen to their thoughts and ideas, and become part of the “we” instead of distancing yourself to become the “I”. This key idea of creating the “we” is vital in becoming a true leader. Creating the “we” is vital as we are all social creates who want to form genuine relationships. When being one with your team and having a common goal you will be the catalyst in not only becoming a good leader but creating efficient and effective followership. As the Marines data emphasized when you distance yourself from others in hopes that you will stand out as a leader you can not become a true leader as you did not create good followership. This article greatly emphasized that without the ability to create followership, genuine leadership can not exist.

    • Stephanie Ibe says:

      After reading the article, to be a good leader, one must be able to be a good follower. I think some people who are in leadership positions have this mentality that it is all about them. But in order to be a good leader, one must think of the good of everyone involved in the company; not just themselves. Yes, it is good to stand out amongst your peers, but it is just as important to show that you can work well with others in your group and show that you are a team player/ good follower as well. I found it interesting how they conducted this experiment with 218 Marines recruits. The idea behind it was to see if the tendencies for the Marines to be seen as leaders is correlated to how the Marines see themselves as leaders or followers. It is interesting to see that those who are more “followers” are more likely to be leaders than those who see themselves as “natural born leaders.” The followers are more likely to know what is best for everyone involved since they are more “in it” than someone who is juts focused on being the leader; they might miss things.

    • Franc Navarro says:

      In this paper, Kim Peters and Alex Haslam examine a fascinating phenomenon in the field of leadership. They talk about a study they did with Marine recruits where they discovered that people who identify as “followers” are more likely to hold leadership roles than people who identify as “natural leaders.” These results might not seem to make sense at first, but when you give them some thought, they start to make sense. Someone is more likely to pay attention to the inner workings of the organization if they view themselves as a follower. They also understand the desires of a follower. These are two crucial characteristics of a leader, and someone who is always trying to take charge can ignore them.

  2. Alba Segura-Cruz says:

    After reading Research: To be a Good Leader, Start By Being a Good Follower, what I found the most interesting is the fact that The New Psychology of Leadership, includes the key to success in leadership is in “we” and not the “I.” It is important to note that in order for a leader to be successful, it is to take into consideration the people who they are leading. They need to know the group of people operate, and do not put themselves on a higher scale. This reminded me of David Packard and Bill Hewlett, the founders of HP, because they led a group of people through the HP Way, and did not put themselves above others. They would walk around the workers, and would work along with them, allowing for their workers to view them as a companion and not a boss. The HP Way also allows for everyone in the organization to share the same values, allowing for everyone to be on the same page. The article then goes onto discuss that there was research conducted, and recruits that considered themselves to be natural leaders, their peers did not believe they were. This is probably because the recruits put themselves ahead of others, meaning that they put the “I” before the “we,” which does not allow for them to become successful leaders.

  3. James Verby says:

    James Verby
    HBR Follow Public Comment
    I found that this article really does stress the development of leaders. Leaders do not just emerge, they are trained and developed. Although history does provide a small number of military figures who do not follow the norms of development. My example of this would-be Admiral Horatio Nelson, who never followed the official chain of command, even as a very junior officer, and took actions he felt was necessary of the actions of his superiors. This led to many people loving him, and many people hating him. There are some people with natural ability to lead and do not need development, but this is rare. The article stresses the point of being a follower before a leader and uses the example of the Royal Marines in training as this, the marines who considered themselves as leaders were seen as having leadership potential, compared to those who saw themselves as followers usually emerged in leadership positions later. This reminds me of the idea “walk before you run.” In my opinion it is better to start as a follower so a future leader can understand the men or women put under their leaderships. The last paragraph of the article suggests that natural leaders tend to separate themselves from the group itself, as the leader does tend to be a further back from the group. This creates an image of aloofness and ego, thus making the group fall out of love with the leader. The most effective leaders are born from the companionship and experience of followership.

  4. Chris Talamini-Kelemen says:

    In this Harvard Business Review article, the authors detail a fascinating phenomenon that attributes a new definition to “natural leadership.” There’s a traditional definition of leadership that often involves qualities like strong personalities, ability to take charge, quick decision-making skills, and other dominant skills. However, this article and the research done proves that this is anything but the truth.

    The study on the 218 marine recruits was a perfect example of this concept of followership. Leaders are not defined as people in authoritative positions, but rather leaders are people who have people that follow them. With this in mind, it is important to select leaders that other people want to follow. In the case of the recruits, the commanders should be selecting the people whose peers view them as leaders. Unfortunately, this case details how the commanders are failing to do so, and are instead selecting recruits for leadership positions, and it’s likely that these recruits won’t be as successful.

    The strongest conclusion from this article is that when promoting and selecting people for leadership positions, supervisors should be more conscious of what their peers think of them. 360 Degree feedback is helpful in identifying individuals for these types of roles, as their peers will be able to express who they view as a leader.

  5. Katie Hurd says:

    The article by Kim Peters and Alex Haslam highlights the importance followership has in the development of a great leader. The success of a leader stems from their ability to engage followers and generate a memorable and positive relationship with each of their followers. Some of the greatest leaders possess the talent of relating themselves to their followers. When you form connections and make your followers feel shared in a common goal, community, and objective, they are more willing to follow you and place their trust in you as their leader.
    The biggest turn off in a leader is one that looks down on their followers and places themselves on a pedestal. When they make themselves appear better than others and deserving of more praise and respect, these leaders create an environment of jealousy, competitiveness, and envy. This is detrimental to the leader and leaves followers with a poor vision of what a leader should be.
    I believe the Marine example they discussed in the article is an excellent example of how leaders must not distance themselves from the followers, but rather become as close to the followers as possible to generate a stronger relationship. In my personal experience, leaders who have remained in touch with their followers are more successful in advocating for their followers and identifying the greatest solutions that solemnly pertain to the individuals they are leading.

  6. Fernando Guerrero says:

    Kim Peters and Alex Haslam defined leadership as a process that emerges from a relationship between leaders and followers. Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader, they set out to make a difference. As stated in the article, the key to become a successful leader is to focus in the collective “we”, not the individual “I”. By having the interest of the group rather than own personal interest, leaders achieve followership, because without it leading a group of people wouldn’t be as effective. To achieve effectiveness among your team, aspiring leaders should concentrate more in showing empathy towards your teammates, sharing the same values, and acting for the interest of the team because leaders lead by example. John C Maxwell an American best-selling author that studies how leaders can be more effective in the workplace, said “Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others”. This is what the whole article talks about, leaders would be better served by empowering others, and the way of doing that is to ensure they are seen as good followers rather than adopt behaviors such as dominance & confidence, that they will automatically associate with leadership.

  7. Isabel Rodriguez says:

    I found this article particularly intriguing, it resonated with me very much. Individuals who consistently place themselves above their fellow team members are obviously solely out for personal success. This characteristic can be seen as a major turn-off for followers, due to the lack of enthusiasm towards the whole team’s success. Followers can do their best work when they are guided by a leader who is “one of them” and makes it evident that they wish for everyone to succeed and for everyone’s thoughts and concerns to be heard. A portion of the article that specifically resonated with me was a piece of advice that goes against what society has been saying all along, instead of consistently trying to “stand out” against your peers to achieve leadership, it is suggested to be seen as a good follower and someone who is willing to work well within the group and on its behalf. I think the portion regarding on the group’s behalf sticks out because a group of followers wishes to be heard and taken seriously. Therefore, with a leader that will hear them and vouch for their concerns and ideas, a leader and follower will have utmost success in their future.

  8. Tyler Raftery says:

    In this article, I think that we are able to see the difference between a set leader and one that becomes a leader due to peer standings. A set leader is something that is appointed to lead a group of people by someone higher up than them. With a leader like this, we can see that they have more respect for those higher up than them, this is why they were put in this role. Because of this, there are in fact sometimes where when we can see that the person picked to lead the group is not always respected by their peers in the same regard.

    We can see a difference when we look at a leader that has been appointed by both the people that are higher up than them as well as their peers. Being appointed by your peers gives you an advantage because you are already respected by them in a way. This means they are going to be a lot more responsive to you as their leader and will want to put in better work for you. This will also mean that you are in fact not at as much of a risk of having a power struggle when it comes to getting work done within your group.

  9. Austin Moxham says:

    In my honest opinion, I found this article to be very inspiring and thought-provoking. I agree with the authors’ argument that for someone to be a good leader they must first learn how to be a good follower. Based on the studies conducted to support this argument, I believe the essential element at its core is the concept of trust. By initially developing a strong relationship with his teammates/coworkers and collaborating with them to benefit the group, a person communicates to that group that they can depend on them to have their back and do what is right for them, and in return, the group recognizes that person as a leader. This expression of faith and comradery establishes the interdependent nature of leadership and followership because for one to effectively exercise true leadership, they must understand whom they are leading.

    A historical figure who clearly conveys this notion and also embodies the spirit of leadership is Ronald Reagan, who said, “the greatest leader is not the one who does the greatest things, He is the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.” Considering this quote and the insights stated in this article, it is justifiably true that the best leaders acknowledge the strengths of their followers and in doing so, inspire them to utilize them to get the work done. This is the essence of Completed Staff Work because the manager depends on their competent subordinates to provide them with a recommendation to make the best decision. At the same time, the subordinates feel regarded as leaders themselves because they are trusted to help make those important decisions. In brief, as supported by this article and The Memo, the manager learns leadership by following the team, and subordinates learn followership in leading the manager. In other words, not all leaders can be found at the top rung of organizations, often the ones that know how to truly execute leadership do not always bear a title of authority.

  10. Aris Magoulas says:

    The article breaks down leadership by providing the many mis-representations of it. In other words the classical definition of how to become a leader is not only wrong but misleading. The traditional definition invokes traits of those aspiring to leaders such as be the loudest one in the room. This is not only wrong but in the study represented in the article those who claim to be leaders and outwardly try to prove themselves as leaders in most cases are not effectively performing a leadership role and are not seen by their peers as a leader. The aspect of follower-ship is once again key to success of a leader and the road an individual must travel down to truly embody a leader. I fully agree with the view point of the article and, in my own experience with sports along with the workplace, have observed the “quiet leader”. The leader who never wanted to be a leader but through his actions and communication advanced the team and company. I was once in that very position. I never intended to be a leader and frankly was scared of that kind of responsibility, but as time went on my co-workers and teammates chose me. Communication and follower-ship go hand in hand because they cannot exist without one another. A leader is part of the team or group not above it and if anything they rely more on the group than their own abilities in almost every task they are assigned or goal they assign to them self.

  11. Maysen Elliott says:

    The article, Research: To Be a Good Leader, goes parallel to many of the personal values I hold dear to myself when it comes to leading those around me. The most important part of leading is knowing how to follow. If one does not know how to follow, or what it is like to be a follower, it can easily deter any drive for the followers to want and listen to their leader. It becomes an “All talk no walk” situation. No one truly wants to sit and take orders all day, it deprives individuals of their independence and personal drive to do something on the behalf of the group. However, once the leader is seen to know how to follow and to work as a team with their followers, it becomes more of a role-model-like peer situation to inspire the followers to achieve their leader’s expectation. This is a very heavily focused style of teamwork that the military relies on to breed great officers and subordinates. I think the article did a great job with bringing in the Marine’s research and the success of finding the best possible leaders. Overall, the entire military follows a remarkably similar structure. Leadership is needed for productivity, and when it is done properly and the poor leaders are weeded out, it only leaves success for the teams doing the hard work.

  12. Christopher Le says:

    It has been impounded into our heads through the course of this class that being a good follower is contingent upon being aware of what is best for one’s organization and “managing one’s manager.” In other words, the best follower is one who is able to make leaps and bounds with their own managerial abilities. Peters and Haslam turn this concept around by speaking on what makes for a good leader, and as one might expect, it is the ability to be a good follower. In both cases, nothing is stressed more than the strong mutualistic relationship between a leader and his or her followers. Without any semblance of communication or trust between members in different leading/following positions in an organization, there can be no hope for success.
    In the HBR article, one idea stood out to me: that leaders need to be seen as “one of us,” not “one of them.” This concept brings forward the importance of the mutualistic relationship between leader and follower, as Peters and Haslam eventually bring up evidence for why this is the case. In the case of the Royal Marine recruits, it is mentioned how the recruits who see themselves as natural leaders are actually viewed less favorably by their peers than the recruits who had identified themselves as followers. This phenomenon is heavily reliant on the fact that familiarity and camaraderie in an organization breeds the best leadership; when individuals identify themselves as the natural leader, they actually alienate themselves from the group.

  13. Joe says:

    The first thing that stands out to me, after reading this leadership article written by Kim Peters and Alex Haslam, is that they hold very similar beliefs to Jack Yoest, our management professor. In line with Yoest’s book – The Memo – Peters and Haslem state that leaders can only be effective if they have the ability to follow. They stress that leadership must be about engaging your entire team and listening to what your subordinates have to say. This is something that The Memo also addresses: you have to be able to follow and lead to be a successful leader. All this said, what was different to me is that leadership is most effective when the leader is viewing any situation as “we” and not “I.” This means a good leader is only engaging when they are thinking about others and not focused on themselves. This concept is not so much new; rather, the phrasing this article used was. I would say the ideas addressed by the authors are enhanced by the phrasing and examples. Based off what I know about leadership and business, I agree with Haslam and Peters on their assessment of what it means to be an effective leader. But I would add a little more explanation on how a leader can follow well, while still being decisive.

  14. Omar Alakeel says:

    One thing I am learning from taking a management course and reading this article is that a very important skill to have in business is to BE what you want to become, this may not apply all the time or most of it even but by becoming the employee you hope to become you’ll be a prime candidate for it. By finding the opportunity to demonstrate my leading skills, I’m becoming a prime candidate for a leadership position when peers and managers ask for one, it’s interesting how the article not only identifies that but also the different types of leadership and how a “one of us” leader could not only have the approval of their peers but also have a bigger chance of becoming a better leader, I also thought that the experiment of the Marines would prove that recruits who identify themselves as leaders would get the majority of the votes as Marines would be better capable of identifying leadership skills, but by acting the role and providing leadership without distancing themselves of the group might prove to be best, both for leaders and followers, as leaders would not only have the proval of their peers but also the knowledge of how the group functions and the followers would be more accepting of their leader and become better followers.

  15. Isabella Lay says:

    I was intrigued by the idea the article purposed, that to be a good leader, meant being a good follower. Right away, it almost sounds like an oxymoron, but going more in-depth into the article, I found the line to be genius. The article touches on how it’s not those who believe themselves to be “natural born leaders” who come out the best. It’s those who never considered themselves to be a leader in the first place who turns out to be the best. This is because those that want to lead are only focused on just that. They forget the importance of a follower. They forget that to be a leader, you need to have strong followers. Having never been open to being in that position before, they fail to resonate with followers and understand just how valuable their role is. In addition, they fail to understand that the role of being a leader is not only about themselves. A good leader acts for the benefit of the group and not solely themselves. Those who reach straight for leadership are often the same people who would put themselves before someone else and that’s not what a good leader does. Like a good follower, a good leader is not focused on just themselves but focused on the success of everyone else. Therefore, one could never be a good leader without first being a good follower.

  16. Matt Long says:

    Kim Peters and Alex Haslam share the need for leadership and followership in an effective corporation, business enterprise or military establishment. In their “Research: To Be a Good Leader, Start By Being a Good Follower” they discuss the relationship that transpire between leaders and followers. Leaders need to have the ability to engage people and actually have the characteristics of an exceptional follower. To be an effective leader, one must be a team player. They must share their concerns, proficiencies, and ideals. They understand that one is only as good as their team. Selflessness is an appreciated characteristic that is highly valued in a team player.

    The Marines information shared that people need to share themselves with their group for success. Leaders who separate themselves from the group can be seen as excluding themselves from the unity of a team or sharing a common mission. The best followers follow not only the individual leader but their vision. Followers become passionate advocates for their leaders’ purpose when they feel their aspirations are shared. Leaders wish to nurture the interests of the team, not solely their own intentions. To be a competent leader, one must have effective followership qualities.
    Practicing these followership characteristics will result in becoming a future dynamic and proficient leader.

  17. Amanda Johnson says:

    I thought a really important point was made throughout this article by Kim Peters and Alex Haslam. To be a good leader, you have to be great at being a follower first. While this isn’t explicitly stated, it seems apparent from the comments made throughout. The authors discussed an experiment they conducted which found that those who saw themselves as followers found themselves as leaders by the end of the 32-week period. This can likely be attributed to the importance of being considered “one of us” versus “one of them” like mentioned in the article. Part of being a leader is being able to connect with the group you are leading and forming relationships with them. Without these relationships, it becomes very difficult to persuade people to act or buy into your messages as a leader. It helps to build trust. After all, leadership by definition is one’s ability to persuade others to act or not act in a certain way. Without understanding how to be a follower first, none of this is possible. It teaches us how to unify a group and have everyone identify with one another. Leadership follows that. Ultimately, Peters and Haslam hit on this point throughout the article in by strongly expressing the importance of followership.

  18. It is interesting to think how in the article by Kim Peters and Alex Haslam they mention “how to be a good leader you have to start by being a good follower”. Most of the time we are taught that to be a great leader means to take advantage of every opportunity that showcases leadership skills because to be a leader we are not supposed to be followers. However, the discoveries of this article proved the generic definition of leadership wrong as they define the success in leadership as “we” and the individual “I”. This means that we should see leadership as a team effort. As something that is achieved collectively, not just by one individual. Followers of the leader are bound to work together to achieve the common goal. In the article, they mention how instead of focusing on standing out we should be more focused on being seen as a peer, in other words, a good follower. Anyone in a work setting should have someone they can feel comfortable with and be able to create trust among a group of individuals. When you try to separate yourself from a group instead of working together, you are bound by failure. The key to success for leadership is working together towards the common goal. Overall, the article gives great characteristics on how to be a successful leader by being a follower.

  19. Abby Jackson says:

    I found this article very interesting, especially because of how it put into words a concept that I think many of us have been learning for our whole lives. To be a real leader, you must be seen as a good follower first. It is important to be somebody who can follow instructions, solve problems, and exist horizontally to those individuals they want to lead. Then, as a leader, they have already established credibility and respect. By making sure that a leader of a group is somebody that already functions well as a member of the team, they are better able to have good relationships with those they work for. It is not necessarily important that the leader of a group is the most skilled or among the most skilled/adept/experienced. What makes a good leader is that they have the ability to understand what needs to be done, problem-solve, and that they have the skills needed to encourage and uplift those that they lead. Therefore, it seems obvious that a strong leader could very likely come from a background of being a strong follower.

  20. Dominic Decker says:

    In the Harvard Business Review article, there is a great explanation of leadership and followership. What the article clearly shows is the importance of leadership through followership. Kim Peters and Alex Haslam point out the significance of being a good follower so that one can be a good leader. Through the article, we learn that not everyone who considers themselves a leader is always a good leader. This can be seen in the study of the Marines. These leaders fail to understand and participate in being a follower. A leader’s success does not stem from themselves but from the people they are leading. Better yet, success stems from their ability to be a follower. A leader’s job is to engage their followers. These interactions create relationships between leaders and followers. Each relationship is contributing to the overall effectiveness of a leader. It allows people to feel appreciated, motivated, and together. Relationships create a team atmosphere that stimulates successful workers. Anyone can be in a leadership role. Very few can be in a leadership role and be a follower. The key to a good leader is being a part of the whole. A good leader does not single themselves out based on their role. A good leader leads from the bottom, not the top.


    From the HBR article, there are several things we learn about leadership. One of them is how it has often been understood by how leaders should act and carry themselves around their followers. We find out that leaders who consider themselves more exceptional than their followers and do not work in coordination with them are more likely to fail as leaders compared to those who consider themselves followers. Leaders who also show that they are working for their followers and helping them are more likely to find followers who are willing to work for them. We also learn from the article that better leaders are made from followers compared to those who want to show their leadership qualities to their peers consistently.
    From the study also, an interesting thing was discovered. People who choose leaders are more likely to choose leadership qualities among their peers, but this is also usually dependent on the people who evaluate them. Their evaluators saw them as having more leadership potential compared to the recruits who largely considered themselves followers. This is interesting considering that good leaders are usually made out of followers. Those who impose themselves as leaders among their peers have a higher likelihood of failing in the future because it is easier for their followers to fall out of love with them because of the elevated status they feel they possess.

  22. Mohammad Alajmi says:

    Leadership is truly a characteristic of a special group bound together by shared geography, values, or goals. Leaders strive to increase their number of followers and show willingness to compromise self interests for the sake of promotion of a cause they believe in, which is considered to be more important than any individual person. Good leaders associate themselves with a specific group of people and work on behalf of that group. Good leaders are never dishonest tyrants.
    It is significant to state the leadership potential and success in terms of the way in which individuals perceive and judge their own inherent capabilities. I totally agree with the study conducted in the article which explains that good and successful leaders have to become followers. It is through following an authority that leaders with exceptionally good leadership qualities emerge. For example, leaders learn characteristics when they follow the commands given to them with courage and grit.
    The individuals who recognize and believe in their inherent natural competency to lead have, rightfully, more potential of leadership. Such recognition is necessary to build determination and perseverance required for success. It is highly likely that individuals who are unaware of their inherent capabilities to populate and prosper on earth as humans will tend to humiliate and humble themselves in the face of opposition, oppression, or evil forces. Therefore, good leaders are those who believe in their inherent capability to rule and lead humanity towards a better sustainable future.

  23. Catalina DeMassi says:

    This article helps to explain that leadership and who is a good leader can oftentimes be subjective to the view and interactions one has with an individual. Someone who is trying to evaluate who can lead a team needs to be on the ground in the action with that team. It is easy to look from above and say the person commanding everyone to do different things is the natural leader of the group, but what about the people who are actually doing the work. Tasks do not get done without people to do them. Sometimes the people who focus on getting their tasks and the team’s tasks done are the best leaders because they are not doing it for glory, praise, or rewards. They are doing their job because they know it has to get done and that that is their contribution to the team’s success. Good leaders work with their followers to get the job done. They do not simply bark orders and expect that everything will be handled. In my own personal experience, when I have been given the opportunity to lead a group, I have always said that I would never ask someone to do a task that I wouldn’t be willing to do myself. It is one thing to delegate tasks because one is too busy and must get work done in a timely manner, and it is completely different to give away tasks because one does not feel like doing them. The best leaders work in community with their followers, not always above them.

  24. Luke Fahy says:

    Leadership can mean many different things to many different people. To me, being a good leader requires a few specific traits. These three traits consist of being a good follower, empathy , and a strong will to do your best. As we all know, being a good leader stems from being a good follower. Once you know how to follow, you will learn how to lead. Empathy is a huge characteristic that is extremely undervalued. It is key to be empathetic to the cause of your subordinates and to try and understand what they go through on a daily basis. Last but not least you must have effort. Effort is not optional, it is a must have as a leader. As long as you are putting in maximum effort and striving to do your best, you will eventually find success. It is also important to note that experience also helps develop leaders. Experience is a huge asset to have you are a leader. The article also went into many other topics on how to be a good leader. It points out how perspective plays a big role in leading. It also stresses the importance of self identification and finding a purpose.

  25. Archer Rymiszewski says:

    In this article, you really learn several ideas on how to gain the skill of leadership as well as the relationship a leader has with his or her followers. It is important to point out that their must an understanding that both the followers and the leaders share. You will become a more effective leader if you are able to show the followers that you are of the same group and share the same values, concerns, and experiences. This advances the interests of the whole group rather than your own personal interests. Without there being a strong relationship or specific goal trying to be achieved, it can be difficult for a so-called leader to lead a group. It is also important to see the idea that many great leaders begin their journey as followers. This may be because great followers are able to be one with a group and grow into leaders. Ultimately there can be no leader without people following.

  26. Matt DiSanto says:

    After reading the article, Research: To Be a Good Leader, Start By Being a Good Follower, it stresses the values of leadership and how leaders come to order in a group. Leaders are those who are selfless and effective, and who are able to engage followers. A successful leader seeks out opportunities to lead and adopt behaviors that people associate with leaders rather than followers. Most importantly without followership, leadership is nothing. The best leader is the best follower. A leader emerges by maintaining their strong relationship with their followers and still considers others ideas and voices. They look to advance the interests of the group not just through their own actions, but through discovering what is best for the group and is willing to work within the group. Success goes hand in hand with the proper leadership. This can be seen in the business world, the military, in sports, the government, and practically every aspect of our society. Leaders don’t just make decisions, they know how to play their best hand at the right time. One way of achieving this success is working well with their team and understanding their best strengths and worst weaknesses. People cannot just force themselves into leadership or no one will follow them. Leaders are those who sympathize and work best within a team.

  27. Luca Mamula says:

    It is impossible to have leadership without followership. This is something that stuck out to me while reading this article. For one to have followers they must have a group mentality in doing things for the sake of “us” and not for only for themselves. Leaders must be able to relate to their followers and create a sense of community for everyone within it. In order to be an effective leader, one should be liked and respected amongst all the followers within the collective group. A good leader will have the same goals and intentions as the greater community. They will also take others’ opinions into consideration when implementing certain ideas or making big decisions. Another thing that I found interesting is that those who view themselves as good leaders might find it difficult to convince others that they are, but can also look like they have leadership potential from an outside perspective. In the study done with Royal Marines, evaluators within the group were able to get a better sense of leadership from those who viewed themselves as followers. This explains that what appears to be good leadership from the outside might not be good leadership at all.

  28. Bailey Reilly says:

    This article delves into a seemingly paradoxical statement that good leaders turn out to be those who are great followers. At first glance, this statement was strange. The usual advice, as highlighted in the article, is to find experiences to lead in order to further develop your leadership skills. Instead, this article suggests that those who tend to go this route end up alienating themselves from the group either by thinking too highly of themselves or by not concerning themselves with the group’s problems. This is a fatal flaw. The leader is nothing without the group because, without the group, who would a leader lead? The group is an integral part of any organization and, by listening to problems, taking note of suggestions, and familiarizing themselves with the people of a group, a leader will be far more successful and effective to get tasks accomplished. This theory is backed up in the article when a study of Marines who were going through intense training portrayed stronger leadership qualities when they thought themselves as part of the group as a whole and not as “natural born leaders.” In conclusion, it is all based on the concept that a team effort is not based on individuals doing what they need to do and coming together at the end. Instead, team effort is a continuous process of working together to achieve the best results.

  29. Liam Dearing says:

    In the article “Research: To Be a Good Leader, Start By Being a Good Follower,” the importance of followership in the formation of a great leader is highlighted. In this article, leadership is described as a process that arises from a relationship between leaders and followers. Focusing on the collective “we” rather than the individual “I” is the key to becoming a successful leader. Consequently, when followers are led by a leader who is “one of them” and makes it clear that they want everyone to succeed and that their thoughts and concerns are heard, they can do their best work. As a result, a leader and followers will have the greatest future success if they have a leader who will listen to them and validate their worries and suggestions. This is the core of Completed Staff Work because the management relies on their knowledgeable subordinates to make the best choice possible.

  30. Jack Kouba says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this article as it highlights one of the most undervalued characteristics of a good leader: Followership. One of the lines that stood out to me almost immediately reads: “leaders are only as effective as their ability to engage their followers.” This point is so true and I related to it almost immediately. I am a basketball player and have been playing the sport my whole life. I have been a part of teams in which a player has tried to be a leader but is unable to rally everybody else because they haven’t earned anybodies respect. In order for an aspiring leader to truly emerge into this role, he must gain the trust and respect of his colleagues; or in this case, teammates. In my final analysis of this article I would like to state how important it is to understand the value of following. Recognizing the situation that you are in and having the maturity to understand when to follow your peers or when to take charge of the moment to inspire is critical in leadership. Following is under-appreciated and should be utilized by aspiring leaders more often. It is okay to be obedient in the large scheme of things. Just be sure to stay prepared and speak up when your the opportunity presents itself.

  31. Pat Buckley says:

    After reading the article, my biggest takeaway is that in order to be a great leader, you must first connect with your followers and show that you are working “for” them. Leaders must demonstrate that they are in the same group as their followers in order to connect with them on a deeper level. In the study in the article, it showed that “natural leaders” struggled to get people to follow them and that “recruits” were the ones who ended up as leaders in the end. This somewhat embodies the idea of “servant leadership.” When one leads by serving and following others, it is easy for people to get behind their message and support them. It is much easier for leaders who were once “followers” to understand the problems that their followers face because they were once “one of them.” One big problem with leaders nowadays is that they often consider themselves above their employees. When a leader starts to think outside of themselves, it is easier for group goals to be accomplished, and in turn, the leaders are more successful. This is where true leadership is shown, through this idea of “followership” and working for those who are your followers.

  32. Margaret Higgins says:

    One of the things that stuck out to me most in the article is that leaders are only as effective as their ability to engage their followers. I think that it is an important piece of the article because if a leader does not display the qualities that a leader should no one is going to follow them. Being a good follower is also incredibly important. Leaders and followers are bound together by the same social group and that is something that is important to recognize even though there might be a disparity in power there is still a level playing field of social groups. The study of the people in the military was very interesting to me because the people who were self-recognized as leaders did not perform that way in the boot camp. The people who did not recognize themself as a leader ended up emerging as leaders and were able to get more people to follow them than the actual self-proclaimed leaders. I think that this is really important to remember within the workspace because even though someone might not act like a leader outside of their role and they are just a good friend they still might have some leadership tendencies. All of this is integral to being a good leader and a good follower in the workplace.

  33. Zack Cosentino says:

    Peters and Haslam’s points made on leadership were both interesting and enlightening. The main takeaway here is that leadership is based mainly off of fostering relationships with others. As I read I got the message that anybody can be a leader, some may be born, some develop later, but reaching out and developing productive relationships is one of the first and main steps towards a leadership position. I also enjoyed the points that once one arises to a leadership position it must be held by continuing and strengthening relationships with the followers. Finally, I thought the mental battle between being a leader or a follower was very interesting and relatable. Essentially if a person views themself as a follower, they are more than likely to end of in a followers position. On the other side, people who consider themselves leaders are even more likely to end up in some sort of leadership position. From this article I learned how many leaders develop, their qualities, and how they maintain their positions by being the best leaders possible.

  34. Michael Velasquez says:

    An effective leader is one that is able to foster a great relationship with their team. This relationship is important because it creates trust with one another. To be able to trust that the team will be able to do their work and to be able to trust that the leader will lead them in the right direction. Take for instance life or death situations within the marines, the one in charge needs to trust their team to complete their tasks and the team has to trust that the leader is trying to ensure that this task is completed with the assurance that the leader is thinking of the team’s safety as well. If there is distrust, then there is doubt, with doubt there is a lack of motivation to do the task or may even create tension with the task. A leader cannot do everything on their own, they need to trust their team, they are not a leader if there is no one to lead and there is no team without trust.

  35. Molly Haas says:

    I found this article to be extremely interesting and helpful. I think often times when people think of a leader, they think of someone who is separate from the group. They imagine that a leader is above everyone else and is the one who calls the shots and makes the demands. Using this mindset, many people believe that followers are then the individuals who execute the demands that the leader has stated. This mindset, as I just read in the article, couldn’t be further from the truth. A real leader is not an effective leader if he or she distances themselves from the actual work. A true leader must walk alongside their followers throughout the process and truly be a part of the team. Leadership is incredibly important in all fields of work. Knowing how to lead and follow effectively is what distinguishes a good staff member from a great one. It is important to understand that sometimes in order to become the best leader possible, we must first be a follower. Letting our own pride and desire to be in charge does nothing but deter others from seeing us as a leader, and limits us in our leadership capacities.

  36. Sam Ponticiello says:

    The article by Kim Peters and Alex Haslam clearly illustrates the importance of being a good follower before being a good leader. I think it is safe to simply ask, how can one expect to be a good leader if they do not know how to follow first? Not knowing what makes a good follower makes it much more difficult to be a good leader. People in positions to lead who do not have good relationships with their peers can be accused of never forming a proper relationship with them. The best way to form a relationship with one’s peers is by knowing where they come from or in other words being considerate and understanding (because the leader was once in their shoes). Kim and Alex state that “leadership is the process that emerges from a relationship between leaders and followers who are bound together by their understanding that they are members of the same social group”. I believe to be a good leader one must form considerate relationships with their peers which promote a culture that we are all among equal social groups.

  37. Hannah Robbins says:

    This article explained the importance of understanding how to be a leader by also being a follower. One word that caught my attention throughout the article was the word “we.” Some may think that a leader is a person who has it all together, a person who does not need guidance because they have the title “leader.” Yet, there is much more to being a leader than that. A leader requires followers, or people who support the leader. Behind a leader is a group of people who support, administer, and take responsibility for a leader. These are followers. A leader cannot lead without the support of others. For example, it would be near impossible for a single person to lead an entire company without the work and minds of others. It is important to understand whether one is a leader or follower, they are still a person, therefore, they are equal. Leaders should depend on their followers as followers depend on their leaders. When leaders and followers come together, they are able to express thoughts and ideas as one. One does not become a leader without becoming a follower first. We must understand that even though leaders may have a higher title than a follower, they started as a follower and grew from there.

  38. Kiet Ngo says:

    After reading this article, I learned that the key to being a leader is to be a follower. When you collaborate with others as the follower, you put a “we” instead of an “I.” This psychology creates a sense of responsibility and is bound to their work, which is not only I do my part, you do my part but also checking up on each other piece of work to submit to the manager. Moreover, the article highlights the ability to adapt and realize the opportunity to strive and lead as the group leader. With my prior experience, I truly believe a good leader should use to be a follower. Since then, the leader understands the amount of work he passes on to the follower. This will motivate the follower to strive in the best environment while the follower can still get a job done. To be aware of our employees’ workload, we need to understand the character of the job and its workability.
    In conclusion, 360-degree feedback is a constructive way of identifying employees’ characteristics. Therefore, the employer can promote or evaluate the performance of the employee. Moreover, the ability to put oneself to another to understand the situation and the workload will enable the organization to finish the project on time, and all the employees can have a work-life balance.

  39. Henry Mazariegos says:

    An effective leader, as pointed out in the article, can integrate themselves into the group and not separate themselves from the group out of ego or self-perceived superiority. This helps not only to show who is the leader but to gain the affection of the team and let them be led. Not only do they need to connect with their team they need to have the qualities necessary to be an effective leader. The ones who saw themselves as followers were able to learn the inner workings of the organization. The follower mindset allows humility to allow for greater growth as a leader. Going in as a follower lets you connect with others on the same level, which is essential for an effective leader. Those personal connections will prove much more effective in getting your ideas or plans to your team. One of the easiest for leaders to assess their followers is to think like a follower and there is nothing like having the experience of having been a follower in order to achieve that. There are benefits to both leadership and follower mindset, but the experiment goes to prove that followers are not to be counted out when being considered for leadership positions.

  40. Angela Rodriguez says:

    This article from HBR by Kim Peters and Alex Haslam asks whether it is good to be viewed as a “leader” or if it is better to be viewed as a follower. To be considered a leader means to stand out and assert dominance. This can be difficult when working with others because there can be separation within a group instead of bringing a group together. When put on a higher pedestal the views of others are changed by the separation which diminishes the leadership that was gained. Leaders are meant to bring a group of people together to achieve a specific goal. Being a follower means that you are part of something to achieve a goal. It takes away the separation that a leadership position gives and gains the trust of the people that need the guidance to achieve the task they are given. Being a leader within an organization is important but needs to be done in a different way than normal. It is necessary for others to view the leader as a person who will get the job done and help them as well. I agree with the points this article makes. If we put a person above us, we tend to treat them differently even when their goal is to help us. Having a leader act more like a follower avoids this problem, gains the trust of others, and still gives all the benefits a leader should achieve.

  41. Zach Burton says:

    This article was very eye-opening and definitely disproves much of what I have been taught about leadership as I have grown up. First, I have always been led to believe, whether it be my coaches, teachers, or just my peers, that being a leader is directly related to making oneself seen as a leader. In other words, this means going above and beyond the norm and showing one’s peers that they are more confident, dominant, and/or intelligent than the average person. However, as detailed in the article, this is simply not the case; being a leader has much more to do with demonstrating one’s understanding and unity with their peers rather than showing how much better they may be in certain aspects when compared to other people. A prime example of this was the longitudinal analysis of emergent leadership among 218 male Royal Marines: a study that showed how recruits who considered themselves to be natural leaders were not able to convince their peers that this was the case. On the other hand, the recruits who saw themselves as followers were the ones who ultimately emerged as leaders. This shows how important it is to understand, listen to, and empathize with those who one may be working with, because these abilities are what truly allows one to become a great leader.

  42. Sam Gregori says:

    This article talks about those who aspire to be a leader. It begins with the advice that states that if you want to be a successful leader you must ensure that you are not seen as a follower. Most will seek out opportunities to lead and to possess behaviors such as confidence and dominance. One important aspect of this article is the statement that leaders are only as effective as their ability to engage their followers. Without followership, there is no leadership. The success of a good leader is held in the “we” rather than the “I.” Leadership is derived from the relationship that forms between the leaders and the followers that come from a group that share a similar bond of interests. Followers want to be seen as good followers just as leaders want to be seen as good leaders. The article goes into saying that maybe in order for one to be a good leader, one should instead first learn how to be a good follower. This implies being someone who is willing to work in a group and on its behalf. The article also found that people who saw themselves as natural leaders were seen by their bosses as having more leadership potential than people who saw themselves as followers. This suggests that what good leadership looks like is highly dependent on where evaluators are standing.

  43. Owen Shields says:

    Early in the business teachings here at Catholic University, we are taught of a certain example. The example of a submarine operating, directly related to this story for me. When Dr. Cannizaro taught this submarine story freshman year, it stuck with me. The Captain of the submarine teaches the sailors to think in the way that the he, the Captain, would think. This allows for smooth operations of the submarine. Tying into our article, it is important to ensure that everyone feels on the same level in terms of respect. In the article it talks about followers falling out of love with the leader, a direct result of the leader trying to distance himself from the pack. “Standing out from your peers” is not the method a leader should take, as the unwillingness to follow will be eminent. A reason why military is very successful in developing leaders is because of the mantra of sharing values and looking to advance the group interests not just their individual pursuits. Being a good follower is almost more effective than being seen as a leader. This view provides the “one of us” mentality and I agree that the rapport can be built more than a leader with a follower.

  44. Brendan Chapin says:

    This article discusses the importance of leadership mentality and what it means to be a leader even as a follower. Leadership skills are significant no matter what position or profession you are in. One of the main things about this article that stuck out to me was the idea that you don’t have to demonstrate typical leadership habits in order to be an effective leader. This includes dominating and outdoing peers as well as just trying too hard to be viewed as a leader. A leader demonstrates their abilities through their actions, not words. This is relevant because nowadays people are too concerned with trying to impress higher-ups by talking themselves up instead of speaking through the effort of their actions and the sincerity of who they really are. I also agree with the article about how leadership is more of a team effort instead of an emphasis on the individual.