7 Reasons Why Good Leaders Must Be Great Followers

A leader is the face of the business and the trailblazer who takes the company to new heights of success. He/she is the person-in-charge who leads...

  • 7 Reasons Why Good Leaders Must Be Great Followers
    Lethabo Moodley Image Lethabo Moodley

    7 Reasons Why Good Leaders Must Be Great Followers

    • Updated: Wednesday 27th of January 2021
    • Strategy

    A leader is the face of the business and the trailblazer who takes the company to new heights of success. He/she is the person-in-charge who leads by example, and the team members follow suit. The entrepreneur is the person who is looked up to by the subordinates and is always the final decision maker in the organisation. However, a business owner cannot become a leader without being a follower. It is the stepping stone towards the final destination. It allows the leader to learn the tricks of the trade and become ready for the challenges ahead.

    Thus, if you are planning to purchase a business for sale in South Africa, then you must be aware of this fact that all leaders need to be followers. It might come as a surprise to you, but it is vital to understand the intricacies of holding the highest position before taking up the responsibility. It allows you to develop the qualities that are needed to run an entire organisation and build it further. So here are the top seven reasons why good leaders must be great followers.

    1. Understanding the Role of a Leader

    A follower is clear about his position in the company and the position of the leader and how these two are entwined. A leader cannot thrive without a team of followers and vice versa. It is a universal truth that no one can singlehandedly become successful. It is a joint effort and the leader acts as the role model who brings the much-required passion, perseverance, and motivation into the game.

    If the team is not answerable to the boss, they will lose interest in the job and may perform half-heartedly. On the other hand, if the leader does not have any followers, there is no harm in being in the position. Being a follower also makes the leaders modest and respectful of the work done by others. It allows them to understand the significance of teamwork and sincerity. Thus, every entrepreneur must strive to work as a team member before jumping the bandwagon.

    2. Respecting Feedback

    Leaders are mindful of the feedback they receive from their subordinates if they have come up the ladder themselves. They recognise the importance of brainstorming sessions, which help in bringing forth the best ideas through collective thinking. Leaders who have been followers value the advice of their subordinates as they have been in their shoes. Feedback is highly crucial to improve the processes.

    It must be a two-way flow of feedback in the organisation, which includes top to bottom and from bottom to top. Thus, the entrepreneur must also send his remarks to employees to boost their morale. It must make them feel that their work is appreciated, and they are a recognised part of the system.

    3. Builds A Sense of Commitment

    Being a follower teaches an individual to become committed to their goals. It helps them realise the criticality of being loyal to the organisation, its people and to their goals. A leader must have a commitment towards every work policy introduced in the organisation, such as reducing dependency on outdated technology and utilising machine learning and AI or cutting down on redundant expenses. The entrepreneur should stay true to the objectives set in the beginning and continue to work on them.

    The following allows the individuals to understand the need for staying true to the roadmap laid down in the business plan and never going astray. It validates that the short-term goals must be aligned with the long-term goals and the mission, vision and values should follow suit. Thus, it develops the ability to be committed to all the significant causes.

    4. Value Collaboration

    Leaders have to value networking and collaboration to bring people together and become followers. The seeds of liaising are sown while working as a follower and intending to grow in the organisation. Most employees with a passion for reaching the top are good communicators. They build relationships with their clients, colleagues, and leaders to stay in the limelight and become the go-to person of everyone.

    They work on their interpersonal skills, diplomatic relations and becoming a vital part of the group. It blurs the gap of hierarchy and brings everyone on the same page. It means that the entrepreneur must work on enhancing his social engagements and empathy towards others. It also helps the leaders to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the teams working for him and he can allocate tasks that can be justified by them.

    5. Become Adaptable

    Adaptability is crucial for entrepreneurs as it keeps them on par with the changing market trends. Rigid ideas do not allow organisations to adopt the latest technology and stay ahead of their competitors. Adaptability brings flexibility into the working mechanism and gives freedom to the teams to change according to the needs of the time.

    It gives confidence to entrepreneurs to enter into new domains which have not been tested earlier and find ways of increasing profits. It helps them to take calculated risks and think outside of the box. The business owner must have an open mind about the constantly changing commercial landscape and mast come out of his comfort zone to take bold decisions.

    6. Develop Capabilities

    Entrepreneurs need to upskill to stay updated and upgrade their organisation. Every employee strives to improve his/her competence through learning and development, which never ceases to exist. Following inculcates the habit of working towards self-improvement without stagnating in order to stay ahead in the herd of employees.

    The same rule of learning should continue throughout life as it helps in building the ability to think creatively and develop a problem-solving nature. It aids in identifying opportunities that can be leveraged to catapult the organisation. It increases the business knowledge of the individual and entrepreneurial knowledge as they watch and learn from their seniors.

    7. Better Decision Making

    A follower is experienced and knowledgeable and realises the importance of research and accumulation of information. Smart decision making is essential to move forward and come out of a crisis or challenge unscathed. A leader who has been a follower has the acumen to stay clam during a tough situation like a market downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He must be able to find ways to improvise and cater to changing customer behaviour. He should not waste time in deciding and procrastinating and must be sure about the quality of his judgment. Being a follower teaches him to know what the current demands are and how they can be met adequately.


    The path to success requires the entrepreneur to learn from failures and make his way up through dedication and resolve. The lack of knowledge and intrinsic values can leave an amateur leader asking for help and assistance and without any followers. Thus, if you plan to purchase a business for sale in South Africa, then you must become a follower first and then a leader.

  • Author Info Lethabo Moodley

    A business expert, Lethabo Moodley is a management consultant who has been working across domains since 2005. His rich experience includes a Masters degree in business administration from the prestigious Gordon Institute of Business Science and Doctor of Business Leadership degree from Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership. He has been actively working as a consultant with the biggest firms in South Africa and his contribution in the growth of these organisations is considered invaluable. He has saved a lot of small businesses from going bankrupt and has renewed the lost success streak of the big fish in the market. Business2Sell is delighted to have him onboard for his insightful blogs.