Leaders and Followers

I’m kind of an indecisive person. One thing I can never decide on is if I’m more of a leader or a follower. I’d like to think I’m a leader, but I honestly don’t deal with larger groups of people all that much, and I almost never get into situations where I need to take control or be particularly assertive. I know I could if I needed to, but because I don’t, I’ve sort of been put into a “follower” situation. Even when I’m working on group projects at school, I find it easier to let someone else sort of take control of the project. Of course I’ll take control if needs be, but I tend to prefer to be told what to do. On the other hand, when it comes to music, I like to be in control of the set list, the time we play for and the style of music we play when I’m playing with a friend or two.

Another reason I think I’m a follower is because I’m a Christian. I think, by definition, all Christians and anyone who believes in a god, for that matter are followers. However, this leaves me with a paradox. I know some Christians who are involved in world issues and missionary projects would probably consider themselves leaders or would be considered leaders by others. I believe that they are entitled to this view, considering some of the wonderful things that people do, but they do it in the name of God, and doesn’t that mean they are doing it by His call? Doesn’t that mean they are “following orders” in a sense?

Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s actually possible to be either a leader or a follower. I think it’s more likely that people switch between the two, depending on the situation. I think people will prefer to either take the lead or follow a leader, but I think everyone is capable of doing both. Of course it also depends on how willing a person is to lead or follow. I prefer to follow if I’m not entirely sure of myself or if I somehow get involved with something I don’t want to be involved with, but when I know what I’m doing, and I’m doing something I enjoy or really need to get done, I’ll definitely take more of a “leader” role.

Another interesting observation is that, once I’ve been told what to do, I’ll be more comfortable and will be able to take more of a leadership role. This never seems to get in the way of anything, and I think it tends to actually be helpful. A problem that can occur because of this, however is that I will eventually take the lead because I understand a part of something, but then the original “leader” will become a follower and when (and if) I come to a part of something I do not understand, I will be stuck. This situation is partly theoretical, but similar situations have happened.

Of course sometimes we are put into situations where we must be “leaders” even when we don’t entirely know what we’re doing. Sometimes I enjoy the challenge of these situations, and sometimes I wish I could follow someone else’s “lead.” Of course some people who prefer to be leaders are put into situations where they must be followers, as well.

I think it would be interesting and helpful to consider the qualities that make someone a leader or a follower. I personally think a “leader” is a person who is willing to take charge, is helpful and is controlling but is nice to the people helping or working for them. I think a follower is someone who is good at doing what they’re told, is also helpful, and is willing to give input to projects or situations. These to me are the ideal “leader” and “follower” qualities. I think circumstance dictates which role people will take, and I think people are meant to take either role at different times and I also believe that if people fail to take the role they are meant to, the outcome can be unfortunate.

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