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My father-in-law reminded me of a basic axiom of leadership. Leaders need followers. Sounds like a “no-brainer” but it has profound implications. Followership is huge and I’ll bet you haven’t given much thought to it. You may have heard the quote attributed to John Maxwell, “If you think you’re leading but no one is following, then you are only just taking a walk.”

Followership is a relatively new buzz word in leadership circles. It’s not that people are unaware of followers, it’s just that without an understanding of those who follow your lead, the rest doesn’t matter. defines followership this way: “as the willingness to cooperate in working toward the accomplishment of defined goals while demonstrating a high degree of interactive teamwork.“ More simply, it’s the behavior of the men and women who make an organization work.

They are the ones who make reaching your goals possible. It doesn’t matter if you apply this to sports, business or the church, it’s the followers that help organizations reach their potential. When treated with honor and respect, followers are more engaged, work more diligently, solve more problems and just plain “get the job done.”

Matthew writes about his own “followership.” Matthew 9:9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.

Yes, Jesus was and is a leader’s leader. But people who follow Him change the world.

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