The Effective Follower

“Without followers, there are no leaders.”

We have all heard of the importance of effective leadership. There are countless books and training courses on the topic. But have you ever seen a book or training course on how to be an effective follower? Yet without effective followers, there cannot be any effective leaders.
A major focus of Ascent Advising’s practice has been encouraging, equipping and inspiring leaders. This is appropriate because effective leaders are much needed in the world of business. But simple math tells us that there are a finite number of slots at the top of the organizational chart.

While every person on that organizational chart needs to lead to an extent, most of us need also to follow. Even though the term may not be mentioned, the role of follower occupies most of the position descriptions of most of the people in most organizations.

Do you know how to be an effective follower? Let’s explore this together.

My sister sent me the video below. It dramatically introduces the concept of “first follower.” And what a concept it is.
Dancing Guy
This video would suggest that being the first to follow a given leader can be a bold and vital move. Without that first follower, there would be no leader. Without that first follower, there would not be a second follower. Without that first follower, there would be no cause.


  • How can you be an effective follower?
  • Pick your leader wisely
  • Understand where your leader is leading you
  • If you don’t understand, ask
  • Once you understand, apply this to what you do and how you do it
  • Once you understand, share your understanding with others
  • Help your fellow followers follow
  • Consider taking on the leadership role of first follower by leading your fellow followers
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate, up and down the organizational chart