Why people follow other people?

Recently I have been reading through John C. Maxwell’s The 5 Levels of Leadership.  This book caught me off-guard.  Very intriguing and a book that every leader or inspiring leader should read.  Many times throughout it forced me to reflect on my leadership and make sure that it was in line with what I believe as a person and how I interact with others.

Everyone follows somebody.  If you are an active Twitter user you may follow a few people, or you may follow thousands of people.  People follow other people for lots of different reasons.  There are stacks of books out there on leadership and how to lead.  Throw a rock anywhere in a bookstore and chances are you struck a book that is about leadership. People follow other people for four basic reasons: (There are five levels of leadership but here I cover four of them and why people follow others.)

Position

People follow some people simply due to the position that they hold.  Not because of what they stand for or how they have impacted them personally, but because simply of their title.  These people feel like they have to follow these people.

Permission

Some individuals seek to follow others by seeking permission through relationships.  This is where people follow others because they simply want to.  They do not feel that they have too and it has nothing to do with the position the person holds.  This relies solely on relationships.  You have to like the people that follow you and you have to like the people that you follow.

Production

The third reason people follow others is due to production or results.  Leaders that can produce good results will have followers only after they have seen these results.  Good leaders don’t just create a pleasant working environment, they get things done!

“When you are winning, nothing hurts!”

People Development

Fourth, people follow other people because they see how them have influenced them and developed them as a person.  Nobody follows that person who is inherently a bad influence.  People want to follow people that inspire them and have a positive impact on their lives.  These leaders have the ability to empower others and they invest in their followers.  

“Production wins games, but people development wins championships.”

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