True leaders create more leaders, not followers

Some people think that leaders need followers. We disagree. 

We believe that:

True leaders create more leaders, not followers.

When times are stable, placing an organisation under the direction of a single person or a small leadership team can bring focus and momentum. It enables all the resources of the organisation to move forward at the same speed, in the same direction, like a supertanker: all controlled by a single hand on the wheel. 

But when times are churning, the ability to adapt becomes paramount. Now an organisation filled with followers finds its ability to adapt is limited by the ability of the single leader or leadership team to change. And nobody has the knowledge or time to be able to respond to every issue. In a time of change, a leader who creates followers becomes a bottleneck: they stifle the ability of the organisation to adapt.

A leader who teaches others to lead themselves, own the other hand, increases the ability of every individual to handle change. That increases the ability of the organisation to handle change. And a leader who becomes antifragile, and teaches others to become antifragile, makes the whole organisation antifragile: able to use change to become stronger and more valuable.

A leader who creates more leaders turns the organisation from a supertanker into a fleet of speedboats: each is pushed forward by their own inspiration and enthusiasm; all can remain aligned to their shared purpose and direction; and yet each can dodge and swerve to avoid any obstacles that arise (and pursue the opportunities that arise) without needing constant guidance from the bridge.

In a time of change, leaders who create more leaders expand the capacity of their organisation to adapt, and to become stronger and more valuable. 

Do the people you work with encourage you to follow them or lead yourself? What do you encourage in others? Six months from now which of these options will be more useful? What are you doing to prepare for that?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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(And remember: you can’t learn to swim just by reading about swimming, you also need to do the practice.)

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2 Replies to “True leaders create more leaders, not followers”


  2. I’m thrilled and believe will be a good leader in future as I’m beginning to have an impulse of good leadership.

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