TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

The leader or the follower?

With any idea or movement, the leader stands out as the core, the person who deserves credit for all. We commend leaders and and aspire to be them. The followers, however, get the short end of the stick. People do not realize that followers often emulate other followers, not leaders. They can relate to followers and receive motivation more easily. Nevertheless, leaders are necessary. They create the ideas. But what idea can grow without the follower?

Who, in your opinion, is more important: the leader or the follower?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Sep 3 2011: When the term LEADER is used , it implies s/he will come up with ideas and has the ability to influence others to become her/his follower by understanding, supporting idea LEADER came up. In the process of executing ideas again followers need direction from leader time to time.

    Let's go by evidence, what Gandhi, Martin Luther King or Mandela did? Were not there enough people around with similar kind of thoughts? Definitely there were but not all had the vision of those leaders had , not all other had the similar influencing power as those leaders had.

    What's going on in Middle East with uprise of people in recent time. A lack of visionary leadership is clear there. So even being an optimist I am not sure where the dream of people will end..........
    Taking my country example , I see how peoples dreams getting shattered every moment due to the absence of a LEADER.

    So my vote goes for LEADER.
    • Sep 3 2011: Some of what you're saying, if I get this right, is that different people have varying ideas which can separate unless held together by a leader. But does the diversity of ideas improve the movement?

      You also mentioned that a movement can die without a leader. Are you referring to the face of a movement, a person that can easily be seen, or can the followers be leaders themselves?
      • thumb
        Sep 4 2011: Hi Michael thanks for thoughts.
        Definitely diversity of ideas improve the movement, that's all those leaders has their own inner circle of close follower some of them also have the leadership capability. But for the success of movement it needs an unity of direction, so instead of multiple people giving directions , direction comes from the person who is the highest level of acceptability among followers and have the highest influencing power.

        If we look back history , plenty of example are there how after the demise of main leader due to the lack of clear succession plan of next leader , movements, revolutions, philosophies got subv divided , sects with in any religion is an clear example. Those sects or sub group came up after the death of the main leader and they started fighting with each other instead establishing or advancing the movement , revolution or thoughts to the next level.

        Not all but defintely some followers have the capability to be the next leader and real leaders tries to support those followers to become the next leader.

        During emergeny situation leaders need to be very much directive even instead of seeking diversity of idea. So it's situational may be in day to day business , but during a movement of revolution when participatory form may not work.

        Well these are just my thoughts......

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.