When I was little, I remember a mild mannered older man visiting my house every once in a while. He would show up unannounced, but extremely welcomed by my parents. He wouldn’t come with any agenda, but he was just there to listen and give wisdom where he could. He had been doing this with my parents for a while and as I got older I found out that this same man visited with many other families. When I started dating my wife I found out that he visited with my in-laws in their most difficult times. His first name was Spencer, and he was a minister from my church. By no means was Spencer the loudest man in a group, and he never proclaimed to have all the answers, but when he spoke people listened intently. Many leaned on him and respected him. He wasn’t perfect, but he could do no wrong in the eyes of the ones he influenced. Spencer’s title didn’t make him such an influencer, his love for others did. Whether he knew it or not, he was a leader because of his influence.
Leaders influence, plain and simple. Not because people are forced to follow, but because people find benefit in following. If you find yourself in a leadership role or want to lead an industry you must look around for voluntary followers. Is there anyone there? A popular quote is, “A leader without any followers is just a guy out for a walk.” Don’t just be out for a walk. Be like Spencer and show your genuine care for others. You’ll find people giving you the title of leader instead of you having to demand it from them. If you want to be a leader in your industry, the same applies. Give what you have to benefit others, and your industry will automatically see you as someone to follow.
Leaders have followers. It’s a law that cannot be broken.