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Top 5 differences between being a leader and being a follower

Are you a leader or a follower?



  • Leaders are willing to step up and take control of a project or task. They enjoy a challenge and embrace change as they know it will benefit them in the long term.
  • Followers have to be forced to drive a project by their boss. They rarely, if ever, volunteer to take on a project. This is the case even if the positive aspects outway the negative. They are happy to go through life maintaining the “status quo”.


  • Leaders show ingenuity, once they have a general grasp for a project they can strategically plan the best way to achieve the final objective.
  • Followers want direction, they need step by step instruction. They require constant assurance and approval, often as a means to covering themselves should something go wrong.

No. 3

  • Leaders are pro-active, and are not content with simply waiting for the next step.  They despise inaction and are driven crazy by lack of progress. They accept responsibility, and are motivated by conquering obstacles in their way.
  • Followers are re-active, content with inactivity, as long as nobody is on their backs about it. Obstacles throw them off course and they look to leaders to re-build their confidence and set them back on the right track.


  • Leaders drive projects and people to the finish line. They are like freight trains, unstoppable forces that will plough through any obstacle that gets in their way. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they plough through people that get in their way. A good leader, will push teamwork rather than individual achievements. They compliment members of the group under their care in order to motivate team members and get them to buy into their plan.
  • Followers are dragged across the finish line, some kicking and screaming. Some, however, may have found an inner strength that may include them participating in the leadership role next time round. Or they may have at least learned enough to keep them from being part of the carnage left behind in the future.


  • Leaders are not paralyzed by fear, they thrive on it. They tackle it head on and show it who’s boss.
  • Followers stop when things get even a little rough. They again look for re-assurance and can let fear affect their decision making process. Often the fear is without any real justification, but maybe for some an excuse to walk away from a challenge.


So what makes a great leader?

A great leader is obviously organised, disciplined, focused and determined. However,  I believe the best leaders are those who have a combination of these skills and certain characteristics. A great leader must also be calm, humble, respectful and compassionate. They take the time to listen to their teams concerns. They can see the big picture rather than seeing things on a small scale. By taking on board the concerns and struggles of their team as well as their own, they both motivate and command loyalty from their teams.

Good leaders don’t bully others and are willing to combine all of the ideas of those who are entrusted into their care, into achieving the overall objective.

Leaders work hard to ensure that those around them are satisfied and cared for. They are unselfish and are willing to put others interests ahead of their own. A leader is a person who is constantly evolving and embraces meaningful input from others. They push teamwork rather than individual achievements in order to achieve the overall target.



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CareerWise Recruitment. EastGate Village, EastGate, Little Island, Cork.

Phone: +353 (0) 21 206 1900