The 11 Leadership Secrets You’ve Never Heard About – Forbes.  “The old distinctions between leaders and followers are gone.  Great followers follow by leading.”  August Turak writes about 11 ways in which great followers follow by leading.  Here’s his list:

  1. Great Followers Seize the Initiative
  2. Great Followers Create their Own Job
  3. Great Followers are Coachable
  4. Great Followers Anticipate
  5. Great Followers are Great Communicators
  6. Great Followers are Goal Driven
  7. Great Followers Show Don’t Tell
  8. Great Followers Earn Trust
  9. Great Followers Offer Solutions
  10. Great Followers are Compassionate
  11. Great Followers are Loyal

August supplies examples and explains each of the ways and successfully demonstrates the importance and value of each way.  For my money, everything after “Great Followers Seize the Initiative” is a distant second and could be a subset of seizing initiative.   For example, being able to anticipate something is almost meaningless if you don’t act on it — and by acting on it, essentially you seize the initiative to prepare for or address it.  Similarly, August’s example of being a great communicator is to proactively communicate to preempt worry by one’s boss.  Proactively communicating is just another way of describing how one seizes the initiative in terms of informing one’s boss about progress or setbacks.

Demonstrating valued attributes (being coachable, earning trust, being compassionate, being loyal) all require some form of initiative.  Being loyal or compassionate are terrific qualities, but if no one knows that you are loyal or compassionate, the value of the qualities is diminished.  It is only seizing the initiative — taking advantage of opportunities — to communicate and demonstrate these qualities of that the full value of the qualities can be appreciated.

August Turak provides a unique and valuable way of looking at leadership by showing how great leaders must be also be great followers.   His list of 11 ways in which great leaders and followers are alike has helped me think differently about leadership.  The first characteristic — great followers seize the initiative — is the one that I find to be the most potent.