What does "Every leader is a follower" mean?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This can have at least two meanings.  

First, it can refer to simple organizational set up.  Within a company, practically every manager is both a leader and a follower.  It is not until you get to the absolute top of the company that you have someone who has no immediate supervisor.  But even that person must answer to stockholders or to the needs of the firm as a whole.  In that way, all leaders are followers.

Second, it can refer to the idea that a good leader must be able to follow at times.  A good leader has to understand that he or she cannot make all the decisions.  Good leaders need to be able to delegate responsibility to others and then accept what those people have done.  In that sense, the leaders are also followers in an informal way.  They have to know that sometimes it is best to accept what others have done instead of trying to micro-manage everything.