The Difference Between a Leader and a Follower

There are two types of people in this world; leaders and followers. Most people like to consider their selves leaders, but the truth is the majority of people are actually followers. If you are a follower and want to be a leader, there are several principles of power that every leader must have. Without these, you will spend the rest of your life wishing to be a leader, but living like a follower.

The End is Always in Sight

Many women live with the misconception that being powerful means it always has to be their way or the highway. Being powerful means understanding that the goal is far more important than the journey (this does not apply to living life to its fullest, however). Take the executive director of Safe Shores, Michele Booth Cole for example. When she was tasked with acquiring with the city of Washington D.C. to obtain a building that could be used to house more families for the children’s advocacy center she was rebuffed. The city did not want to allow the program to own the building, which was the program’s goal. Cole, however, did not panic because the plan was falling through. She did not issue ultimatums or threats. Instead, she pointed out that the end goal was to have a building that would belong to families with children in need, and it didn’t matter if the program owned it or the city owned it. She then negotiated a lease with the city that allowed them infinite use of the building and the majority say in the construction of the building. The moral of this story? A true leader understands that it isn’t about her; it’s about the goal.

Collaboration is Important

Another misconception is that powerful women do everything on their own, without asking for help. The reality is that nothing can operate with just one person doing all the work. A true leader knows that without help from others, she will never get anything accomplished. Rome was not built in a day, and it was certainly not built by one single person.

If You Can Dream It, You Can Live It

Leaders understand that they to focus on their own lives, not just their career or the lives of everyone around them. A leader lives her life on her own terms, making her dreams happen. They understand that time is more valuable than money because money can always be acquired, but acquiring more time is impossible. Sometimes they have to disappoint the masses to make their own life feel worthwhile, even if it means leaving the “perfect” job or giving up their monetary success to live their dreams. Leaders know that their dreams are more than just dreams, they are ideas that they can turn into reality with a little hard work and persistence.

They Understand the Power of Knowledge

A true leader never misses an opportunity to learn, no matter where the knowledge is coming from. A leader is willing to take notes, advice and knowledge from anyone that possesses it, even if she is the corporate CEO of a major company and the advice is coming from the mail room clerk that never graduated college. There is knowledge everywhere, and taking the time to acquire it will only improve your life and make you a better leader. Followers tend to believe they know it all, have nothing to learn and scoff at the concept of learning from someone they consider beneath them. Leaders know that no one is beneath them; others simply haven’t had the time to live up to their full potential.


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