Maybe You’re Not a Leader (And That’s Okay)

You’ve memorized the Seven Habits of Highly Successful Leaders and the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, maybe you’ve been to every leadership seminar and conference on the planet, you’ve even been in a position of leadership.

But every time you shout “Charge!” and run off to take the next hill, you soon turn around and notice that no one is following. [Don’t worry, I’ve done it plenty of times…]

I want to let you in on a little secret, something that you won’t hear Tony Robbins, John Maxwell, or Bill Hybels say:

Maybe You’re Not A Leader

But here’s something I need to say: That’s alright.

Twitter Follow Me

Not everyone is a leader. However, everyone does have talents, gifts, and skills that they need to use and cultivate. It’s important that you use the gifts you’ve been given, but it’s not so important where you end up on the totem pole of leadership.

Be A Follower

Leaders need followers. Find a leader of character who has a vision and a passion that you identify with, and support them. Find someone you would follow and be a member of the team. I’ve posted before about Followership, and the importance of being an effective follower that contributes to a team with initiative, accountability, and enthusiasm.

Be A Sidekick

What’s a sidekick? You know, Batman had Robin, Frodo had Sam, Sherlock Holmes had Doctor Watson, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto (am I aging myself?) A sidekick is someone who directly supports the leader, who provides a necessary addition to the work of the leader. Without a sidekick, the leader may find themselves lost, unsupported, or without the motivation to continue. Without a sidekick, many leaders just wouldn’t be able to operate.

Be A Leader

Finally, it’s okay to lead too: Be a leader wherever you find yourself in the pecking order, be a moral leader and example to your family, neighbors, and kids. Even if you’re not storming the beach at Normandy, living a lifestyle of consistent hardwork, integrity, and morality is enough these days to be a leader and role model to the people around you.


What do you think? Do you agree? Do you have any experiences that prove (or disprove) my point? If so, leave a comment and let us know.

  • Jane Babich

    Thank you so much for this post. Follower has really been given a bad name, and it makes people feel like the are less than the one being followed.  And sidekick… this is a term I have used for years; because this is how the Lord has used me.  I have had the honor and great learner opportunity to be the sidekick to some amazing leaders in business and ministry. From a 2 star general (in the publix sector) to a traveling Apostle.  Your understanding of this work of greatness outside of “leadership” is so needed. When we look at the 5-fold ministry or the teams in the secret service, they all have those that “follow” and those that work “side by side”. Maybe this should be a book you write..:) 

  • Jane, thanks for the reinforcement–I’m glad this hit home!  I often find myself in sidekick mode too, there’s a need for solid people who can support leaders and then pass on what they learn.

    As for the book, that’s a great idea… we can write it together.  :^)  

  • Like this post because too often followers are dismissed as unimportant. And the sidekick comment is also valid. Most every leader can point to one or two people who make it possible for him or her to lead. And that is something to celebrate, not hide.

  • great thoughts.  Who is Lone Ranger and Tonto? ha.  Don’t really expect these type of blogs coming from the guy who leads at a leadership academy.  So knowing you see the importance of followers is a great quality to have as a leader.   You know Dave Hearn needs some Russian spies like Veronica and Natasha:)

  • Female Russian spies… interesting sidekick choices… but I guess that would work.  :^)

    Thanks Tara.

    P.S. An introduction to the Lone Ranger…

  • Thanks Skip.  I could definitely use a sidekick or two these days… 

  • Michelle McAuley

    Thanks for the blog Dave. I had a big kick in the guts today because I wasn’t being a ‘leader’ at work. But I don’t want to be a leader. I want to be a side-kick. And there’s not much on the internet for the lowly side-kick. But your short blog made me feel much better…

  • Glad I could help Michelle. Now as a sidekick, you just need to search out a leader you can support, encourage, and lend a hand. Once you’ve found them, let them know you are willing to help!

  • Fred

    Leadership is a season not a status.
    Before God you are all that you will ever be.