Be a great follower — Leadership.

Phillip J. Clayton
3 min readSep 20, 2021

I have never been concerned with whether the chicken or the egg came first, nor have I ever been preoccupied with the beginning of humanity. I was told a story growing up as a child, and I accepted that story because the alternatives were just as complex. I chose to accept that reality is often stranger than fiction...I know where I came from, my mother gave birth to me, and whatever happened next was everything.

"Did the chicken or the egg come first?" Is conjecture, an irrelevant question with way too much emphasis placed on it. It's a distraction, a question asked by people who focus on tiny things.

In life, we are either great leaders or great followers and most likely, if you are a great leader you were a great follower. You also followed the right people and habits, you were also not opposed to learning. You accepted the fact that you were born into whatever reality you saw, at some point made the decision to change that reality into what you want it to be. You discovered limits and tested them.

We are surrounded by garden varieties of content that speak about confidence, leadership, and motivation. Very few speak about following, but the ones that do often speak about being constant learners. It is incredibly important who you follow now because that will determine what kind of leadership you will offer later if you become a leader.

I perceive leadership like this, a few lines from the 1990 movie, 'Hard to Kill' with Steven Seagal as Mason Storm...

I remember going to my martial arts teacher. He said, "Why you come to me" and I say, "Ah, to learn how to fight." And he's like, "Oh, so you wanna hurt people, but you wanna be great." I say, "Yeah, I wanna be great. "Then first learn how to heal people to be great, to hurt people is easy."

If leadership for anyone is a position to toss orders and boss people around, then you do not understand leadership. Being able to lead has its fair share of dictation, but it is also mostly leading people from the back, and only being upfront when they need help or start losing their way. Leadership is a great deal of nurturing and being held accountable for the entire team's performance, whatever happens with the people you lead is a reflection of your leadership.

Leadership must be protected, cherished it is a delicate thing and others will try to taint it, to taint you.

Here is another nifty bit from John F. Kennedy, "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."

You must be in a constant state of learning in order to teach. You will lead with confidence, be humble enough to say you don't know the answer, and be brave enough to lead in the search for it.

You don’t have to know where you came from, and you don’t have to know where you are going, not at first…but be sure you know where are.



Phillip J. Clayton

Brand consultant | Strategic advisor | International brand & marketing design judge: | Writer | Creative director