How to be a leader that people want to follow

Blog Author: Carra Yoder, RVT
NAVTA Committee Member

Leadership can mean many different things to many other people. If you asked a group of people, each would probably have a different perspective on being a leader. For example, one may say that a leader inspires people, or a leader is someone who helps someone else succeed in their own goals.

There is not always a guarantee that people will follow you if you are a leader. Anyone can take a leadership role, but that doesn’t automatically mean you will win the trust, confidence, and respect you want.

I have been in a leadership role numerous times, and it is not always an easy thing to do. Sometimes I voluntarily became a leader, and others, I was thrust into the position. Becoming a leader isn’t something that always comes naturally to a person but can be learned and practiced. I believe that leaders are born, and some are made through their act of guiding a team or individual to a specific goal. Leaders help others take the actions they need to succeed.

I have learned that to be an effective leader, you must always respect those around you, even when you don’t want to. Inspire people. To be a leader, one not only has to communicate well but communicate in an inspiring way. Leaders should be generous with their responsibility, time, and encouragement. Be passionate! One way to spread information is to be utterly passionate about what topic you are hoping to apply. A leader also needs to be decisive and humble. Take responsibility for your mistakes and acknowledge when your followers can do something better than you. Take responsibility for the outcomes of your decisions, good or bad. Being a leader can be scary, so be courageous, even if you are frightened.

If you want to become a leader that people would follow voluntarily, I challenge you to ask yourself, “Would I follow me.”