One reason why people struggle to understand true followership is that they try to define followers by how people act. For example, if people obey orders, they are usually classified as followers. When it comes to politics, followers are believed to be those who vote for a political candidate.
Now, here’s why this type of definition doesn’t work. It’s very hard to know WHY people act the way they do. There can be a million reasons why someone obeys an order. Perhaps they WANT to obey or maybe they don’t have a choice. Perhaps someone threatens them or maybe they’re afraid of losing their job. People can also obey because they want to belong to a group or because they simply want to be nice.
It’s the same with democratic elections. People don’t necessarily vote for a candidate or a political party because they like them. Sometimes they vote because they don’t like the alternatives.
Now let’s imagine you have a boss you truly hate. I mean, you can’t stand this person. The only reason you collaborate with the person is to avoid losing your job. In this case, you’re not following your boss. You’re obeying. In other words, you’re not a follower.
For this reason, it’s more or less IMPOSSIBLE to define people as followers based on how they act or where they are in a hierarchy. The only way to know if someone is a follower or not is by understanding their mindset – WHY do they act the way they do?