Starting a movement; the role of leaders and followers

Here is a neat little video from TED : Derek Sivers: How to start a movement.

We often think that leadership is about being out in front and being brave to stand out and for taking certain initiatives.  While that is part of it, leadership is also about nurturing the first few followers.

Another form of leadership was shown in the video.  It was the first courageous follower.  It was this guy that transformed the first guy into a leader.  Interestingly, the leader embraced – publically – the first follower as an equal; it matters how new leaders treat and develop their first few “direct reports”.

The embraced follower then brought in another follower.

More followers joined in and before long, a tipping point was reached.  It was at this point that it became un-cool not to be part of the movement.   What extraordinary influence was exercised by the first few guys.  Interestingly in the end, we lost sight of them in the crowd, the crowd clearly was not watching them waiting for the next steps and everyone was just getting on with getting on!

“…it was the shirtless guy who was first, and he’ll get all the credit, but it was really the first follower that transformed the lone nut into a leader.”

The first follower had tremendous influence!  The early followers emulated the first follower, and very quickly, the crowd became a movement!