Why You Should Turn Followers Into Leaders

29. Sep 2021 — Shawn Maholick
Why You Should Turn Followers Into Leaders

For business owners, the role of leadership is something to contemplate. For ages, there has been a dilemma about whether you should treat your employees like leaders or just random followers. If you are having such doubts, you have come to the right place!

There can be nothing better than turning followers into leaders. In addition, you can follow the leader-leader approach of leadership in your workplace. Moreover, the age-old leader-follower model is not preferable in today’s times. The bottom-up style of leadership also helps in forming self-motivated employees with unleashed creativity.

Your employees are more like your assets if you treat them in the right leadership style. A competent employee, when given control, will work for the betterment of the company. Moreover, they will add to the values and decisions of your organisation.   

How To Turn Followers Into Leaders?

In David Marquet’s book 'Turn the Ship Around!', he stated that you could turn followers into leaders. Additionally, he suggested adopting a different perspective on leadership to follow. This style of leadership was the leader-leader model instead of the traditional leader-follower approach.

In this era, there is a growing need for skilled individuals who possess leadership qualities. When offered a leader-leader approach, individuals become self-inspired and develop vital qualities such as decision-making skills. They also serve as valuable assets for organizations that prioritize more than just following orders. Moreover, they envision themselves as future leaders.

What Is The Leader-Leader Approach?

The Leader-leader model of leadership is undoubtedly a revolutionary one. It reflects the fact that every individual possesses the potential of becoming a leader. Moreover, the success of an organization highly depends on the self-motivation of every follower to act like a leader from his own position.

In the leader-leader approach, every individual in an organization remains focused. In addition, they are constantly pushing themselves to get the best outcome on any of their projects. Furthermore, they are not into abiding by orders only. Instead, they tend to unleash their potential with their innovations and opinions.

What Are The Three Components Of The Leader-Leader Model?

In the book “Turn the Ship Around!’’ by David Marquet, there was a call to implement the leader-leader model. Instead of the age-old leader-follower approach, he preferred the leader-leader model. It has the potential to turn followers into leaders. Furthermore, he described three components of this model, which are control, competence, and clarity.


The primary motive is to delegate control throughout the organization. The ability to express and freedom of opinion constitute this component. Moreover, it covers decision-making skills in a variety of circumstances. Furthermore, it also deals with why you want to do a task along with how you will do it.

It is one of the three vital components of the leader-leader model of leadership. Without this, competence and clarity are not of the proper value. Moreover, in this case, orders are replaced by intentions. With this intention comes inspiration and self-motivation.


Just decentralizing control is not sufficient. You have to make sure the members of your team are well aware of their responsibility. Furthermore, you have to make sure they are capable of accomplishing a task skillfully.

Without competence, your team can’t reach a long way. It is highly essential to offer them the right equipment and resources to finish their tasks. You also have to make sure they are aware of the decision they are making. Moreover, you should be aware of the goals they set.


To get the most from the employees, you must enrich them with the proper vision of the company. If the employees are not knowledgeable about the risks or opportunities of the organization, they can’t contribute much.

To help the organization to excel at its best, the employees should be cautious of the goals and plans of the organization. Without knowing the ability and shortcomings of the organization, the employees can’t make the proper decisions for it.

Leader-Follower VS Leader-Leader Model

Nowadays, the leader-leader model of leadership proves to be more suitable than the traditional leader-follower model. In the leader-leader approach, individuals are empowered to take ownership and responsibility for the organization's well-being. They actively engage their critical thinking skills to contribute meaningfully to the collective goals. On the contrary, the leader-follower model often leads to mere adherence to the directives of a single leader without fostering independent thinking or initiative among team members.

There are two primary models of leadership: the leader-follower and the leader-leader approach. Let's delve into an analysis comparing these two methods of leadership.

The Leader-Follower Approach

The leader-follower approach to leadership is a traditional style. In the leader-follower practice, followers are only used to following the orders of the leaders. In this particular form of leadership, there is a fine line of discrimination between the leaders and followers. This style of leadership doesn’t let the followers motivate themselves to turn into a leader.

In this approach, the followers turn into blind obedience to the leaders. In addition, they do not possess any creativity towards solving any problem. Moreover, they lose their innate tendency to work according to their highest potential. As a result, they remain confined to only following the orders of the higher authorities like puppets.

The leader-follower style of leadership was suitable in the ancient centuries of the past. In today’s world, leader-follower destroys the individual’s latent talents to work for the organization. Furthermore, in this style, if a follower turns leader, he will treat his followers in a similar way of discrimination. Finally, this approach only leads to chaos and ruins potential.

The Leader-Leader Approach

The leader-leader approach empowers people to take responsibility. Moreover, it builds inspired individuals who work for the betterment of their organization. Unlike the leader-leader process, their primary aim is not following the orders of the leaders. As a result, the leader-leader approach brings a more stable and reliable structure for your organization.

In today’s world, tasks are not only of physical nature but of varied nature. For the success of any organization, every individual has to be motivated to work hard as per their potential. This characteristic among the individuals lies in the leader-leader approach. Individuals give rise to innovations, along with creative solutions to problems.

Comparing Top-Down and Bottom-Up Approaches

In the top-down model of leadership, only the high authorities hold the supreme power. Moreover, regular employees don’t have any voice to offer new ideas. On the other hand, the bottom-up model invites people all over the organization for views and opinions. As a result, it helps to build more empowered individuals with the potential to be future leaders.

In a traditional top-down system, the leader sits in the highest position of the hierarchy. In addition, he holds all the powers of decision-making and change-making. Moreover, the orders and decisions only pass to the lower employees with no voice of their own. Furthermore, the top-down model is like an autocratic approach where only the higher executives hold power.

In the top-down approach, there is very little space for creativity. Here, the authority does not welcome decisions from a wide range of employees. Instead, only the high officials possess the power to make decisions and set goals for the company.

On the other hand, the low-rank employees only have to abide by their decisions and complete the assigned jobs. As a result, this might be pretty frustrating for the employees. Moreover, this can also lead to a lack of self-motivation. Furthermore, any crisis arising in the company takes a huge time to be fixed since there are only limited higher officials to solve it.

Bottom-up leadership welcomes the ideas of all employees of the team. Moreover, it influences the active participation of the employees in decision-making. Furthermore, the overall communication between all the employees develops in this model of leadership. In addition, people get the scope to explore their creative minds collaborating with co-workers.

How Does Bottom-Up Leadership Work?

In bottom-up leadership, there is room for open communication. As a result, in any crisis circumstance, the employees have the privilege to offer their own opinions and solutions. Due to this platform for open discussion, crises are fixed promptly with joined efforts. Moreover, the authority always welcomes new ideas and innovations.

While following bottom-up leadership in your organization, it’s easier to solve a problem. It is because there is the active participation of all the employees. When you offer an employee the scope to have his voice, he becomes more motivated and focused. As a result, these employees will possess the potential to be efficient leaders of the future.


By now, you might be well aware of different aspects of leadership.If you want leadership excellence, then it’s time to adopt the leader-leader and bottom-up approach of leadership. This approach will surely make an organization more stable, reliable, productive, and innovative.

The days of following orders blindly are long gone. It’s time for an open discussion among the employees to explore their leadership qualities. In addition, a proper form of leadership style will lead to leadership excellence.

Shawn Maholick

Shawn Maholick

Seasoned Tech Expert and Software Developer Sharing Insights on Organizational Scalability and Sustainable Practices for the Modern Tech Landscape.