We need great leaders to help promote businesses, to uplift and inspire their employees, take charge and make difficult decisions. It has been established that they are needed, but what do good leaders need more than great attributes?  How about being an excellent follower?

What is an Excellent Follower?

When I say followers, I do not mean your Twitter followers or Facebook friends. I am talking about people who stand out among the rest that are doing their best to follow their leaders in the work force.

An excellent follower would have the traditional attributes that most employers would be looking for, such as:

  • Loyalty
  • Dedication
  • Honesty
  • Punctual
  • Productive

Beyond that, however, they would also be able to have the following traits:

  • Motivation
  • Trustworthy
  • Reliable
  • Effective

There are three kinds of employees:

  • The Bare Minimum

    These are employees that clock into work and perform the traditional tasks that are asked of them, and do the bare minimum in order to stay with the company – these people may be known as seat fillers.

  • The Drivers

    Drivers go the extra mile and put forth more effort on a project and stay organized so that they can function at a higher capacity.

  • The Potential Leader

    The best employees are also the best followers. They are unique in that they not only perform great, but they also have added talents in their arsenal to become great leaders.

How can you become an excellent follower?

Be Teachable

Michael Jordan is still considered to be one the best players in the existence of the game of basketball, and there have been many that have aspired to be the same.

The ones that have come close all have the same thing in common: they looked to Jordan as their example. They watched the way he played the game, and studied his methods in order to better their individual game, because their end goal was to be the next Michael Jordan.

The best followers will be the ones that are willing to be taught by their leaders, and not only take notes on what their leaders have shown to be productive, but actively develop their talents and abilities.

For example, if a job is primarily focusing on sales, then that employee would review their leader’s best sales pitches and actively weave them into his or her practice. These employees can be teachable enough to follow the example of someone who has already seen success in their respective field.


One of the definitions of humility is to have a modest opinion of one’s own importance.  Why would having a modest opinion matter in being an excellent follower?  How does someone change and become better if they have a lot of pride or think too highly of themselves?

The answer is they usually don’t, and will remain the same. However, an awareness and assessment of your current level of emotional intelligence can help you better yourself and allow you to become a better follower and a better leader.  The purpose of becoming better is to change habits that don’t work effectively.  A humble follower will make the needed changes to become better than they were in previous times.


“The glue that holds all relationships together–including the relationship between the leader and the led–is trust, and trust is based on integrity.” –Brian Tracy.

Without being trusted there is no chance to progress as an excellent follower.  Building a healthy relationship with a leader will open doors to effective work habits, and progress within the company.

Play Nicely

If an employee cannot work effectively with other employees then how can they hope to fall into the category of an excellent follower?  Excellent followers learn to create healthy and friendly relationships with their co-workers. Without having a good example to look to, it makes developing great attributes harder to achieve.

What is the End Goal for the Excellent Follower?

We all want to progress and become better than what we were yesterday.  In the world of business, the purpose is to be a better employee each day to achieve more.

The ultimate benefit of being an excellent follower is becoming a fantastic leader.  Standing alone and uniquely among other employees will be a huge step in progression towards the goal of successful leadership

What Makes an Excellent Follower?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

Would you like to contribute a post?

Andrew Craner
Andrew Craner lives in Boise, Idaho. He is a freelance writer, a full time college student, and a basketball enthusiast. He is working on his undergraduate program for marriage and family therapy. Andrew has always had a desire to help people through counseling, and loves his life.