Not Everyone Should Be A Leader


Kathryn Hudnell

Featured image courtesy of Lukas from Pexels

Throughout the pandemic, focus and appreciation is being placed on unsung heroes. The nurses, doctors and even grocery workers are being thanked for keeping an ever-shifting world going. As a cashier in a grocery store myself, it has been interesting to watch how the attitude the public holds about part-time jobs has changed. Am I single handedly saving the world by scanning and bagging groceries for 15 hours a week? No. How about the 2.7 million grocery workers nationwide? Yes. Not a single one of us could do this on our own. There is not a solitary leader making this change. Instead, it is the couple million followers who back the owners that are responsible for this. Now more than ever, the real impact that supportive followers have is being seen.

Leadership is a prized skill that is often encouraged from a young age. There are awards given to those who are seen as the best. Yet, those individuals wouldn’t be anywhere if not for the people that are willing to follow. I have seen the negative effects of having too many leaders in one space, but because being a follower hasn’t been as openly praised, it is difficult to get people to back down, even if it’s for the good of the group. Before I go any further, I want to be clear that I do believe everyone can learn to be a good leader and that there are situations where the leader really is the most important person. The problem is when those who will not benefit the group as a leader are shamed for not stepping up. I want to help dissipate those harsh outlooks.

As hard as it is to pass up that sort of praise, I find being a good follower is even more fulfilling. I take a lot of pride in helping someone make something of their goal. It is not in my personality to be the center of attention, and that is something I have come to accept. Everyone knows that while the astronauts were the ones to step on the moon, it was their team’s hard work that got them there. I strive to be a part of a team like that, because it means being a part of something that is bigger than myself. It reminds me that the impact I can have on this world could be felt in outward ripples.

As a leader, someone can face criticism that is pointed toward them personally instead of their work. I put a lot of effort into not comparing myself to others and staying focused on my personal goals. There are other people who see that type of critique as motivation to improve themselves. If I were to be a leader that received criticism like that, I would not be my happiest self. I will always work on improving my leadership skills, because I know there will be times when I am excited to be at the forefront of a project, but being a positive support for others will always be my first instinct. One voice isn’t enough to make permanent changes, but there is strength in numbers. I plan to play into that growing strength for any cause I choose.