Is Following Leading Backwards?

Is following leading backwards? Do great followers become great leaders?

Looking at the Scriptures and looking at history, I have found a number of examples that seem to suggest that great leaders were once great followers. Here are a few examples:

Joshua was Moses’ aide and then became Moses’ successor in leading the people of Israel into the Promised Land. He was promoted (rather than Moses’ brother, sister, or even the other elders of Israel) from assistant to spy to leader.

Meriweather Lewis was promoted by Thomas Jefferson from a secretarial position to become part of the famous exploring duo Lewis and Clark.

In the Kingdom of God, all things are reversed. The last will be first. Those who humble themselves will be exalted. Those who are faithful in the little things are given more. I believe that the goal of a follower is to help their leader accomplish great things, to see their dreams become reality. In the Kingdom, the goal of a leader is to help those they oversee accomplish great things, to see their dreams become reality. A leader is to equip those that serve.

Can you think of other great followers who became great leaders in Scriptures or in history?

Which muscles do both leaders and followers exercise? In other words, which skills or traits do effective leaders and effective followers share?

How can we become better followers to become better leaders?

Serving to lead and leading to serve,


  • Henry Zonio

    Interesting observations! I think the key word is “great.” “Great” followers are “Great” leaders. They both need to be authentic servants.

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