The 7 Distinguishing Doctrines of Followership

Positioning Yourself to Become the Best Leader by Being the Best Follower

Jake Daghe
7 min readJul 29, 2022


Photo by Free Walking Tour Salzburg on Unsplash

Everyone, deep down, likes the thought of being the leader of something.

You might want to lead your Neighborhood Association. Or a project at work. Or your kid’s softball team. Or maybe you want to lead Congress. Or the UN.

Maybe you want to lead your courtroom, your family, or your morning run club that meets every week before the sun comes up. If you can name it, you can lead it.

There are tens of thousands of books centered around this topic, so you might think, “What’s different about what you have to say?”

Most resources try to teach you to be a better leader by telling you what a leader would do. They give examples and exercises that focus on expressing your particular style of leadership. But I’m about to transform your leadership, not by teaching you how to lead, but by teaching you how to follow.

Because here’s the secret that so many of us have skipped over in recent years with the rising proliferation of self-crowned leaders: if you can’t follow, you can’t lead.

That’s not my thought. That’s Aristotle. He just said it more eloquently, in typical Aristotelian fashion, when he wrote, “He who cannot be a good follower, cannot be a good leader.”

So if good leaders are good followers, what does it mean to be a good follower? What is the DNA of a great follower and how can you embody these characteristics?

The best news about this approach is that you don’t have to do something new to become a great leader. You’re already a follower. You just need to tweak how you follow in order to maximize your potential to lead.

So, here are the 7 Distinguishing Doctrines of Followership.

Why “doctrines?” Because I liked the way Wikipedia defined the word: “Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given branch of knowledge or in a belief system.”

The essence of teachings. I don’t want to just give you examples. I want to give you the essence of a wide…



Jake Daghe

Creative Engineer writing working hypotheses | I write what I wish I could have read when I was younger | Join my newsletter ‘I/Q Crew’ on Substack.