What is a Leadee?

I’m sure you’ve asked yourself “What does leadee mean?” I will often reference the term “leadee” in my writing. You probably asked yourself, “Did he misspell leader?” No, I didn’t misspell leader, I meant to spell it that way! A leadee is the person in the leader-leadee relationship that is learning from the leader. Ever heard of the lessor-leasee relationship? The landlord-tenant kind? It’s the same deal here, except it’s a leader-leadee relationship. I’ll often take a look at this relationship to explain a leadership lesson or a point I want to make.

I don’t believe in calling people followers. You won’t see me use that term very often. People don’t like to be called followers. The term follower can have a negative connotation because it implies the follower is not a leader. That is not always true. You see, a leadee in one relationship may be a leader in another. The leader in one relationship may be a leadee in another. A leadee is being led. You can be both a leader and a leadee at the same time. A leadee is a potential leader. A leadee may already be a leader. Confused yet?

What does it take to be an effective leadee?

Now, there are certain requirements for someone to be considered a leadee, and an effective one at that.

1. The individual must want to become a leader, either consciously or subconsciously. Both consciously and subconsciously pursuing leadership improvement are effective and essential, but that’s another article. That desire and drive is what pushes you toward developing yourself into one and continuing to improve every day. If you don’t want to become a leader yourself, you can never be a leadee. At that point, you are, in fact, only a follower. If the drive is present, however, the foundation is set for personal growth to occur. The stage is set for you to develop. Your potential is determined by how much you want to become a leader, and how you approach it, along with your natural talents of course.

2. You need to have the right attitude, and that is one of selflessness. A leadee, if being led properly, must want to do whatever it takes to reach the leader’s vision. The right attitude also means wanting to learn and continually trying to improve. Theoretically, the leader in the situation is just that because they know the situation, their people, and the task at hand. Leaders use this information to orchestrate the situation toward the vision, mission, or goals. The leader’s vision cannot be reached by the leader alone. It’s the supporting cast, the leadee’s that push the team forward toward the vision, mission, or goals.

3. As a leadee you must buy-in to the leader’s vision. Buy-in is essential to working towards the vision and accomplishing it. Without buy-in from leadees, the leader’s vision is just a pipe dream. It is a responsibility of the leader to gain the trust and respect of their people. Only then can the leadees buy-in. First, leadees buy-in to a leader. Then, they buy into a vision. If a leader is leading a team that has not bought-in to the vision, then that leader is not living up to his role.

4. Leadee’s must carry out the leader’s vision. As leadership expert John C. Maxwell says, “Vision begins with one person, but it is only accomplished by many people.” Once a leadee buys-in to the vision, they should be motivated, energized, and excited to fulfill that vision.

In the leader-leadee relationship, both parties are equally important to achieving success. The leader has countless responsibilities. The leadee has infinite responsibilities as well, but a leadee’s most important responsibilities are to support the leader, lift up the leader, and put the achievement of the vision above all else. The funny thing is, by doing these things, the leadee is leading! This is where growth and progress occur. If a leadee has the desire to be a leader, has the right attitude, buys-in to the leader and the vision, and works to bring the vision to fruition, the leadee is doing their part – and becoming a leader along the way.

Leader-Leadee is a blog dedicated to leadership development. Share and learn from Jonathan Alan’s experiences through his free articles!

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