How do you become a leader that people want to follow? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Awdhesh Singh, Author, IITian and an IRS officer, on Quora:

People don't follow any leader because he/she is honest, efficient, just, kind, or wise.

They follow the leaders who are willing to fight their battle and solve their problems.

The world is like a battleground where millions of battles are being fought between different sections of the society.

  • Poor are fighting against rich to garner maximum value for their labor
  • Rich are fighting against poor to exploit their labor at lowest cost
  • Young people are fighting with older generations to gain their place
  • Females are fighting against males for asserting their position
  • Honest people are fighting against corrupt to create a better world
  • Police are fighting against criminals to maintain law and order
  • Tax collectors are fighting against tax evaders to collect more revenue for government

If you want to become a leader, you have to take a side and fight the battle against the rival camp.

You will lose the support of some people due to your decision. However, you will also gain the support of those who benefit from your actions.

If you play neutral and fair, you lose the support of every side. Read this Aesop's Fable:

A GREAT conflict was about to come off between the Birds and the Beasts. When the two armies were collected together the Bat hesitated which to join.

The Birds that passed his perch said: "Come with us"; but he said: "I am a Beast."

Later on, some Beasts who were passing underneath him looked up and said: "Come with us"; but he said: "I am a Bird."

Luckily at the last moment, peace was made, and no battle took place, so the Bat came to the Birds and wished to join in the rejoicing, but they all turned against him and he had to fly away.

He then went to the Beasts, but soon had to beat a retreat, or else they would have torn him to pieces. "Ah," said the Bat, "I see now, "HE THAT IS NEITHER ONE THING NOR THE OTHER HAS NO FRIENDS." [1]

If most people fail to become leaders, it is because they wish to be fair and just for both sides.

If you want to be a leader, you have to take a side and fight for your people.

If your followers are robbers, you must be willing to commit robbery with them.

Footnotes

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Published on: Nov 28, 2016