Great Leaders Want to See Their Followers Become Leaders

When they know the way, they can eventually show the way

Kristi Keller
3 min readJun 9, 2021


Photo by Kiana Bosman on Unsplash

People catapult to the position of leader for one reason: Because others are willing to follow them.

As I embark on my new journey of once again becoming a community leader, I’ve put some thought into the kind of chief I’d like to be this time around.

Some leaders get voted in based on popularity and promises.

Some create commander-like gigs because they like sitting at the top.

Some are on power trips and end up killing off their disciples. Cult leaders, we’re looking at you!

Then we have the leaders who know their followers will likely move on because they’ve been groomed so well they can succeed on their own.

These are the good kind. The kind who realize they might constantly be recruiting new followers because they’ve done such a good job with previous ones.

But why would anyone aspire toward having their people leave?

For me the answer is simple. I feel like a true measure of your own success is when others succeed because of you. And the payoff is that when they prosper they’re less likely to pack up and leave town.

They’re happy to support you and others even further because they’ve become, in essence, one of you.

Having been a community leader for many years I’ve seen two main kinds of followers:

  1. Those who attempt to ride your coat tails and cash in on what you’ve built. They want something for nothing and they’re not there to do the work of improving.
  2. Those who realize the value of what you’ve built and stay for the long haul because it benefits everyone, not just themselves.

In my past endeavors, the latter were far more prevalent, and the former often didn’t make it past the front door.

My people stuck around for many years because even though they’d graduated to a point where they could get along on their own, they stuck around to continue helping others take the journey they just took.



Kristi Keller

Write like no one is reading, because it might be true. Never let the truth stand in the way of a good story.