Think about it for a moment. You follow certain people and others you ignore. What do the ones you follow have in common?
First, separate out the people you obey from the people you follow. You may obey your boss, but not really follow them. Perhaps you do what they ask out of fear or self-preservation. That's not true followership.
Now separate out the ones you do things for because they are your friends. You likely don't follow these people, per se, but you serve them, spend time with them, and enjoy being around them.
Who's left? Who do you really follow? My guess is that the people you follow have a few things in common:
- They're authentic. They know who they are and who they aren't and they are true to that self-knowledge.
- They are vulnerable. They allow glimpses -- or a full view -- into who they are, how they think, and why they do what they do. They show their successes and failures, strengths and weaknesses, and share what they've learned to pay it forward.
- They are competent. They know something. They have content expertise in some area that interests you. They don't just have surface-level knowledge -- they know their craft.
- They are talented. They seem to be a step ahead and be better than most and what they do. They are inherently good at their craft.
- They are generous. They give freely and often.
Notice in this list, which is not at all exhaustive, that you don't see things like "they are good communicators" or "they are master project planners" or "they are skilled technicians." These things may be true for some, but perhaps not all.
No, more likely they are gifted at being human. Why? Because we follow humans. Leadership is 90% who you are, and 10% what you do.
Focus first on who you are and the rest will follow.