Five Signs I Look For Before I Follow You

Law of Respect: people naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves.

I read this law a couple years ago. Since then, I have noticed whenever I’m interacting with a group of strangers, I quickly try to find my place in the hierarchy. And let me be clear, the hierarchy has nothing to do with titles.

For example, during my John Maxwell Team certification event, I met hundreds of people and closely interacted with dozens. I was amazed to see how quickly I was able to determine who was ahead and who was behind me in the growth journey. With a few sentences, I was able to decide who I could serve, and who I could gather wisdom from. Keep in mind, these was a group of a 1000 people.

Here are the five signals I look for:

I. Wisdom gained from experience

I don’t look for experiences. I look for what they have learned from them. I like how John Maxwell says it, “if experience was the best teacher, we would all get smarter as we get older”.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something. – Plato

II. Passion

This one is simple. People with passion show they care about the subject in question.

We can’t be passionate about everything but we all have something to be passionate about.

III. Disposition to serve

To me, a person who is willing to serve others is someone that can always add value to people. And to avoid confusion, I use the words by Crawford Loritts, “If we serve with an expectation of return, we’re not serving, we’re investing.”

IV. Compatible values

To me this is about complementing or enhancing each others way of living. We don’t need the same values but they need to be moving in similar directions.

V. Consistency between words and behaviors

I couldn’t care less about what you know and think if your actions aren’t testimony of what you say.

If leaders don’t embody the values, their followers’ trust will erode and ultimately the leader will forfeit the opportunity to lead. – Ken Blanchard


What do you look for when finding your place in the totem pole?




What is your experience with this concept?

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