Beyond the Build


The Flip Side of Leadership

In Western culture, leadership can get a lot of accolades. Leaders are thought of as visionaries who make decisions and inspire action. But someone has to make that vision a reality. That’s where the interdependent role of “followership” comes into play.

To me, the skills of a follower complement a leader and vice versa. A few things that seem to be working for us:

  • Understand that not everyone wants to be a leader and embrace this truth within your company. Some people are better as individual performers than managers, and when it comes to achieving goals, that’s a good thing. Every organization needs a well-balanced team.
  • Create avenues for everyone in your business to mix without the pressures of the everyday workplace. Every few weeks, we clock out a little early on a Friday and have a happy hour. We cookout for lunch from time to time and encourage participation in team-building activities at our annual Christmas weekend. These blur the lines of job descriptions, and encourage collaboration.
  • Listen. When opinions are offered in a timely and constructive manner, take the time to hear them.

Sometimes leadership works backwards, and we try to set the stage for all. To me, this is what it’s all about.


Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.