Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' servant, saying, "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel" (Joshua 1:1-2 NASB).
There are many books on leadership, and I hope to review some of them. Such books are significant in expressing typical characteristics of leaders, and there is much to be learned from them. At the same time, I find in scripture principles of leadership that may not get the emphasis due them from secular authors. In the above passage, God is speaking to Joshua and instructing him on where and how to lead the people of Israel. But notice that he is called the servant of Moses, or Moses' assistant. Joshua was a follower, and God chose him to lead upon the death of Moses. In addition, notice that Moses is called the servant of God, yet Moses was a great leader. If you remember Moses' early days when God called him to lead His people from Egypt, Moses was reluctant to step up, giving every excuse to avoid the leadership role. Moses learned to lead as he learned to be a servant; and Joshua was qualified to lead because he was a willing follower.
A principle was summarized from the above scenario by the English minister, Alan Redpath, when he noted in his commentary on Joshua (Victorious Christian Living) that a person who is unwilling to follow is unqualified to lead. I believe that accurately describes a first step in becoming a leader and of the perspective a leader must bring to the role of leadership.
A leader, who does not need to always be in center stage and first place, leaves himself where he can be humble, pliable, and teachable, while not reducing him from being seen as a leader. Actually it helps earn him the trust needed for others to follow.