It depends. I can be both, a leader and a follower, and the truth is that nobody is only one or the other all the time. If you are honest to and about yourself you will know your strengths and weaknesses. You will act as a leader when your strengths are needed. Additionally, you will act as a follower when someone else’s strengths are best fitting for the specific situation.
Trying to be a leader in a situation that is new to you, or without having the necessary experience in a specific field, is irresponsible. You are not only taking your own but the fate of others into your own inexperienced hands.
Whenever you are uncertain if a situation is appropriate for you to step up as a leader, take a step back. You can watch and analyse the person who took up the the position. If they are doing a great job, you will have taken the right decision. If they start making mistakes and be criticised, you can step up and take their place as a leader. This can have two outcomes. Either you are worse than the previous leader, then you will have an even worse reputation than him. Contrarily, you could do a better job than him, which has a high probability if your predecessor was really bad, and your reputation will be even better than it would have been without a bad predecessor.
In conclusion, an appropriate knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses is important in your decision to be leader or a follower. Being a leader or a follower is not a permanent state. In a hierarchical structure you will probably simultaneously be a leader to some and a follower to others. Choosing the right role to play in a specific situation is evidence of deep self-knowledge and self-awareness.
It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.Nelson Mandela