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He(Neville) had not once mentioned his meeting with Harry, Ron and Hermione on the closed ward in St Mungo's and, taking their lead from him, they had kept quiet about it too.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

I'm confused about the phrase "taking their lead from him". What would be the difference from "following his lead"? How should we understand it?

1

The context seems to be:

"They noticed what he did, and did the same."

(Neville may or may not have intended to inspire them to do the same, but they did).

Rather than:

"He led the project, and they followed his directions."

(Neville was ahead and providing guidance for the group, and so they followed).

...I'm not familiar with this particular event in the book series, but I hope this helps.

2

You are correct in thinking it means “following his lead”. There is no real difference.

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