Becoming Our Best

LEAD, FOLLOW OR ..........

There's an old saying that goes, "Lead, follow or get out of the way". It has to do with the multi-faceted roles of a leader and the flexibility to know which role is appropriate for the moment. Many of us get stuck in "leader" or "follower" roles and expect we will always be in one or the other. Not so.

The foundation of a strong leader is the ability to follow someone else, and do it without complaint or grumbling. And who would really know how to lead a group unless following was done and done well? At the same time, we should try to be aware of the goals for our group and offer assistance to the leader in areas where things are not clear.

Contrary to popular belief, the best leader is not at the top of the pyramid, with more and more people below, following orders. I see the pyramid as upside down, with the leader on the bottom. This model of "servant leadership" has the leader as one whose job is to move obstacles out of the way so that those being led can do their jobs with excellence.

And occasionally, we can best serve the team by just "getting out of the way". Some groups develop a remarkable collaborative leadership style which has the leader's role moving back and forth between people, based on ability to do the task at hand. Knowing when to step aside makes this model work well.

I have researched the subject widely and experienced leadership from the top and from the bottom. From these perspectives, here are some thoughts:

* Be loyal to those above and below you

* Take care of your team's needs

* Keep your team informed

* Set an example of excellence in your work

* Be a person of integrity at all times

The best leaders try always to "walk their talk" and act in ways that conform to what they ask of their teams. Look at yourself in the mirror each morning and ask yourself, "How can I be the best kind of leader and follower in my work?" Then begin the process of growth, knowing that there will always be a shortage of great leaders.

Author: Bruce Johnsen Management Consultant:
824 Munras Ave Suite G
Monterey, CA 93940

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