Monday, April 1, 2013

Good Leaders Are Good Followers

Image courtesy of Dan Colcer

A young woman was filling out an application for college when she came across the question: Are you a leader? She thought she had better be brutally honest, so she answered, "No." She was convinced when she sent the application in that she'd never hear from them because of that answer.

But she received a letter back from the school that read: "We have reviewed numerous applications and, to date, there will be some 1,452 new leaders attending school next year. We have decided to accept your application because we felt it was imperative that they have at least one follower."

Should all of us be leaders all of the time? Isn’t there a time to follow as well as lead?

One man likes to tell about the day he purchased a novelty sign and hung it on his office door. The sign read: "I'm the boss." The next day he came to work he noticed that the office comedian affixed a sticky note to his door that read, "Your wife called. She wants her sign back."

He may be the boss at work, but home is different altogether. In marriage and family as well as most social relationships, sometimes we lead and sometimes we follow the lead of another. If the so-called boss happens to be an effective leader at work, he has probably learned that getting his own way all of the time does not produce good results. As it turns out, the best leaders are also excellent followers. Why?

1. Good leaders share leadership. They know when to follow and when to lead.

2. Good leaders build their skills on following role models for the behaviors they want to learn. What they admire in another, they copy.

3. Good leaders exhibit humility. They remain open to suggestion. When they need it, they ask for help and follow good advice.

In other words, good leaders are also good followers. They know when to follow in the footsteps of others and when to leave tracks of their own.

You may be the boss, but you will be a leader when you also learn how to follow.

-- Steve Goodier

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