Here is the reality . . . growth actually comes through our experience of being both a leader and a follower. It’s like the two sides of a coin. We readily think of mentoring others for leadership, but why can’t we also model how to be a good follower?
Last year, while traveling abroad, I came across an olive-wood carving that I bought for my son, who is now in PT school. When I gave him the carving, I shared that this was to be a reminder of what kind of character we should have as a leader. It was a carving of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet, which acts as an example of the highest ranking member of a group submitting himself to the service of others. It’s also a reminder that nothing divides a group more than an entrance of someone who is self-serving.
When it comes to success as an organization, following well can balance out our leading ability by helping us transition from self-serving patterns of living to actions that promote unity by having an attitude of servant-hood. There’s a time and need for collaborative opinion sharing as we work together as a team to refine a strategy. However, once a decision has been made and a direction has been determined, we must then be able to have clarity of our vision, find a way to unite together, and be aligned to accomplish our mission together.
Following well eventually helps us to lead well.
Following well requires their leader to understand the need for 3 things:
- Need of Clarity for our mission at hand, a vision for where we will go and the values that will enable us to get there.
- Need to demonstrate Principled livingthat provides for consistency and non-partiality and follows the guidelines of dependable behavior.
- Need to have Love for people that enables us to value people, serve others, and raise them up.
These 3 things are important because when companies fail in these areas, people tend to lose the desire to follow.
In the next several months, our company be undergoing an initiative to renew our mission, vision, and values. We need leaders who can not only help bring clarity to these areas but also those who can model “followership” for others that will shape our culture for years to come. This will establish a crucial foundation as we move on to the next chapter in the history as an organization.
So here’s what I want you to remember:
- All members of a team and all teams in an organization must be aligned in order to accomplish their mission.
- Leading and following are two sides of a coin. “Leading is following and following is leading, so be consistent whether we are leading or following because there’s purpose in both.”
- And as always, be encouraged!
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