“Followership has recently been studied as a key to understanding leadership. To follow, people must feel confidence in the direction in which the leader is headed. They are enabled and empowered to do their part in accomplishing the stated objectives.” Susan M. Heathfield
I appreciate and value following a great leader. It’s refreshing, rejuvenating and rewarding. Further, the process is both educational and healthy, and I welcome opportunities to step aside, listen, learn, and follow directions. As a leader, don’t be reluctant to follow. Instead, embrace the experience as an occasion to sharpen your own skills.
Recently, I was asked to co-produce and write a video package with another producer for a current freelance gig. Before we started the project, I made a concerted effort to let him lead. He’s seasoned, talented, experienced, and extremely creative. Plus, he has been working on the project for many months. I allowed him to cast the vision, conceptualize the graphics and formulate the outcome. Meanwhile, I focused my energy on executing his expectations. As a result, the piece was well- produced, well-crafted and much more successful than if I were giving the orders.
Quite frankly, this particular producer is a gracious and humble leader and a person of character and integrity. I’m a much more effective follower when I work with a notable leader – one whom fits Vince Lombardi’s description:
“Leadership rests not only upon ability, not only upon capacity; having the capacity to lead is not enough. The leader must be willing to use it. His leadership is then based on truth and character. There must be truth in the purpose and will power in the character.”
As a student, I gain such a tremendous perspective and respect for the teacher. And, honestly, it’s a nice break. Next time, seize an opportunity to step aside, take direction well and embrace moments to follow the leader!