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June 28, 2022

How to Lead Almost Anyone

How to Lead Almost Anyone

Each of us takes turns being a leader and a follower. 

Being a leader and being a follower are merely different perspectives of the same experience: leadership.  Each are equally important to leadership. 

 

How to Lead and Follow

Telling a follower what to do is not leading.  Helping a follower be successful is leading.

Secretly continuing to do what you want, instead of adopting a leader’s ideas, is not following.  Explaining your ideas to a leader, and adopting theirs if they don’t concur, is following.

 

The Leadership Paradox

The paradox for leaders is that we’re often frustrated by how often we’re telling people what to do. 

And the followers’ paradox is that we’re often being told what to do instead of being lead.

When a leader tells me what to do, I often say, “I’m not supported.”  Which is another way of saying, “My leader won’t lead me.” 

After all, as we’ve often heard, a true leader doesn’t make you feel they are important, they make you feel you’re important.

When a follower makes me tell them what to do, I often say, “The person won’t listen to me.”  Which is another way of saying, “I do not support this person’s ideas.” 

After all, as we’ve often heard, one of a leader’s most important tasks is making sure the right people are “on the bus” and “in the right seats.”

 

Lead by Following; Follow by Leading

The best leaders spend time following and the best followers spend time leading.  We enter this dynamic when we start expressing to learn and listening to learn (rather than to be “right” or to assign blame).

As a leader, empowering followers whose vision jibes with your mission is not only the best way to enable achievement, but also best provide opportunities for fulfilling leadership.

As a follower, adopting your leader’s vision (when your leader has heard your vision but doesn’t empower it) is not only the best way to show that you understand your role, but also best provide opportunities for that role to be fulfilling.

 

Lead and Follow, Simultaneously

Now you are equipped to provide the greatest potential for a great leadership outcome.  No matter which side of the leadership perspective you're on at the moment.