Friday, March 31, 2006
How to Be a Better Leader
If you want to be a good leader, start by being a good follower!
Sometimes, people want to lead before they learn how to follow. Non-followers make terrible leaders. They are self-absorbed and don't deal very well with people in general.
Occasionally, folks will come to me and offer their services in a leadership capacity. My usual response is "you can start your leadership journey by jumping in and helping others. The best leaders know how to follow well."
Sometimes, they walk away with a sniff. "I'm happy to be up front leading, but how dare you ask me to serve behind the scenes? Aren't you aware of my tremendous gifts and abilities?"
Yes -- and I am also aware of an over-inflated ego.
Samuel Brengle graduated from college and signed up as an officer in the Salvation Army. He was excited about his new role and looked forward to providing visionary leadership for the cause.
He was dismayed when on his first day at work, the very fist assignment was to polish a room full of boots -- filthy, worn, ugly scruffed up boots!
"I can't believe they're doing this to me!" he grumbled, "Don't they know that I'm here to lead? I am an officer for heaven's sake! I've just graduated with honors! Why on earth would they give me such a crummy task? I didn't apply to be a servant!"
Then, the truth dawned on him. In order to lead, he had to be a good follower. There is no job too small for a great leader. If you think a job is "beneath" you, that shows you aren't ready yet. You are beneath the job.
The best leaders are servants. From underneath, they lift up those around them and possess a "whatever it takes" attitude.
Getting along with others is a golden rule of leadership.
Do you want to become a better leader? Start serving!