Whose Lead Do You Follow?

While I am starting into leadership I need to broach the subject of follower-ship. This is in the context of when someone provides a lead for you, whose lead do you take or are you willing to take? And this is not in the context of following in the sense of electronic media. It is related to influences though subtly different. We might have an exemplar which we seek to emulate and in extreme cases become a clone of, a mini-me of that person. A powerful person might make us their protégé and we then copy their doings, attitude and behaviour. There are a lot of people who style themselves on a pop “icon” or media personality. We even have idiots trying to be Ken or Barbie. I have met people who mimic the accent and speech patterns of others.

“Too many cooks spoil the broth”, is a situation of modern endeavour, in that follower-ship and support becomes rarer. This is because everyone wants to have their input on what stock to use, how much celery, green lentils or red, salt and pepper; if you get my drift. Therefore follower-ship is not well developed, which means that leadership is not enabled. And so, we bemoan poor leadership. There is a saying “you cannot herd cats” which is also applicable. Thus, we have people unwilling to follow a lead on one hand and blind emulation of an example on the other. This hero-worship cloning is often unthinking and although flattering it is not very good for the person who is cloning themselves out of the make-up of others.

People may not be fully conscious following a lead, they may do so just because it is a path of least resistance. They may follow a lead to keep their own head well below the parapet. Or maybe they are a little sycophantic and seek to curry favour in such a manner. They may follow a lead out of fear of reprisal or they may be inspired. At one time or another we all follow something or someone to a greater or lesser extent.

If you want to understand leadership, it is useful to examine your own follower-ship.

Having cued this up:

Whose lead do I take?

Whose lead will I never take?

For whom am I something of a mini-me?

If someone is cooking soup, how hard is it for me not to give recipe advice?

Am I the master of my own destiny?