Thought Thursday: “To Lead the People You Must Walk Behind Them”
There is this famous quote from Lao Tsu- the philosopher/author of the Tao Te Ching-To lead the people you must walk behind them.
This simple quote is a powerful reminder that there are no leaders without followers. Before we take on more responsibility we need to see if we can empower others around us with information, education, resources and tools as well as authentic recognition and support. Leaders who seek the limelight and make themselves the hero may save the day in the short run but fail to create long-term organizational sustainability.
The leaders role is to create a sustainable, humming organization by passing on the leadership torch to others. However, learning a process that works for you as a leader and empowers their followers can be a difficult task. So try this- every time you are tempted to say by the time I explain it, I can do it myself, or take credit when the credit can be distributed around you stop and say, is there someone else who could and should be doing this work? Are there others who I can credit for the good work going on in this organization? Try to discover new opportunities to accomplish the groups mission through others and illustrate a path for members to reach that goal. Provide encouragement, offer reassurance and be supportive to empower and enable others to want to take responsibilities. Finally, as a role of leader, remember to provide members with the necessary resources and information to complete tasks and goals.
Learning how to stand behind followers benefits not only the leader by increasing commitment but also followers through an increase of motivation, and above all the organization creating a stronger sense of community and group development.
Concentric’s offers strategic planning, leadership coaching, team development and meeting and retreat facilitation to help prepare leaders and organizations to work in partnership and implement best practice in decision-making. For additional questions call us at 610-696-3950 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.