“About face!” is a marching term that tells marchers to take a 180 turn. As leaders we can get too caught up in rushing forward to reach our goals and conquering the next challenge that we forget to take time to turn around and see who is following us.
Or if anyone is following us. Some people call themselves leaders but no one is following them, unless it’s a sycophant or two. And as someone once said“If no one is following you, you’re not a leader.”
So take time today and see who is following you. Even if you don’t think you are a leader, you may be surprised to see who is following in your footsteps. It might be your children, a young sibling, collegues, friends, fans. It may be your son who stands with one hand in his pocket just like you, or a friend who wears the same clothes you do, or a collegue who asked for and follows your advise or opinions, or a sibling whose life seems to be a replica of yours.
Followers will choose all or part of your example to follow, but you don’t have much control over which parts they will be. For example, I cross my arms when I am tired, comfortable or bored but very rarely when I am defensive (usual body language meaning). Why do I do this? Because my Dad has a shoulder injury, which when it plays up it helps him to have his arms crossed. So growing up when I saw my Dad (mostly at home when he was comfortable or tired) he’d have his arms crossed and I followed his example.
When you have take stock of who you think your followers may be, take time to:
- Think about the example you are setting and if you would be proud for them to do things just like you (good and bad).
- See where you can help, teach, challenge, inspire them to be all they can be or create opportunities for them to move to the next level (you know, the ones you wish someone had give you when you were where they are now).
- Feel the responsiblity of leadership and let it motivate you to be a better person, which will in turn make you a better leader.
What are some of the things you have learnt from the leaders you have followed?
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