Leader or Follower?

Dare to be different!

Is there another alternative to being a leader or a follower? Can I be both or neither?

I am the youngest of five children and I familiar with being told what to do! Most times I find it easy to follow others – provided there is someone showing the way.

When I am with people who seemingly have no direction, I am happy to take the lead and get things rolling along. Even then, I am happy to hand over to others from that point onwards.

There is the option of consensus decision-making and this is my preferred way of operating. I learnt about this way through the Indigenous people I worked with in Northern Australia. Information and options are presented and then people go away and think about it and later come back together to talk about a way forward and try to resolve any opposition. This process cannot be rushed and once a decision is made, it has the support of the people.

I applied this method in a project I worked in a few years ago. It went against the grain of many of my colleagues. They said that I needed to show leadership by making the decisions, however I really did value their input into the process. The project was successful and I shared the success as a team effort.

I think our adversarial way of doing things has a lot to answer for.

I believe that poor leadership can be ego driven, such as – “I am in charge and I know what is best!” I am not afraid to approach such people and put my ideas forward, if I believe there is some chance of them being receptive. I am also happy to let people think that my ideas are THEIR ideas, if it leads to a good outcome.

What pleases me most is when I can sew a seed of an idea with someone and then see it grow. I don’t mind if they even forget where the idea came from. I know that I have played a part and most times, that is enough reward.