The personal development community is filled with discussions of leadership and its various facets. Those of us within that community, for example, have been taught the difference between leadership and management exemplified in Stephen Covey‘s metaphor of cutting through a jungle. The manager keeps the machetes sharp while the leader climbs the tallest tree and shouts back down, “We’re in the wrong jungle!”
There are certainly times in all our lives when we have to step up and play a leadership role, so it is good to know how to be a leader. But most development activities seem built upon the premise that everyone wants to be, and in fact everyone should be, leaders. All the time.
I’m not sure I agree with that.
It’s almost like saying that everyone wants to be, and should be, extroverts. As an over-the-top, Grade A introvert I know I disagree with that.
Will Rogers said that we can’t all be heroes because someone has to sit on the curb and applaud as they go by. Similarly, we can’t all be leaders: someone has to follow. Otherwise we have a chaotic mob with everyone shouting and running in different directions. A bit like cable news.
Following is a role I feel comfortable with, assuming there is good leadership to follow, of course. The key is that we all work together, in appropriate roles, to achieve our common goals.