Follow a Leader or Lead a following… just move

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Photo Courtesy: This flickr Stream

While reading Ross Hudgins’s blog today, I came across this statement….

“Leaders should understand the power of team, and the weakness of individualism. Communicating individualism divides team, and is a bad choice for any grammatical situation that would be better fit for “we.”

I’ve been struck recently by the difficulty of leading and having to really stick your neck out and stand for something, accept conflict at times and plow through things that aren’t often enjoyable at the moment.  I think we either yearn to follow effective leaders or to be effective leaders ourselves.  For those of us who see problems in the world at large, we want to lead some kind of effective change that has lasting impression in the minds and hearts of those who have followed us.  I believe there are four pitfalls that most leaders face.

  1. They really want people to like them and they choose to avoid conflict.  This just is not possible.  You will undoubtedly always make someone unhappy.  Trying to please each and every person will get you nowhere as a leader.
  2. They allow criticism or praise to affect them strongly.  Some people want to gripe and when you are trying to do what you can, a complainer instead of an active participant is more of a dead weight as a leader.  But on the flip side, basking in your previous accomplishments will only cause you to ferment in yourself after so long until you get the label stamped on you of “washed up.”  You should never be this- you should always be swimming onto bigger and better things.
  3. They get so focused on a goal that they forget the purpose of the goal in the first place, and when a new strategy is needed, they cannot adjust.  Leaders must remember that flexibility is highly important throughout the process.  You will have a goal in mind, but it will change and develop over time.  A leader must remember to not forget some aspects of a project will come easily and others will need work.  But you must always remember to step back and assess whether the original big picture problem or issue is being addressed.
  4. Poor communication skills.  If you want people to understand your perspective or your vision, you will have a hard time converting them if you can’t properly communicate it.  It may take work at times, but listening to others’ views and trying to really see what they are seeing is imperative for a successful leader.  You can not lead people you know very little about.  People want to be accepted and understood. If they feel this need is being met, they will align themselves with a group of people.
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