Become an ‘unleader’ to leadcomment (0)
June 21, 2012
By Jean Roberson
I was reading “Upside-Down Leadership” by Taylor Field recently. His book is about leadership and those leadership principles that on the surface appear to oppose common sense. He made an interesting statement. He said that in order to be a good leader, a person has to become an “unleader.”
He then goes on to talk about ways in which we can become “unleaders.”
One of his statements is that in order to be a good leader, we must know how to be good followers.
I must confess, I don’t know that I am a good follower. I am one of those people who frequently expresses her opinion and wants to be in the thick of solving problems. I am that way at work and at home.
Still, it is an interesting thought. What would happen if I did not always jump into the middle of things?
Perhaps someone else would have the opportunity to voice his or her opinion on a matter. Perhaps a better solution than one I would suggest would be discovered and implemented. Perhaps I would have the opportunity to be supportive of others instead of them being supportive of me.
Perhaps I would learn the value of listening before speaking.
A friend of mine once said the best piece of advice she ever received was to find ways to be part of a group where everyone knew more than she did. Learn to bow to the expertise and leadership of others.
It is an interesting paradox, isn’t it? Leading and following. It sounds so familiar … much like when Jesus shows us the best way to lead — whether serving or being a strong witness — is to first be a strong follower of Him.
So maybe in order to improve myself, I need to learn to stand aside and follow. Maybe to be a better mother, I need to let my children lead in some areas such as choosing their activities and handling their conflicts. Maybe to be a better member of a faith community, I need to do the job no one else wants to do and serve, but not lead. Maybe to be a better supervisor, I need to trust in the abilities and ideas of the people with whom I work.
Maybe I would be reminded that I am part of a body of believers. Maybe I would be a better person.
Maybe in order to be a better leader, I need to find ways in which to follow.
A Takeaway Value …
Let us be quick to listen and slow to speak.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Jean Roberson, MSW, LCSW, is a ministry consultant for national Woman’s Missionary Union. She serves as team leader for the adult team and director of Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps and International Initiatives.