I was listening to a podcast over the weekend and Seth Godin was the guest. He purported that being a leader is a volunteer job and so is following. If you are a leader in ANY way, even in your family, you might want to pay attention to Seth’s cogitation.
Being a leader is a power role, whether you’re a parent or a CEO. And somehow we think that with that power comes submissive and compliant followers, but that is rarely true. We want it to be true—it would certainly make our leadership role easier—but sadly, it’s not true. I envision it like walking a handful of dogs; it’s a great walk until one of the dogs stops to smell something or sees a squirrel or another dog. The peaceful walk just got wildly unpleasant; neither the dog nor the walker are happy and now a tug of war with the leash usually begins.
Following is a voluntary gig. Yes, the leader has the power to reprimand, etc., but is focusing on the power how we become a great leader or does that breed resistence? How would things change for us as leaders if we viewed our team as volunteers? Nobody wakes up and says, “I’d love to be strong-armed today.” If we always see our team as volunteers, we will wield our power quite differently and arguably more effectively. What keeps a volunteer coming back for more? It’s certainly not the pay. How could we keep a volunteer happy and fully engaged? That’s worth chewing on because that will change how we lead.
“Use power wisely. If you search your heart, I think you will.” ~ Unknown