There are many ways to build a team, but all of them start with leadership. LinkedIn, the social media platform for business, is full of leadership advice. A recent post described the unique way in which wolves travel in packs. The old and infirm are stationed in front to set the pace for the rest as the alpha dog leads from behind, keeping an eye on each individual while also maintaining the overall vision for the pack as a whole. In this way, they travel as a collaborative cohesive unit working toward a common goal while still accommodating each individual’s strengths…as well as their weaknesses.
Moving beyond the group as a whole and focusing in on the leader, another recent LinkedIn post compared the differences between the traits that define someone as just a boss with those that determine a true leader. The comparisons were enlightening-a boss inspires fear, while a leader generates enthusiasm; a boss places blame for a breakdown, while a leader fixes the breakdown; a boss takes credit, a leader gives credit; commands vs. asks; uses people vs. develops people; knows how it’s done vs. shows how it’s done; drives employees vs. coaches employees.
A boss says “go” as opposed to a leader who says “let’s go!” In this way participating with the group as it works in unison toward the same goal.
No matter our place in life, we all find ourselves in positions of authority as well as in the role of follower. When taking on the responsibility of a group of people, be a leader, not a boss. When you assume the role of follower, it’s always best to align yourself with a true leader. Whether uniquely leading from behind or more traditionally positioned at the helm, leaders must be assessed.
This is especially true given the example another LinkedIn post presented about leading from behind. It told the story of tourists visiting the Middle East. “In the East, the shepherd leads the way, going on before the flock,” their guide explained. “The sheep follow because they know his voice and trust him.”
When they saw a flock of sheep being driven along by a man walking behind them, one of the tourists asked, “Why are you walking behind the sheep? We were told that the Eastern shepherd leads his sheep.”
The man said, “You are right. The shepherd does lead his sheep. But I’m not the shepherd, I’m the butcher.”
There are many ways to build a team, but all of them start with leadership. Select yours wisely.
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