Coach Shari: Follow the Leader
I was driving down a street the other day when I came across a large group of geese. They were all congregating on the side of the road, grazing in the grass. All of a sudden, one of the geese pulled away from the crowd and began to walk toward the road. Quickly, each one systematically fell in line and followed the leader. The group made their way slowly across the street disregarding any possible risk or danger. They intensely focused on their only job: to follow the goose in front of them.
I’m unsure how the geese collectively decided on their fearless leader that day. To be honest, he certainly wasn’t making smart decisions in leadership. Now that I think about it, how did that goose in front decide to BE the leader? I do know this; geese that come from families tend to show dominance over ones that are single or alone. Apparently, the leader was a family man.
Mr. Goose had ultimate power over the other geese that day. They instinctively just followed in his footsteps, never even hesitating to take the next step right across the busy street. This experience reminded me of people that I have come across in my own life.
I worked for a boss once that had this kind of hold on many of his employees. He was a leader all right, a very powerful one that was capable of getting people to follow along without much hesitation. It truly was quite remarkable. I found it astounding how people would follow without any hesitation. They agreed with everything, not because they feared any recourse, but that they were just so enamored with his power, charisma and leadership that they didn’t even think anymore. They no longer had the ability to see the truth, much like the old tale of “The Emperors New Clothes”.
This happens in many different circles in your life. It can happen in companies, in government, even in your friendship circles and your family. An individual becomes such a strong leader and powerhouse that the people surrounding him or her, no longer question anything said or done. They just follow along and assume that if the leader thinks it’s a great idea, then it must be a great idea.
I was in a meeting the other day, when a young woman questioned something that I had said. For a few seconds, I was a thrown by the fact that she was questioning me. However, when I gave it a few seconds more thought, I realized that she was right. What she was saying made sense, and she did it in such an appropriate way, that I was impressed. Everyone in the group looked at me to see my reaction. I congratulated her on calling me on this bit of information.
The question to ask yourself is the following: are you a leader or a follower? Are you the goose out front leading the gaggle of geese or are you the goose last in line, falling in step mindlessly, without a thought of your own? Be true to you and follow your own values and ethics.
This is your path to success.