According to author and speaker John Maxwell, over 90% of leadership occurs, not from the top, but from the middle of the organization. What kind of leader are you?
In his book Leading Change, John Kotter tells a story about three groups in a park at lunchtime with a rainstorm threatening.
In the first group, someone says: “Get up and follow me”. When he starts walking and only a few others join in, he yells to those still seated: “Up, I said, and NOW!”
In the second group, someone says: “We’re going to have to move. Here’s the plan. Each of us stands up and marches in the direction of the apple tree. Please stay at least two feet away from other group members and do not run. Do not leave any personal belongings on the ground here and be sure to stop at the base of the tree. When we are all there…”
In the third group, someone tells the others: “it’s going to rain in a few minutes. Why don’t we go over there and sit under that huge apple tree. We’ll stay dry, and we can have fresh apples for lunch.”
The three approaches are similar to the different leadership styles we often see. The first approach is extremely authoritarian, the second a great example of micromanagement, and the third a visionary who is painting a picture of the future.
While each style of leadership certainly has its time and place, I think it’s safe to assume that the third approach is the most preferable. Having a clear vision and rallying people around it is one of the most important aspects of leadership.
Think about your personal and professional life. When it comes to leadership, are you the kind of person you would want to follow?