The following Instagram Post led to extensive discussions which incited me to quote it here and give some further food for thought.
“The moment I realized I had a follower was the moment I realized that I had done something wrong.
I was 25, had nearly finished my studies, travelled some parts of the world and had just opened my first business. And she was a handsome lady in her 40ies. To my astonishment she booked new Coaching sessions after we agreed upon having reached our goal.
Fact is, she was not coming because of HERSELF, but because of me! It was a terrible finding. I had never followed anyone myself – yes, being inspired by some, having learned from all – but following?? All I had wanted was to make her see herself.
And I had failed.
And then I learned.
And I guess she became my last follower.
Because true teaching creates no new followers but new teachers – hopefully even better ones.
And true leadership shall not create new followers but new leaders – hopefully even better ones.”
Now people were asking me:
“But isn’t that totally contradictory to what you are teaching? You accompany people in developing their leadership skills and now you tell us that one actually should not follow anybody? But without followers there are no leaders!”
Well, that’s wrong. The question: WHO TO FOLLOW? can only have one answer: NOBODY. And here is why:
If somebody who takes the lead in a project – whatever size and importance it has – and if that person is even so charismatic that people change their point of views and open up to new ways of thinking of and looking at things – should the people we call “followers” follow the PERSON or should they follow a new road that has opened up before them THANKS to that person?
Should those people we call “followers” follow the PERSON or should they buy into the CONCEPTS, the VALUES, the IDEAS, the HOPE that are carried by the person?
And should those people we call “followers” mimic the personality of the so-called “leader” or should they rather be empowered to fully open up their own reservoir of ideas, of knowledge, of wisdom, of points of views, of … in order to make the joint project and real joint success?
Isn’t the task of real leadership to EMPOWER people to give their individual best? To MAKE THEM SEE the wealth that lies covered up in themselves, but needs to come forward in order to reach the joint goal?
And of what use could leadership be if people follow the person instead of the ideas, concepts and values? If they do so, it is not leadership that you get but worship.
The times of workship shall be over.
And every leader who respects the people he/she is working with, needs to have a clear mind about that and a candid heart. Yes. A candid heart.
Because only if we let people rise to their own greatness, we will be able to grow – be it companies or societies doesn’t matter.
This post is also available in: German