Why We Follow Those Who Lead

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Land of the Pelicans

Where I live, there are literally thousands upon thousands of pelicans that fly, dive, commute, eat, nest, and live.  They are an interesting bird in that their size is significantly larger than the average bird (up to a ten-foot wingspan) and they can be seen flying either in formation with several other pelicans or completely solo, on their own.  There is a definite leader whenever they fly in formation and I have heard, though never witnessed, that the leader will drop back behind the rest of the flock after so long and let another bird take the lead, while he rests.

why we follow those who lead
Often the scene I witness on the way to work…

Leaders that Lead

We follow leaders that know where they are taking us.  We follow leaders who do not exhibit fear and boldly go wherever it is they are going.  When we really follow, truly follow, we listen intently to new ideas or even old values.  We implement suggested change.  We are eager to learn and share, if we believe.

Leading as it happens

I witness this often in my own native working environment.  When the CEO walks through the office and makes suggestions, employees within hearing distance stop their tap-tap-tapping on keyboards.  They sit back and quit looking at their screens. They are eager to understand the path or implications of the path.  Leadership is an interesting phenomenon and we each have opportunity to participate – either as leaders or as followers; without followers, there is no reason for leaders.

Opportunities to Lead

Whether you run a two- or three-person organization, a 100-person business, or a 1000-person company or even as a parent – mother or father, there is opportunity to lead, direct, manage, or control.  Changing outcomes or figuring out a better way to do business is reason enough to take leadership (could be your own) seriously.

What We Wait For

I believe there are unattractive/uncomfortable but necessary changes on the horizon awaiting genuine leadership.

Why?  Because those who would typically be classified as followers are changing.  There has been talk of an entitled workforce, but even more so is that workers, employees, are writing the rules.  They are changing the way we work.  Flexible hours, virtual employment, smoking breaks for non-smokers… The scrappiness that has emerged during the recession has created a demanding workforce, one that breaks the rules of tradition and one that makes new ones that fit their needs or even decides if no rules are needed.

New Brand of Leadership…

And because a new workforce is appearing, so must a new brand of leadership.  Will you be ready?


by Rayanne Thorn


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