Leadership and the flock
An individual with whom I worked once asked if I knew why the lead goose in a flock was the leader. This individual had a ready wit, and this question could be assumed to have a funny or pun ending. Rather than make a lot of guesses that would probably be in error, I said, “I don’t know.” He answered, “because the other geese are following!” At first, that seemed like a typical groaner. However, as I thought about it, I began to understand the significant wisdom in that statement. Leadership is more than a spot in the formation, or a title or slot on an organization chart. True leadership is identified by followership. A human leader, just like the lead goose, breaks the ground in front and makes it easier for the rest of the flock. Human leaders also set the pace and the direction.
A Quick Check
If you are titled as a leader and find the group straying and determining to push off without you, or if they are following because they have to, it is time for a careful check. Sorry to break the news, but if they are not following willingly, you are not leading.
This May Mean You
It is critically important you realize that this discussion is not just about CEOs, directors, managers, or what have you. Remember, even ducks have leaders. You may be a line worker, a laborer in the field, the mother in the home, a teacher, or the president of Ford Motor. Regardless of your title or position, there may be several ducks following you (even little ducks, mom). How are you helping your "flock?"
[Additional reading: The Wrong Bottom Line. . . Still]