How to Get the Best Vantage Point in Leadership.
“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” —Benjamin Disraeli
In some cases taking control of a situation is the worst thing you can do. There are times to blaze ahead on your white steed, armor and sword shining from the polished metal as the cavalry follows you. However, there’s a lot to be said about leading from inside or behind your team. Leadership is situational and reading the situation in these changing times is everything. Can you really take in the full picture while you charge ahead front and center? When you lead by following you give yourself the best vantage point of all, you are in the back, on the mountain top, and can see everything that’s happening. If done right you can even anticipate everyone’s moves.
So what are the advantages of leading from the behind the crowd?
• Better vantage point: You can see the layout of all the pieces like a chess board. You have more time to think things out and everything becomes clearer. You can think many moves ahead.
• You are not caught in the fray: By putting some distance between yourself and the crowd you can be objective. You are then prepared to settle disputes and keep everyone focused.
• You empower others: People need to be and feel self-sufficient. By standing back it lets them get take ownership of their actions.
• Less struggle: In situations where others have equal or more formal power it’s sometimes best to take a step back. Struggling for power is not productive.
Leadership types and strategies are situational. The following are examples of times when leadership through following works.
• When others have more formalized authority than you. By aggressively taking charge of the situation you risk a blowout. You can instead look a few steps ahead and empower the formal leader.
• When you know that there needs to be someone with a objective opinion.
• When others have expertise in a specialized field.
• When you are training or coaching others allow them to figure out the answers for themselves.
Great leadership is about doing things in the most positive way possible while still being efficient and effective. We have to remember that to be an inspiring leader we have to set aside our ego. When we do so, we can be objective and see situations clearly. There’s a time for everything. Sometimes a person needs a kick in the pants and at other times we need to take a back seat and let others lead. Doing the right thing in the right situation is what great leaders do.