Follower

calmwoodbadgeIts never late to learn, you are never to old to figure things out… you don’t know it all.
You know what famous person this quote is from?  Yeah..me neither.. I just wrote it, but I am sure that there are lots of great leaders out there that share my sentiment when I say there are times when you have to remember to practice what you preach.
I tell our Scouts that to be an effective leader you must first learn and develop the ability to be a good follower.
Yep, you need to follow before you can be a good leader.  It is a simple statement, but very true.  You are never in a position where you are not accountable.  As a Dad your kids count on you, you are accountable to them.  Your spouse counts on you and holds you in account.  Your boss, your community, they all count on you and therefore you are accountable to them.  You need to be able to follow their needs.  You must be able to be a part of the team that makes a contribution to moving them toward high performance.  You will not always be in a place where you are out front, making decisions, and getting things done.  Sometimes your place is subordinate and that of a member of the team.  Your role is an important one.  That of a follower, a good team player, available to give input and take direction.  As a follower you know the vision and direction of the leader, you know what it takes to move the team forward.
We used to hear the term “Lots of Chiefs, not enough Indians”.  While some may think that we could find a better way to put it, the message is clear.  We need members of the team as much as we need effective leaders.  At times there can be too many voices that confuse, contradict, and undermine the message.  We teach in Wood Badge and in our Troops what effective communication is and those skills to be better communicators.  Again, it is important not to lose focus on practicing what we preach.  There are senders and receivers.  But the most important part is the message.  When building a high performance team the message is greater than the other parts.  It is the leaders job to communicate effectively and it is the receiver or followers job to listen.
Today at our Wood Badge Staff Development I had to step back and remember that I am a follower on this course.  There have been clear directions and vision given.  I am a member of a team that is well on its way to being one working at a high performance level.  The unique part of a Wood Badge Staff is that we are all good Scouters, we are all motivated, we are all leaders.  It is in that environment that takes the most attention and awareness that we need to follow.
I had a personal bout of storming today.  I quickly realized that to get to performing, I need to be a better follower.
Hmmm… you can teach a on old beaver new tricks.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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