Within the past couple of weeks a tread was going about Leadership and
Followers on one of these lists. I wasn't mentally ready to make use of
the concept at the time, but it must have planted a seed in the back of my
Presently I am struggling with the concept of 'Proactive Leadership' among
some of my clients, and yesterday in my Taekwondo class something happened
that made the idea of Leaders as Followers hit me like a ton of bricks:
I was presenting a form (a set of movements made up of kicks, blocks and
punches) in front of the class, and once I was done, the teacher came up
to me, and in his very respectful manner, pointed out some of the 'flaws'
and possible improvements in my form:
My foot position was off here,
My shoulders were tense there,
And I wiggle my butt during some of my punches.
Standing at attention, I listened to the criticism, and briefly I noticed
that even after all these years of taking Taekwondo, my mind still wanted
to argue and defend me against being told I was 'wrong'. It wanted me to
speak up and say things like:
Yes, I know, or
Yes, I have been working on that, or
Yes, but I thought..., or
Yes, but I was told...
I mentally smiled to myself, and asked my mind to shut up, and once my
teacher was done, I bowed to him and confidently and loudly said: 'Thank
you, Sir!!', and sat down.
What had struck me was that the problem with poor Leadership isn't just
with our leadership abilities. It also has to do with a lack of Follower
abilities. In a culture that promotes individuality, so many of us refuse
to lend our support, attention, and cooperation to people whose ideas we
don't agree with 100%. I strongly feel that this is partly due to
insecurity and the isolation so many of us find ourselves in. We don't
seem to realize how shortsighted, narrow-minded and limiting it is to be
relying so heavily on ourselves and our 'infinite wisdom'.
Instead of nursing and protecting our own knowledge and answers to
everything, I am sure we could benefit from exploring new points of view,
and cooperating with others looking for new questions and insights.
And where does it all start? I think it starts with awareness of who we
are and how we interact with the world.
Trond Sjovoll TS Leadership Consulting TrondS@msn.com
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>