Provocative question, right? For over a year at Milestone, we have been asking this question in groups of leaders. The response is always interesting but mostly the same…silence.
I mean, come on, who wants to be the first to raise your hand, appearing to lack any humility, and proclaim, “Everyone wants to follow me!” Well, maybe a select few would. Conversely, those who may have honest humility are possibly thinking, “I am not even sure I would follow myself.”
Regardless of the answer, the question is still an important one to us at Milestone and is at the core of what we do. It is worthy of consideration and reflection.
With all our volumes of great books on leadership and lists of 5 things, or 7 habits, or 3 values that make a great leader, one would think there is a perfect combo that makes someone worth following, but truthfully, if you have ever been in leadership (and most of us have in one form or another) it is more complicated than any single compliance list could ever capture. It is complicated, because we are complicated people, and the world is a complicated place.
Nelson Mandela said, “One of the most difficult things is not to change society, but to change yourself.” At Milestone, we believe that’s where it starts, with self. Here are a few questions to ponder that may help you begin walking down the path of becoming a leader worth following. Take some time to think about what is really informing you as a leader.
- What or who gives you status, popularity or power?
- What, if you lost it, would make you feel empty?
- What do you think about most, day and night?
- What could you spend 24/7 doing?
- What do you fear most when interacting with others?
Sit in the tension of your honest responses without really trying to solve them yet, and let the process of becoming a leader worth following begin.
Executive in Residence