The Limits of Leadership

Good leaders sometime get lost. There are two options for when this happens: forge ahead anyway and pretend like you know exactly where you are going or stop and ask the team for directions. I’m not a big fan of the Fake It Until You Make It school of practice. The work is too important. Too much time gets lost. The team wanders out too far.

And so, from time to time, the leader has to look up and recognize that the team isn’t heading where they thought they were heading. The leader has to admit they took a wrong turn or missed a crucial path. This is difficult work. It can painful. It is almost certain to be embarrassing. It is also essential.

The best leaders I have known knew how to step aside, ask the team for directions and reorient themselves in the right direction for the good of the team. Before good leadership there is almost always great followership.

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