Weekend Read: Lead From The Front
I’ve stumbled across this image from time to time on LinkedIn. I have to admit it irks me whenever I see it. I’m not saying the narrative isn’t correct – maybe wolves in the wild do organize themselves with the sickly ones in the front and the leader hanging back in the caboose. But that’s the opposite of how a business organization should run.
True business leaders must lead from the front, not the rear. This is important for two reasons. First, leaders set the pace for the entire team. If you’re in the front you can control the speed of the org . . . push tempo when appropriate, collect and regroup if needed. Conversely, if you’re in the back making sure nobody falls behind the entire team will only move as fast as the slowest team member, and that’s no way to run a business.
Second, and more subtly, is the importance of leaders “walking the walk”. I’ve been successful in management by only asking employees to do things I’m also willing to do. By being out in front you can demonstrate leadership by actually doing. This will garner respect from your team and help them believe they too can achieve whatever you’re asking of them.
So I’m sorry Mother Nature, I don’t subscribe to the picture below. Instead I’m going with the leader who will charge across the battlefield first, because their troops are sure to follow.