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Leaders and followers

Just because someone has a title, it doesn't necessarily make them a leader.  Some of the most influential leaders in organisations don't have a 'title' per se, but they are being followed.

If you were to go to a course, a retreat, or a gathering of say 20 people who had met each other for the first time, and watched, you would see the real characteristics of leadership at work.

People follow people.

Some experts say 'Leadership is all about influence' and that is true to a point.  To go further though is to look a little closer at that influence, as it could be perceived to be good or bad.

Natural leaders however inspire and encourage participation.  They attract that illusive ingredient called discretionary effort.  People follow because they want to, they're drawn to the person and what they stand for.  Natural leaders don't have to rely on manipulation and control to get people to come their way, or to get things done - no, they mobilise people through empowerment.

Much science exists around this subject, but the truth is, people genuinely follow best when they 'want' to, not because they 'have' to.

The best examples of leaders today are likely to include:

Those who are humble yet effective

Those who command respect by setting example

Those who inspire and instil belief.

The old box set series from the 2nd World War, 'Band of Brothers' is a great illustration as it clearly shows a leader exercising courage, respect, acknowledgement and care in a pressurised environment - all of which are great characteristics of a leader.

True leadership is about seeing these qualities at work in the person at the front.  When they are in evidence there will be plenty of others coming behind.