Why being A Leader is different to being THE Leader
In a remarkable workshop called the Akimbo Emerging Leaders Program, by Seth Godin and others, a fascinating take on leadership is presented.
Leadership is to say, “I’m going over there, who’s going with me?”.
Simple, eloquent… and powerful. It forces us to ask, who can we get to go with us? Why would anyone who is already here want to go there?
Famous leaders marched on Washington, they marched against genocide, they marched against Apartheid, they led brave companies and they created new things that people were all willing to follow, to march alongside.
People all followed THE leader.
But what about the opposite?
Ernesto Sirolli, the famous Italian father on Enterprise Facilitation, has an amazing TED Talk which encourages you to go to the first page of a Richard Branson book, and count all the times the word ‘we’ is used.
It’s more than thirty times.
Nothing great has ever been done by an individual- only started by an individual.
What about the others?
And what about the reverse of that question. THE leader asks “who’s coming with me?”… so what does it take to say “yes, I’ll go with you. I will go over there”.
Is that person not also A leader?
Is a great leader only willing to be THE leader – or are they willing to be a great follower as well.
It’s far more glamorous to be THE leader but it takes a humble person to be A leader.
And a true leader is willing to lead from the rear – hidden anonymously in the crowd.
You’ve all heard of Nelson Mandela. But none of you have heard of Joseph Shaheen. Don’t bother googling him, he doesn’t have a blog, instagram, youtube channel, and is not mentioned in any books.
But he was A leader, just as Nelson was.
Who do you think of when you read this? Would this piece ‘open a door’ for someone you know? Share it with them. If it won’t open a door for someone then please, don’t share it with them.