Leading From Behind

Many opinions on leadership are out there for sure and much can be learned from many of them.

My leadership has definitely evolved over the years, and will hopefully always do so. For no one is a perfect leader. It’s an ever growing and ever changing process that requires commitment, study, time, application, and retrospection.

Yet, one constant remains true, at least for me, and that is the best leaders always have their teams’ back. This doesn’t mean there’s lack of accountability and inspection, but that the spirit of servant leadership is always present.

On my bathroom mirror, I keep a picture of an artist’s rendering of Jesus, having his hand upon a young man’s shoulder who is carefully navigating a ship upon choppy seas. Jesus is pointing to a place on the horizon. Thus, helping to navigate the young man through the storm and to the best place for him to be – being always constant, always there, always guiding.

This image is a perfect reminder that God always has our backs. He is a good Father, and the best leader.

Likewise, my desire is the be the same for my family, and any place God has me. Ultimately, we are all leaders in some way. For we routinely have others looking to us for guidance.

Therefore, leading from behind, even as the famed Art Of War hints at by advising, “to lead people, walk behind them” looks like:

1. Casting a vision.

2. Teaching, developing & collaborating on ways to accomplish the vision.

3. Letting go and trusting others through delegation to help work towards the vision.

4. Encouraging, celebrating, and recognizing others accomplishments, while providing continual support and feedback.

As we do these things, it may sometimes feel like it takes away the control and glory of being a leader as it seeks to empower those we have delegated and entrusted with the work. As such, this is hard for some leaders to do, and can leave a sense of insecurity. For they too desire the glory and recognition for making things happen.

This is a natural desire of course, but servant leaders can’t allow ego to get in the way. Their satisfaction comes from seeing others take flight, knowing they were able to help others stand taller, see farther, and accomplish more so that successes can be compounded.

This empowerment helps propel the next generation forward, and with each new generation promoting the next, higher realities, visions, and heights can be reached for the greater good of all.

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