“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?”
Applying leadership styles and strategies is situational. One of the crucial skills of being a great leader requires the ability to read the situation and apply the necessary leadership style and strategies accordingly.
There are certain times to blaze ahead on your white steed, armour clanging and sword at the ready while your cavalry follows you into the fray. In this case the leader is the vision in front, rallying the troops with their heroism.
Most times it is right to lead the cavalry from behind.
Leading from behind gives you distinct advantages:
- A great view of the whole picture. You can see the battle ahead, observe how the tactics are working and respond to the situation with the directives needed. If you add in the ability to predict everyone’s moves, the efficacy and flow of work has a better chance of running smoothly.
- Objective distance from the crowd. Creating distance means you will not get caught up in the tactical battle. Instead you will be able to encourage everyone to stay focused and stamp out any fires before they spread.
- The gift of empowerment. Everyone likes to feel they are playing their own part. By you standing back, each person feels validated and trusted that they will do the right thing, creating purpose and ownership of their actions.
- Stops the power games. Vying for the power position is not productive; you have the power, so you can stay focused on winning.
Great leadership is about doing things in the most positive way possible while still being efficient and effective.
We have to remember that to be an inspiring leader we have to set aside our ego. Authenticity is believable. When we do so, we can be objective and see situations clearly.
There’s a time for everything. Sometimes a situation calls for a more commanding stance and other times it is more relevant to take a back seat and let others lead. Doing the right thing in the right situation is what great leaders do.