By the time I had reached kindergarten I knew I was a leader. I had friends, and plenty of them. They all wanted to come to my house to play, and nearly always, they played by my rules. The goal was for everyone to have fun, and when playtime was over we’d all had fun, sometimes to the point of exhaustion. That made me a good leader. Right?
It never occurred to me that maybe it was my mom’s lunches or the fact that she never watered down her Kool-Aid that attracted so many of the neighborhood children to our yard. I hadn’t considered that because Mom let my friends inside to use the bathroom or that she always had a supply of Band-Aids, and other mothers trusted her, might be the reason for my popularity. I thought it was me, and my leadership style.
My extroverted personality landed me positions of leadership in the classroom as well. I was early to volunteer, eager to help, and almost always obeyed the rules. Adults could count on me to get things started and keep things going.
The first real frustration I recall as a leader didn’t happen until I was sixteen. One comment and gesture caused me to understand I was in the lead, but not much of a leader.
It was a boy, another sixteen year old, who knocked me off my own pedestal. This tall, handsome, and usually quiet boy stood in front of the group of teenagers and adult chaperones. He faced me, then bowed as he said, “Yes Queen.” He’d made me realize that my leadership style had room for improvement.
After the meeting, he apologized for mocking me. He repeated the words “I’m sorry” three times, each time adding another layer of sincerity. His attitude, as much as his smile, made me feel weak in my knees.
He eventually knocked me off my feet.
Would you, please, consider one or more of these questions. Then, let me know your thoughts.
- Do you consider yourself a leader? Why or why not?
- What sort of leader do you get excited about following?
- Would you consider following a leader who is younger or less experienced than you?
- Have you ever fallen or failed because you followed the wrong leader?
Any other brief thoughts on leadership?