Only great followers become great leaders.
As I was running with this lab named Bruno (I am babysitting for a few weeks), I started to see how his desire and eagerness to lead me was hindered by his desire to be with me and his doubt of where to take me.
You see I started noticing that he had such an eagerness to lead but had no idea how. In his doubt he kept hindering my progress going forward.
A leaders doubt hinders the progress of those coming up behind them.
He was checking in with me by stopping and turning around and therefore I would have to maneuver (at my own risk) around him. It became a slow start-go-stop process. My mind was clearing and I was seeing how even in his overjoyed eagerness to lead he had no idea how... and what he really wanted to do was to run and share in the journey. He thought that meant leading but he was getting in our way of progress.
With his doubt in the direction and his inherent eagerness to please he was hindering our way forward.
Have you been there? Has some one been so eager to lead and be in charge but hinder your own progress forward with their self doubt and lack of vision?
It revealed to me that I had to first teach this young dog a new trick......... how to follow. I started an experiment. I had a forest full of trails and time. Long story short - Bruno now knows how to follow behind the leader. The question is - did taking the time to teach him how to follow change our progress forward today?
Yes -Yes it did! You can see how happy he is in the picture above. There was no tentative start and stops. No anxious glances or doubt. He knew his role, knew what to expect and trusted the way forward. He is becoming a great follower.
Now I don’t know yet if he will become a good leader but I have to say as I cooled down today and empowered him to take the lead at the end - he seemed more confident, less confused and oh so slobbery happy.
We all have the potential to become a great leader but we will only reach that pinnacle when we first become a great follower.
Bruno has showed me how he best leads me. His eagerness to play, to run and be with me - led me out the door these last 4 mornings in a row - and that is where I can follow.