back as I can remember, I was a fairly intense,
passionate and determined person.
my equally intense, passionate and determined brother
telling me "take a chill pill, Laura." I assure
you that coming from him, it was the kettle calling the
looking back, he was right, I did need to chill. I
was actually more intense than him, if that was at all
realize that my intensity had a lot to do with my strong
desire to tackle challenges and succeed; wanting to
drive things, all things, forward to where and how I
all, I liked getting results and I thought I knew what
it took to get them.
My competitive intensity
poured into my life on all fronts; academics, work,
sports and travel. You could say that
what charged me up more than anything was conquering
life single-handedly, or at least trying
I was a
full-fledged, self reliant, steam rolling woman on a
mission to get results.Growing up in the '60's and
'70's I had
internalized a strong feminist message that I didn't
really need anybody in order to
believed that self-reliance was the key component to
success. I saw that needing others or relying on
others was considered a sign of
a follower was a dirty word.
I entered the workforce, there were many bosses whose
jobs I aspired to have. I always wanted to
be in their shoes. I didn't want to follow them, I
wanted to be them. I wanted to be the boss and to
follow or get out of the way" for me was "Follow me and
get out of the way". I was fortunate to have
many bosses that did give me the freedom to excel and
flourish. I think they understood the value in doing so
especially because they saw me as a
goodness for me and for them that they were effective
leaders and didn't try to stand in my way or
micro-manage me. And so I blossomed and grew into having
more and more responsibility.
But as I
gained more leadership responsibility, I started to see
that the way I had excelled in the past wasn't getting
me the results I needed in the future. That
self-reliance at all costs, worked in the short run, but
then it got in my way as it began to demotivate others
around me. It became a
I hadn't learned how to be a good follower, I was being
hampered at becoming an effective leader.
But then I
remembered an important lesson I had learned (and
forgotten) about the importance of following
drew back on my High School Field Hockey days and
remembered my coach saying "when the team captain calls
the play, you all must follow through. The team won't
win if you all don't follow her lead."
see the lesson about being a good follower is a lot like
being a good leader, it doesn't really matter who scores
coach got that. My bosses got that.
matters most is the end result.
all, being a leader and being a follower are two sides
of the same coin. Sometimes you lead by following.
And sometime you follow by leading.
can't do one effectively without understanding the
other. So, next time you think that being
a follower is a dirty word, think again.
well are you following?
in one-on-one business coaching? Contact Laura for
and personalized coaching.