The leader has a vision and a mission, and he or she leverages the talents, the energy, and the resources of the followers to accomplish that mission.
Leading from Behind
Leadership involves synergy, i.e., the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. One of the fundamental roles of the leader is to serve as a catalyst to initiate actions by others which go way beyond anything the leader could do by him (or her) self. *
One of the most profound principles I have learned in a lifetime of leadership is that leadership itself can be leveraged. In network marketing I learned to multiply my leadership exponentially by the leadership of thousands of others who were self-motivated by their own entrepreneurial spirit.
One of the “secrets” of my success was encouraging my downline like a cheerleader. In a sense I was leading from behind, like teaching a child to ride a bicycle. It was not so much about training them exactly what to do as it was about allowing them to discover the joy of creativity and self-reliance. That is how I developed a truly passive residual income; it was about them, not about me.
One of the great leaders and philosophers whose words have stood the test of time is Lao Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching in the 6th Century B.C. He is still quoted in business schools after 2600 years! One of my favorite leadership quotes is from Lao Tzu. I am here referencing the Holden Leadership Center at the University of Oregon:
“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, not so good when people obey and acclaim him, worse when they despise him. But of a good leader who talks little when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they (his followers) will say, we did it ourselves.“
* Credit for the image in this post goes to http://coachedtosuccess.com/coachthee/Archives/BusinessEthics.html