Gran's Apple Butter Blog

November 23, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Leaders (7/IX)

Filed under: Along the Road,Book Series,Books,Companions,Directions,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran,Leaders — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 11:24 am

Chapter 7 – Leaders

Sometimes we travel in a team on our way home, picking a leader to guide the group. Gran thought true leaders are made, not born, as they pass through the fires of their own challenges. Whom we choose for this role is very important, she said, because their directions may mean the difference between a safe trip and an ugly one.

When selecting a leader, our truest guide will always be a healthy heart. How does this person feel? Next, test their directions. If everything feels right, keep on going, but never be afraid to question if something feels off or the person in charge falters. Even good leaders run out of steam. Either way, we’re responsible for whom we choose to lead us. And if democracy isn’t an option, we may want to reconsider the whole thing.

One nice part about traveling in a group: If you’re feeling a little off, you can ask for help. That’s when a good team and a good leader really comes in handy. If she knows the ropes, your leader can help you get started again, while the others cheer you on, and further down the road, you may be the one encouraging someone else.

A good leader helps each person grow and develop, although this may not look like the help we’re used to seeking. Hand-holding is limited, as true teachers show us our own strength, rather than encourage us to lean on theirs.

A good leader will know when we’re ready, and will also know when we’re not up for a particular challenge. In that case, depending on the possible outcomes, she may caution us to slow down or she may step back and let us learn this for ourselves. After all, a true leader is less concerned with being liked than she is with uncovering our full potential. She’ll do whatever it takes to facilitate this, although we may not care for her techniques until we recognize what’s really happening.

Never stop questioning, Gran said. Good leaders will never be offended by this, and if someone is, that’s a good sign you want off that team pretty darn quick anyway. Blind faith only gets you to the promised land if you’re following Moses and he hasn’t stopped to build a golden calf again. And remember: Group travel may be safer, but it’s slower in movement, decision-making and change. Traveling alone may be faster, but it carries higher risks. Only you can know which best serves your purpose and your abilities.  

And if you find yourself in a lead position, be sure and share Gran’s cautions with your team, in case you ever give out wrong directions. Remind everyone of the rules of the road, and ask them to make their own decision whether to stay with the group or strike out on their own. Then cultivate each person’s leadership skills from day one, so if you ever realize you’re no longer fit for the job, you can step aside and let a stronger person stand up.

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010-2011. All rights reserved.
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