Knowing When to Lead and When to Follow (podcast)

Welcome to the next installment of the Leadership Vision Podcast, where we share our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of StrengthsFinder.

Today on the show, we’re talking about leading and following. At Leadership Vision, we believe everyone is designed for influence. But we also believe that part of our influence comes in the process of being a good follower. One key to an effective team is when members know when it’s time to be the person in front, leading, and when it’s time to follow, supporting and encouraging others in the front.

On the podcast, Carrie and I share some thoughts about how to know when it’s your time to lead and when it’s your time to follow.

A Story of Geese

A great example of leading and following comes from this story about geese. Last fall, Carrie was on a walk and stood for a long time watching a flock of Canadian geese flying South in the “V formation.” The purpose of this pattern is to allow efficiency and range for the birds over a long flight. All of the birds, except for the first at the point of the V, fly in an “upwash” which supports the weight of each bird. The birds flying at the tips and at the front of the formation are rotated in a timely fashion to spread fatigue equally among flock members.

Reflection Questions

As you reflect on your role in the “V” formation of your context, think about what you need to be the most generative version of yourself. Do you know when to lead and when to follow?

After listening to this episode reflect on the following questions:

  1. How do I lead with my Strengths? This question might seem too broad but if you’ve completed our simple activity that we talked about in an earlier episode (link in the show notes), you should have a general idea of which of your five themes shows up a little more often then the others. What does this say about your leadership style?
  2. Do I have an ‘others’ focus instead of a ‘self’ focus? This one is hard and may involve some serious self-reflection. Just pay attention to the next time someone asks for your help. What does your gut tell you?
  3. Are my Strengths generative to those around me? If you’re evaluating yourself honestly, do your Strengths show up in ways that bring life and joy and encouragement to others? Do they show up the same way when you’re leading, or in charge of something, and when you’re simply following someone else through what they are doing?
  4. Am I creating a positive impact on the daily life of others? Finally, what would others say about your leadership style? When you show up, and more importantly, when you leave, are others lives better? Do you leave them with a sense that something positive has happened?

Resources Mentioned

About The Leadership Vision Podcast

The Leadership Vision Podcast is a weekly show sharing our expertise in the discovery, practice, and implementation of StrengthsFinder. Leadership Vision uses StrengthsFinder to work with People, Teams, and Culture. We believe that knowing your Top 5 Strengths is only the beginning. In fact, our highest potential exists in the ongoing exploration of our talents. Subscribe to the Leadership Vision Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen.

Please contact us if you have ANY questions about anything you heard in this episode, or if you’d like to talk to us about helping your team understand the power of Strengths.