Do You Have What It Takes to Lead Well? How to Be the Person to Follow
I was recently watching a Netflix historical drama called The Last Kingdom. It depicts Wessex (in the area that is now England) as the last kingdom standing against the Viking invaders. Early in the show the protagonist, Uhtred, was not sure if his loyalties should be with the new king Alfred (who later became a great king celebrated in history as Alfred the Great). Uhtred’s mentor, the priest Beocca who also knew the new king Alfred well, told Uhtred of the reasons he should follow the new king. Beocca ended by telling him with conviction, “Alfred is the man to follow.”
That line has stayed with me. I want others to say, “Wes is the man to follow.” What would move others to say about you and me: He/She is the person to follow.
First, we must address an issue we may have with this quest. Is it vain to want to be followed? Do you want to be followed so you can feel important or achieve personal gain? That’s not why we should want to lead. Personally, I want people to follow me so I can help them, and so together we can do great things.
(Insert your name) is the man/woman to follow.
Can your team say that about you? What does it take to become a leader people want to follow? The answers to that question are the reason I study leadership. I always look for different and better ways to become a person others want to follow.
Think about it. What kind of persons have you wanted to follow? For me, it’s been people of character and integrity. I want to follow a person of passion and conviction, of commitment and consistency, of strength and resilience. I am drawn to leaders who are patient, wise, and humble. I want to follow someone who is willing to learn from anyone, who treats everyone with dignity and respect, who gives people autonomy. I look for leaders who are willing to sacrifice, a person who is not only a thinker, but also a doer. I want to follow a leader who communicates well, who listens first, and seeks to understand. I believe we all want to follow people who can make things happen and bring success to the journey at hand.
In this historical fiction, Beocca recognized the potential in young Alfred. He noticed great character traits in the small things the future king did. May you and I grow daily to become a person of whom others would say, He/She is the person to follow. May we be prepared when we are called upon to lead, when God places others in our life and calls us to take them to great places.
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