Saturday, January 12, 2013

Backwards Leadership

Social media is a great resource for sharing information.  Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Google+ have all been great ways to reach out to others to learn from them, to understand them, and to build relationships with them.  But social media is also a great risk for gathering good information.  When your options are almost unlimited your choices must be precise.  Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Incorrect practices makes incorrect habits.

I have seen an interesting thing in the last two years we've been using Twitter,, and Facebook.  EVERYONE is a leadership guru (which is interesting that I'm complaining about that as I write about leadership . . . ).  Many "leaders" share how to be a great leader through 140 characters.  Many "leaders" guide their followers on how to better oneself by being a great leader.  If there are so many great leaders out there, why are our social cultures so screwy?  Selfishness.

If you listen to proven leaders, they constantly remind us that leadership is selfless!  That leadership's purpose is for others.  That leadership can only be shown through adding value to others.  One thing I see is that many people want to be leaders for the wrong reasons.  They want to be leaders for the sake of telling others, "I lead this group," or "I have 55,000 followers on twitter," or some other reason that points back to themselves. 

The leaders that have been documented as leaders through history were leaders for a reason outside themselves.  Martin Luther King, Jr.; George Washington; Coach John Wooden.  They all led to change society, the country, or just a group of young men that needed a mentor.  They didn't need accolades, or "followers."  They sought change in other individuals and that change occurred. 

So, how to we everyday people that aren't King David or Saint Francis of Assisi lead to impact change?  By Leading Backwards.  If we are to be leaders, we must do so for the aid and success of others.  If we are to make others successful, then we must know and understand what will make them successful.  If we are to know what others need for success, we must know who they are.  If we are to know who they are, we must listen.  To be an effective leader, we must listen to others and then add value to them.

Remember, leadership is selfless (puts others first) and followership is selfishness (puts self first).

1 comment:

  1. That's really great advice. Too many times I see people tweet or Facebook message some leadership saying that doesn't even make sense because they are quoting someone that is not really documented as a leader but maybe leads some small organization. I think people need to really think about what they are saying and putting out there as a leadership comment because it could be leading others into the wrong direction.