Byron's Babbles

Trailblazing Leadership

SingaporeLesson #41 in John Manning’s (2015) The Disciplined Leader is titled “Lead From The Front.” To me this is contrast to the idea of being a travel agent. Travel agents send us to places that, in most cases, they have never been. Leaders take us to places they have been or serve as a trailblazer to places we are going together. It’s more than just being a workhorse or riding the white horse out in front of the army. It’s really about influence; doing the kinds of things that cause people to feel better about the work when you’re on the team, and to choose to follow you when you offer suggestions or direction. I like to look at this as leading from where you are. Leadership must happen where and when it is needed; by anyone.

Great leaders who are out front lead by offering solutions and have skin in the game. Out front leaders think strategically and keep learning. The type of leader I am describing here shares resources and information. She is a giver, not a taker. This leader chooses to be extremely generous with her time, expertise, and helping others succeed. It’s about taking an interest in people. Great leaders look for value in every person. Great leaders are a friend and listen to people and what’s going on in their lives, professionally and personally. Great leaders complete others.51cHkuSOUeL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Don’t forget that sometimes leaders must also go alone. Sometimes we must boldly go where no one else wants to go. Many times leading out front means going against conventional wisdom or the consensus of others. Those who lead change transformation know that there will be times when they will truly be trailblazers – going where no one has gone before. As the great leader, Robert Gates, says, “The change agent must be an oak, not a daisy.”


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