A leader is a person who has been to the top of a mountain and back. She has come back to take her friends who have the same aspirations of living on the top of the mountain. Since she knows the way, she has returned to the valley to say to her people, “Come follow me, I know the way to the mountain top. I have been there and it is lovely up there. But it is better to live there together. Come follow me and I will show you the way and help you get there.”
People follow her because of her strengths like charisma, expertise, experience, and ability to get things done for the team. They stop following her because of her weaknesses.
One of these weaknesses that many amateur leaders have is impatience with followers. This often results from the leader’s lack of understanding of the weaknesses of the followers.
Many leaders are smart go-getters with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. They generally have more experience and insight into how it’s best for things to be done than their followers do. In addition to that, they have the advantage of having “insider” information that impacts decision making. The leader sees the vision and the path clearer than anyone else. Leaders spend more time looking at the big picture than anyone else and so become really good at it. As such, they can often almost intuitively make better decisions.
A big temptation from all the advantages a leader has is that she can become impatient or even irritated when followers don’t seem to get it as easily as she does. She may fail to understand the weaknesses of her followers. Sometimes, she may get frustrated when giving instructions or correcting a follower after a few failed attempts because, in her mind, the leader is thinking that she can easily perform the task much faster than it is taking her to coach a follower to do. This temptation not only leads to frustration but to micromanaging.
If you are a leader and you get frustrated working with followers, remember this: First, that the leader is the servant of the followers, not the other way around.
First, the leader is the servant of her followers, not the other way around.
Second, the leader gets things quicker and makes fewer mistakes because he has a tremendous level of inside information and experience.
Third, without delegation, the leader and the team cannot make progress. As such, even if it seems like it’s taking too long for followers to catch on, frustration and micromanaging are never effective approaches.
Fourth, unless you learn to be patient and understanding, you will have no followers soon.
Patience with the weaknesses of followers is a crucial but often forgotten trait that all effective leaders have. Without it, you will soon have no followers.