Follow the Leader – How this really CAN apply to you

As a child, I welcomed following. When my sister or parents told me what to do, I did it. They did the thinking, I did the doing. In my young mind, following was easy. Now as an adult, I see I sometimes manage a balancing act: sometimes I hesitate to follow and other times I welcome it. Yet I have learned following really can apply to my adult life in meaningful ways.

If you know me through my blog, you know I am an introvert. Like many introverts, I sometimes question the action or commands of others, because of my need to analyze. Follow? Isn’t this a contradiction for those of us who analyze? Certainly this helps us maintain the balancing act of following. Yet let’s recognize the other side of the balance – those times we introverts really do well to follow.

3 ways the introvert benefits from following:

1. When we apply someone else’s system.

We introverts gain strength and motivation when on our own, at a distance, buried in our own worlds of thoughts, ideas and creativity. But often we think we have to figure it all out, and that keeps us in a constant loop of hopefulness which turns to thinking, thinking which turns to doubting, and then doubting that turns to feeling frustrated.

When handed someone else’s system, we get re-energized, test it out for ourselves, apply any revisions from our own perspective and then return to hopefulness.

2. When we prefer to avoid the spotlight.

I recall times when, especially in the evenings, I attend networking events. This  time of day I need to re-energize myself to reach out to people, and sometimes it just works better when I let them reach out to me. In this respect, following feels much more natural.

Similarly, I am constantly surprised by the times referrals and prospects reach out to me unbidden. I don’t like to push, therefore when I apply a meaningful vs. technical approach to working with people, and afterwords, when I sit back  to allow it to happen, I enjoy the fruits of following.

3. When we are learning a new technique.

Signing on with a new organization, applying a new approach, learning a new skill, we must sit back, study, reflect. And through this process, follow.

Sure it’s expected we will adapt our own perspective, our own methods or ideas toward the technique. Yet following along, listening, applying the information and experience of others for further reflection and application are all consistent with who we are.

Application towards our communication

As you may already surmise, when we demonstrate our willingness to follow, we bring to the space our attitude of listening, of respect, and sometimes of need. How powerful this attitude is in creating relationship with our clients, with our vendors, with our co-workers, our superiors and our team.

Even as a presenter I continually find when I am open to asking questions of the audience members, of listening and digging deeper for more information, when I record or repeat the comments and questions my audience offers, and when I wrap my message around what they have shared, in essence, I am following my audience. And what tremendous relationship comes out of this behavior! Even as an adult, I find there is not only joy, but also beauty in following.

I began yesterday’s post , Remember the Attraction, with a momentary reflection on the first of Jesus’s 4 directives – Come. Today’s is the second – Follow. In my sometimes bullheaded mind, I need to remember not only have I said yes to the invitation to come, but I must also remember the power of, the benefits of following. How about you?



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On November 13th, 2012, posted in: asking for help, attitude, audience, business building, networking by