Every so often I get a little something in my life that reminds me to talk about how we sometimes forget that we are all leading, and that somebody is always following, nearly all of the time. In this case we were visiting family and I was very fortunate to witness my nephew Gabe, repeatedly emulate the behavior of his older cousin Maya all while she was completely unaware that he was doing so. This was not limited to her actions, but actually included her emotional states, as he would act sad and upset if she did, just as he would shift into happy and playful as soon as she did.
This of course applies to us all and is one of the many lessons that we teach at Leadership Challenge Camp. In fact now that I am writing about it, I see images of cadets in my mind and I can clearly hear my friend Phil saying “You are leading… are you paying attention to where you are leading?” and see the look on the faces of the cadets.
We often forget that we are leading, we forget that at any moment someone is going to follow the example we set, go down the path we selected, decide what is important to them based on what WE think is important to US, and so many other possibilities. Sometimes is helpful for me to just to stop and think. “If the people who follow me are watching right now, am I leading them in the right direction? Am I leading on purpose?”
Its not just for children (though, they are so often the source of great lessons), it is I think for all of us to remember we are leading, to recognize that someone is following you. Think about that just a bit, does it impact the way you think just to acknowledge that you may have someone following you? If for example you knew, that a child was going to take whatever you were doing, and emulate it…. would you continue?