Mindstate Motivation Blog

Leadership Is not Your Talk It’s Absolutely Where You Walk

You’ve heard the expression “Get your ducks in a row.”  The expression has come to mean having everything in proper order to assure a desired outcome.

There are many theories about the origin of the phrase.  However, Mother Nature offers up one real life example.

Often a mother duck will herd her current crop of young offspring into straight lines.  She does this when she and her ducklings are on land or in the water.

Because of the simplicity of a single line the mother duck is able to detect any stragglers very easily.  The row of ducks is the ultimate safety measure and control mechanism.

Here’s your challenge as a leader if you attempt to get all your team in a nice, neat row behind you just like a mother duck.group-312408_1280

People don’t necessarily want to be herded into a highly disciplined formation from which any deviation will result in being moved back in line.

Your reality as a leader in this above example is you have no assurance your team members will in fact follow you.  Your success in such an endeavor is only as good as the team’s commitment to you and your mission and that commitment is not likely in this scenario.

For the ducks…no problem… Instinct tells them they are to tow the mark.  For humans…big problem.

People want to be inspired to do what you, as the leader, are asking them to do.  They need good rationale for taking the actions you request.

Trust them with a good rationale and they will emotionally commit too following your lead.

Conversely, to the mother duck leading the single row of her offspring, you could decide you will take up a position physically behind you team members.

The challenge for you there is confusion because people may not know where to go.poses-1367416_1920

Everybody might start out in a nice, neat little row but as time passes a critical problem will emerge.  There may be no sense of common direction and your team splits into following their individual tangents.

You’re left at the back of a non-existent row!

There is a much better alternative to trying to herd your people into a nice, neat row whether you are in the front or back of the row.

Forget being a mother duck and trying to herd your people into rows you dictate to them.  Your people don’t want to be told what to do from you position of power over them.  They won’t respond well to your TALK.

They want to be emotionally touched by your inspiring personal presence.  To touch your people emotionally and thereby elicit their highest level of commitment to you and your ideas, you have to WALK WITH them.

What do I mean by that?

You choosing position power over personal power by either walking in front of or behind a lock-step row of people will result in mediocre performance at best.

I’ve defined leadership in other articles in this blog.  The link I’ve provided here is to a post I wrote several months ago.

Ironically, its title is:  To Be Out Front You Must Be Behind.  That title would seem to be in conflict to the position I’m taking in this post.

Well, let’s look at my definition of leadership contained within that article.

“Great leaders are not out in front of the group with a great big title.  They are right in the middle of the group with a great big but disciplined heart.”network-63770_640

To put everything into perspective—I’m saying leading people is walking with them not in front of them or behind them like a nice, neat little row of ducks.  They know you are behind them because you trust them to achieve the desired results through their own creativity and team commitment.

You lead that way and you will, in fact, have your leadership ducks in a row.  waterfowl-771680_1920

What’s the first step you will take in getting your leadership ducks in a row?

Please share your thoughts by commenting below.  

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Crop of GNCC ShotMindstate mentor, author, trainer and speaker, Gary Greenfield (@LifeRider) provides self-employed people inspirational insight and concise business ideas to help improve mindstate and minimize stress. He believes a mindstate that is positive and stress that is minimized helps self-employed people better profit through performance.

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