Do you feel most comfortable being a leader, a follower, or a collaborator?
This is a great question and I’ve often thought about this every once in a while or so. I have been called a great leader and a great collaborator, but never a great follower. Being the oldest of seven children, many would say that I am a natural leader or that I always had the natural qualities to make a great leader. Being the oldest of my siblings was never easy but more times than not, it was fun to have siblings around. I was never lonely and I never had to do the chores all by myself. Yes, isn’t that what siblings are for? To do all your chores…I mean to help with chores? But seriously, growing up I recall having to be the responsible one to have certain tasks done before a certain time, and it was up to me to show and tell my siblings. It was never an easy task in itself to tell my siblings what to do, and that rings true even today.
As I went into my teen and early adult years, I encountered a lot of activities and organizations that offered opportunities to hone my leadership and teamwork skills and abilities. But that was not very evident because those “clubs” were an outlet for my young self and a place to hang out and laugh with my friends. So it was only natural that I gravitated towards leadership roles as I was elected president, vice-president, secretary and board member of various organizations since my high school years. I never cared if I was elected or not because I just wanted to to be a part of something with others in the same demographics and with the same interests. I loved the act of “doing” and “accomplishing” tasks that benefited the community and our organizations. I still do.
I will admit I am uncomfortable in being tasked the leader if I feel someone else is more capable or knowledgeable than I am, or if I do not know the subject matter at hand as well as others might. I don’t take on leadership roles without careful consideration of the necessary actions that might have negative or overwhelming consequences. Then again, I am very willing to take on leadership roles if I feel I can do an effective job. I am willing to learn new things that would benefit me as a leader and team member.
So to answer the question, I am very comfortable in being a leader and collaborator, but I am uncomfortable with the term “follower” because it could be misconstrued in many ways by different people. I feel that the term has negative unintended implications and brings about too many questions or unnecessary questions. I would rather state that I am comfortable in working with people. I would rather walk with rather than follow people. I will support people and organizations as best as I can to the best of my abilities.
What about you?