Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way…

Thomas Paine Common Sense

I have heard it many times, always in a different context…”In this life you can be many things, all you need to decide is whether you want to lead, follow, or get out of the way”. Some people who think they are leaders are actually followers, some people who think they are followers are actually getting out of the way, and some people who think they are getting out of the way are actually leaders. How is it possible things could be that messed up and why am I talking about it?

Things are that messed up because many people use the wrong metrics to define leadership, and the reason I am talking about it is because I see through this charade every day. Truth of the matter is that things such as a title, pedigree, awards, and accolades are not things that make you a leader, these are things that limit our perception. We perceive that because someone is a Vice President that they are a leader, we perceive that baseball Common SenseUmpires know when to call a ball or a strike, and we perceive that people with money are wise enough to spend it. In reality, there are a lot of Vice Presidents who know as little about leading and developing people as Hobbits know how to stay out of trouble, Umpires sometimes have no idea what call to make because they are busy sweating their balls off under a lot of padded equipment in 98 degree weather, and people who have a lot of money are often too frivolous, out-spoken, and self-centered to keep themselves off of reality TV where even someone with a small amount of sense can tell the difference between a fox and a faux.

This world needs leaders, not people who want to make a lot of money possessing a title, but actual leaders. This world needs people who will identify opportunities for growth, capitalize on those opportunities and using their charisma, intellect and wit keep things moving forward! This world also needs followers, not people to do the bidding of the leader, but people who believe in the leader and will assist, and in some cases grow to lead, in efforts that support the cause of progress. This world does not need impediments, people who want to stand in the way of progress for the sake of being territorial, unwilling to change, adapt, and unwilling to fail. To these people I simply ask that you get out of the way, read Common Sense by Thomas Paine, and make a decision to either follow or stay out of the way because if you are not leading or assisting in moving things in the right direction, then my friend you are pushing things to the left…getting my humor yet!

For the sake of being clear I would like to leave you with this thought…

  • If you favor yourself to be a leader then ask yourself what you have done to help your people move and progress. Are you giving them clear direction? Are you setting clear expectations? If the direction and expectations are clear, and your people are not motivated to change are they getting out of the way?
  • If you favor yourself to be a follower then ask yourself what you have done to develop yourself and the support the direction of your leader. Do you believe in the direction? Are you starting to lead others? If you are doubtful in yourself or your leader have you engaged in dialogue to explore resolution?
  • If you are not a leader and you are not a follower are you staying the hell out of the way?

Please read Common Sense, written by Thomas Paine. I read it 20 years ago and I am about to read it again because the more i learn, the more i start to realize how uncommon sense is in the world of today.



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