Friday, September 30, 2011

My Shame: I Am Not A Leader

This falls under 30 Days of Shamelessness, Post #7: Share your efforts at something you don’t think you do well.

And I am not a leader. I have many leadership skills, traits, abilities, bla bla bla. But people just do not follow me. They don't. And to lead, you must be followed. I have dedicated a major part of my life in honing my leadership capacities, from college to most of my professional career... And I still am not followed.

In high school, when the school principal wanted to inspire us to run for class president, he talked about leadership skills and how to know you have them "When you get up and decide to go to the restaurants, do your friends go with you or just stay put?" My friend looked at me and said "That's me!" I asked her if it was me too. She laughed. She's probably still laughing.

"People don't follow you, silly! I don't know why, they just don't!"

Then my teacher felt the compelling need to finger ME out in class. And this lasted during the entire hour where she droned on and on about my lack of leadership skills. I wanted to run out of the class crying, but instead I chose to sit there and stare at her hoping to make her feel as badly as she deserved to feel.

Later, I chose "Recreation Leadership" for my college degree. After completing a month long intensive program on (duh) leadership, where we were taught that leadership in essence was the influence one has on a group of people. We were asked questions such as who influences:
  • your decision making;
  • what you do in your spare time;
  • where on campus you spend your lunch break;
  • what you wear;
  • who you hang out with; etc.
And the last question asked was who influences you the most overall in your life. And every single student in the class wrote down MY name. Yet, when I planned outings and invited classmates, only 1 or 2 would agree to go. They didn't trust me enough to follow me on a night out on the town, but they sure relaxed when it came time to putting their life in my hands.

I wanted to have my professor put the results down in writing so I could plaster it in my high school teacher's office AND my ex-best-friend's apartment. The entire time I was running on high speed trying to prove 2 people they were wrong.

Only thing is: they were right. I am still not being chosen to follow... Oddly enough I am an influential person but people don't realize when they make life changing decisions just where the influence came from. Am I arrogant to make such claims? And what's wrong with not being the leader, but one of the followers? In this society where we spend huge amount of money on building leaders, isn't it time we invest in the followers?



  1. There are more followers, than leaders...well, there should be. Otherwise, nothing gets done...huh...

    Either way, I am very happy following you.

  2. you dont always have to lead from the from...just saying...

  3. Last weekend me, my husband and my son were at dinner on the military base. My son would randomly go up to members of the branches and shake their hands and "network". Somehow the conversation came up about rank, and how it works. My husband explained the rank structure and then my son said, " why weren't you higher?" my husband said because son, I learned a long time ago I am a follower, I don't want to tell 500 men younger than me to run as fast as they can to their death based on my judgement. My son thought for a moment. Finally my son looked at his dad and said, but you would be one of 500 running if told to? My husband said yes, not everyone is a leader, if they were nothing would ever get done, it's ok to be a follower if you are following for the right reasons. My son looked at us and said, " oh I get it, that's why mom is the leader !" I sat there trying not to laugh as I finished my sandwich. My husband said, EXACTLY ! Besides that personal story I want you to know, a true leader does not need to know they are even being followed most will never even know in their life they were actually the leader or inspiration to others. So I want to take a second to make sure you know, I think you are a leader.

  4. People keep telling me I could be a Manager. Truth is I dont want to lead. Much happier being a follower and being able to leave work at the end of the day and forget about things.
    Doesnt seem to stop me taking charge when i have to though.

    Usually being the leader means you cop the most shit when things go wrong. I dont need the stress

  5. The world needs followers like us. I'm not a leader either, but I just "fake it till I make it." And it works just fine :-)


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