Leaders, Followers, Influencers

Following the leader, the leader, the leader
We’re following the leader
Wherever he may go

Bobby Driscoll, Paul Collins

Children playing after school
Children Playing

Who are the leaders, followers, and influencers of today?

Who do you look to as a leader? We have leaders in many areas: politics, sports, religion, business, media, entertainment, and social media influencers. There are many other places where leaders are present and influence our lives. Sometimes we are happy to follow the leader – remember playing that game as a child? Other times we follow the leader because it is our job, and we are expected to do as the leader directs, or we feel we don’t have a choice because the leader is thrust upon us. We do what our teachers, parents, and coaches tell us to do.

The other categories I have identified have the same requirements. I wonder though if those we admire and emulate are leaders or just famous people due to the media. Ahh – the media. TV, newspapers (yes, they still exist), and social media all present their own interpretation of events. In giving us their interpretation, we are left to figure out the facts on our own.

Our current political leaders leave me questioning their leadership abilities. I might have a different perception of leadership. If you have read a bit from me, you might already know that respect, humility, kindness, truthfulness, integrity, love, compassion, and being non-judgmental are some of the qualities I believe a leader must have. However, if we examine our world leaders, I’m afraid many will fall short in these areas.

Are entertainers, athletes, religious, business, and social influencers leaders, or just celebrities? Are they setting good examples of human beings that we would like to see our children follow? Or that we would aspire to be?

Not all leaders are good leaders.

Not all leaders are good people. How do you choose who to follow? We can look at current world leaders – what are your thoughts about Putin? I’m sure there are some people who admire him and will follow his lead. Remember history, Hitler had followers and believers. Putin, Hitler, and others who have done things we don’t think are right have been influential, charismatic, and persuasive and convince people to join with them to support their vision. More characteristics of leaders – vision and motivation. How do we know if we are choosing the right person to follow if they are able to sweep us up with their charm, words, and ideas?

Are the world leaders we now have doing a respectable job? What are their values? I choose to follow leaders whose values are like mine, and who maintain and display those values in their words and actions. There are times when we don’t have a choice of our leader. In politics we can make a choice when we vote, but we have no guarantee that our choice will become the leader. Think about the qualities we are seeing in the world leaders of today. Often, we find the qualities being displayed do not match our ideas of a leader and go against our values. Trying to find a way to influence these leaders is not an easy task. If we don’t speak up or make our thoughts and ideas known in some way, are we being complicit in the actions being taken, but with which we don’t agree? 

There are certainly business leaders. Some quite famous and some who have helped us learn to be good leaders. Some business leaders are unethical, unkind, dishonest, and seek only to satisfy their own needs of money and extravagant lifestyles. Though there are business ‘leaders’ who have good management skills and many leadership skills, they are not the leaders I necessarily want to follow. Having the skills of a leader doesn’t necessarily make you a leader. 

Social media influencers.

It wasn’t until recently that I grasped what influencers were. I had heard about them. Again, they might have some incredibly good leadership skills, but influencing isn’t necessarily the same thing. Leaders do need to be able to influence others. Being influenced to buy certain things, eat in specific places, party at the “in” club, and “hang” with the in people is not necessarily advantageous to us. Influencers and ad agencies lead us in the direction that will benefit them, not us.

We need to be discerning when we choose who to follow. Learn to ask the right questions. Find out if the leader’s values align with your values. Additionally, remember a leader in one area is not necessarily a leader in another situation. I might be an excellent nursing leader but if my house is on fire, I will follow the lead of the firefighters. There are times when a group or team might have more than one leader. Think of sports – the captain, the coach, the first base coach, the trainer, and others on the team who have experience and could lead.

I have repeated this often in my blogs and postings – “everyone is a leader!” Uncover your leadership skills and develop them to the best of your ability. Why would you do this if you don’t want to be in a leadership role? The skills of a leader are the same skills that can be used in life – communication, negotiation, motivation, inspiration, empathy, listening, compassion, and supportive to name only a few.

There is an incredible amount to learn about leading and leadership. I have years of experience and formal education in leadership, and I learn more every day!

You don’t have to enroll in formal education to develop leadership skills. All you need is to keep an open mind, do a bit of reading, be aware of what leaders (good and bad) are doing, and identify areas that you would like to improve. Consider starting with leading yourself and learning to communicate. Those two items will give you a solid foundation on which to develop and build your leadership identity.

Do you have questions or comments?

person standing on black sand beach in front of question mark
Photo by Marlon Trottmann on Pexels.com

I’d love to communicate and get a discussion going. Please let me know your thoughts.

I also offer programs and courses that can be tailored to your learning needs. https://leadnurses.com/programs/

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