Leaders and Followers
Leaders; we see them everywhere, beit work or play. We probably see more followers. Both need to perfect their communications skills. Other names for them has been groupies, “the gang” and followers. All too many we see are simply ………… “followers”. These people simply agree with the common theme of “the group” and regurgitate the common theme or opinion, so they can gain quick acceptance and standing within “the group”. Yes, it is much simpler and requires little to no thinking in this step of gaining acceptance and popularity.
Now don’t get me wrong. It’s great to want to belong and be associated with some “group or gang”, wether its socially or at work. During these tough economic times and job losses, becoming part of that gang at work may be a step to ensuring safety during times of layoffs and staff reductions. At work, its usually following the common rhetoric or “rumoristic theme”. Everybody wants to belong or feel they belong to some group – feeling at home.
But many times, I see people agreeing to beliefs and rhetoric that is just plain wrong and immoral without considering why something is why it is. Yes, it does take alot more effort, courage and bravery to go against common rhetoric of these groups, just to feel like “I belong”. Sometimes it could be along the lines of “anti-management” at work. Sometimes its along lines of sexism. Sometimes its discrimatory against visible minorities.
What takes courage is to stand apart from “the crowd” and have, tout and deliver your own personal belief, especially if it is totally opposite and 180 degrees to the “common theme or rhetoric”. To be an individual and to have 1 additional quality of being “a leader”, is what I see in it. These are the people that I am most attracted to because these are the ones who are “individuals” and “free thinkers”.
As long as these people back it up with their own insightful opinions and examples, then they are worth listening to and discussing their opinion with. Hopefully we don’t have a contrary opinion, just to be seen as radical, opposite and cutting against the grain, or just to be different.
It is this one additional attribute I hope a Toastmaster member acquires; how to become an individual in their opinion and what they stand for. This is another quality that defines us as an “individual” like no other person in the entire world. I find these are the people who truly stand out from the crowd and are not afraid to voice their opinion, especially in times of defending a minority felt opinion. Doesn’t this form but 1 part in the definition of “democracy” – being led by the majority but always listening and considering the content of the individual ?
If you like this article you may enjoy this interview about the Youth Leadership Program (YLP)