Before coming into the Humphrey Seminar, I had already begun to conjure up, in my own mind, my own leadership style. This seminar reaffirmed my idea that I was heading in the right direction.
I enjoy doing as my blog buddy, Omar, described in his first blog post and lead from behind. In this situation, a leader does not look to accomplish a goal for the team or themselves, but rather, he or she leads in order to help everyone accomplish their own individual goals. In turn, this benefits the community/group as a whole. Leading from behind helps a leader bring out the best in those around him or her, while at the same time, making sure that he or she is not solely in the spotlight. In the blog post, Omar explains that in leading from behind, it is better to “put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur.” This demonstrates that a leader, while still wanting to accomplish the overall goal of the organization, has no issue with sharing glory or praise. One who leads from behind shows that he or she is motivated by something other than glory.
I have noticed this behavior in myself, most recently, in my job as an assistant cross-country coach. Since this has been my first season as a coach, it has seemed appropriate that I would find myself displaying my leadership style at something new. At practice, I am consistently training with my athletes in order to make them better. I am constantly giving encouragement during workouts and tough training days. I notice myself doing this for no reason other than wanting to make my athletes better. This team has given me the opportunity to display my leadership style.
Another component of this class that helped me reaffirm my own leadership style was our book review assignment. Mark Sanborn’s The Fred Factor reiterates this notion from leading from behind in a different manner: By finding self-satisfaction in doing your best at everything you do and helping others. By finding self-satisfaction in doing my best to make my athletes better, I accomplish everything that I set out to do when I coach. My only goal left, at this point, would be to better my athletes as individuals as well, instead of just as athletes. I hope that, by leading in this example, my athletes will adopt elements of my leadership style and act as leaders, themselves. Turning other individuals into leaders is, after all, a leader’s ultimate goal.