By Christine Comaford
High-performance people (especially women) have an inherent tension: the struggle between the desire to lead and the reluctance to let go of the reins. Heck, let’s admit it: some days it’s nice to just follow. Why? Because the price of leadership is high: you have to make big decisions, take big risks, and put your neck on the chopping block on a daily basis.
However, the follower pays an equally high price. Sure, it looks easier to follow, but that can be a fallacy. As they say, followers have the same view until they get up front. And what if you don’t like where the dog sled is heading? What if you yearn to step out and stop supporting OTHERS 99% of the time?
Here’s the key: Every company or social group has a cult-ure (some more “culty” than others). And you need to figure out where you belong in the hierarchy–or if you even belong at all. That’s why, when you join a company, the first thing to do is size up its cult-ure. What are its tribal customs? Its ceremonial costumes? How deep in do you want to go?
It’s great to be part of a company whose mission you believe in, but it’s perilous to give total allegiance to your boss simply because he or she is in a position of power.(I still remember my boss for the Domino’s Pizza gig constantly hectoring me to “be more like Doug”. But in reality, “being a better Christine” was my real path to success.) Be willing to look the part, but don’t buy the whole program if you don’t believe it. And please, please be clear about why you’re making your choices; every compromise has a cost.
The world needs team players and leaders both. It just helps to figure out whether you’re the right person in the wrong position. So this week, STOP and take the time to look deep inside yourself. Ask the million dollar question: Am I a leader or a follower? Because one isn’t necessarily better than the other; you just need to be clear on which role fits you better. And remember – you might fit different roles in different cultures.
Christine Comaford, The 7 Figure Business Builder, the CEO of Mighty Ventures, Inc. is a NY Times Best Selling Author
PS: If you decide that you’re ready to be a Leader, I’d love you to come work with a group of like-minded leaders (and ME) at my 7 Figure Business Building Summit.