Leading Behind the Flock

by Jesse Lahey on August 8, 2014

Happy smiling business team standing in a row at office

While reading the new book Collective Genius in preparation for my upcoming interview with former Pixar tech wizard Greg Brandeau, I was reminded by this powerful insight:

“A leader … is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow, not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind.” ~ Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

It’s deceptively simple. And very difficult; most of us as leaders prefer to jump out in front and “take the lead.”

It reminds me of an insight by another leader from history who often based illustrations on the very simple profession of sheep-herding:

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” ~ Jesus, Matthew 20:16

 

You may also be interested in: 14 Leadership Lessons from the Unconquerable Soul of Nelson Mandela

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