Leadership LO11348

Tue, 10 Dec 1996 11:29:02 -0800

Replying to LO11336 --

Rol Fessenden has given us a very good summary of what makes a leader. I
would like to suggest a slightly different thread, namely that there is a
difference between leaders and pioneers.
Leaders generally know that they are leading. Even if they don't set
out to become leaders, they usually discover at some point that people are
following them, and this recognition has an impact on them. Knowledge that
one is a leader becomes part of one's "mental model" of leading.
Leaders are usually about two steps ahead of their followers. They have
to be ahead, or they wouldn't be leading, but they cannot be so far ahead
that they cannot see their followers or their followers cannot see them.
Pioneers, on the other hand, are usually five or more steps ahead of
everyone else. They don't pay attention to whether anyone is following or
not, because this knowledge would make little or no difference to them.
They are driven by a "greater purpose," which may be something spiritual,
ethical, or even self-serving. If they are not too far ahead, they and
their "vision" will be observed by one or more leaders, who will decipher
and translate their work to others, who will then follow the leader. These
leaders may remain faithful to the path of the pioneer, or they may
conscript the "vision/mission" for themselves and take it where they
wish--as long as others continue to follow.
It has been said that it is lonely at the top. Leaders are not lonely.
They are, in fact, very popular. Pioneers are solitary, but they may or
may not be lonely. More than likely, the issue is simply moot for them.
The ones who really suffer are the ones who are about three to five steps
ahead of others: they are ahead far enough to be pioneers but not so far
that they have lost the desire to be leaders. That is, they want to lead,
but no one is following, because they are too far ahead for people to see
them or their destination.
This pattern can be seen in business, politics, religion, or any other
social domain.

Bob Ingram
Ingram Communications
Union City, CA



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