Leading from Behind


Shelondra Peavy – Contributing Writer  |  Leadership is typically defined as a person’s ability to have others follow them willingly. However, it is not good enough for an individual to have a powerful cause or vision. Rather, it is necessary for that person to also passionately articulate their cause and vision in a clear enough fashion where others will become interested in supporting their overall purpose and plan.
For the most part, effective leadership requires magnetic elements such as passion, charisma, integrity, dedication, the ability to inspire, and the ability to convey thoughts and plans in a very concise and comprehensive manner.

Furthermore, there are several different styles of leadership, but perhaps the most honorable style of leadership is “servant leadership.” The leaders who choose to lead in this way are ones who humbly recognize that, in essence, they are no better than their followers. What’s more is; instead of being self-exalting, a “servant leader” is one who would prefer to elevate everyone else first. Leaders who choose this role of humility also are keenly aware of the fact that their status does not make them a god over others and that they will strengthen the entire unit by essentially being a servant to their followers; rendering assistance to them in whatever area they need it the most.

Many leaders could really benefit themselves as well as everyone else if they were to learn how to lead from behind, because if a person is always out front, they cannot see if any of their followers in the rear should happen to fall by the wayside. But of course, leading from behind can sound a tad bit undesirable for the average type of leader, since it is often difficult for them to let go of their limelight and allow someone else to “go first” or to “be seen.”

Truthfully, it takes a special sort of person to have the ability to let others move to the forefront as he or she watches from behind, making sure that everything runs smoothly. Servant leadership is best likened to the position of a shepherd, suitably noting how a shepherd watches his flock from behind, making sure that his entire flock remains unharmed and on course.

When asked to describe an ideal leader, most folk would place emphasis on traits such as intellect, discipline, determination, and power. Although these qualities are traditionally associated with leadership, such attributes are necessary but insufficient qualities for a truly effective leader. Often times, softer and more personal qualities are left off of the list, but they are probably most essential. Moreover, although a certain degree of technical and analytical skills are minimum requirements for success in leadership; studies have indicated that emotional intelligence could actually be the key element that differentiates outstanding leaders from others who merely suffice as leaders.

Whether a leader is out front or somewhere in the background, it’s vital for them to remember to keep their vision, cause, end goal, and their followers at the forefront of their mind and also at the forefront of their mission.

Note to Reader: Contributing Writer Shelondra Peavy welcomes your input, requests, and suggestions! You may call her directly at 281-217-6579.


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