Last Sunday was Father's Day, so out of love and respect for my Dad, today I'd like to discuss some of his advice on the subject of leadership. My father has a lot of experience and passion for the subject of leadership, especially in politics.  We’ve come to accept that he is “opinionated,” and you’ve got to appreciate someone who takes a stand and doesn’t hold back when he has a well-researched, well thought out point of view.

My father’s engineering background formed him to be a “black and white” kind of guy.
According to Dad, “There are two kinds of people in the world – Leaders and Followers.”
What he meant, which I agree with, is that in situations where you have to think hard, gather the facts, come up with a direction, take a stand, engage others in supporting and following that direction and following through to create results consistent with that vision, you either are a leader or a follower. Leadership does require intellectual effort, communication skills, emotional intelligence, a clear sense of purpose and persistence. 

Great leaders also pay significant attention to development, both their own personal development as well as the development of other leaders.

What I disagree with is the notion that a person is either a leader or a follower by nature, regardless of the situation.  A person with wisdom knows when to lead and when to follow others, when to watch and wait, and when to help peers understand why they should follow a given leader in a particular direction. Does that make a person a leader or a follower?  I say they are not mutually exclusive.

What do you think? What's your opinion about leading and following? Put your thoughts and questions in the comments below, or send me an e-mail. I'd love to hear from you.

Author's Bio: 

Jonathan Flaks, M.C.C., Business Success Coach - Since 1998, Jonathan has been helping entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals focus on and reach ambitious goals, maintain continuous confidence and motivation, and achieve balanced success. Jonathan maintains a Master Certified Coach distinction from the International Coach Federation. He earned a dual degree from Cornell University and was Adjunct Professor in Business Leadership and Coaching Skills for New York University. Clients have come from BMG Entertainment, Morgan-Stanley-Smith-Barney, KPMG, Disney, Deloitte, Honeywell, Goldman Sachs, and many entrepreneurial and professional service firms. If you want to start every week with a positive, confident attitude, visit Monday Morning Mini-Motivation Meetings.