Leadership is a dynamic process requiring a leader to adjust his or her personal leadership style depending on the situation he or she encounters. For this reason a leader needs to learn “how” and “when” to lead from the three vantage points of leadership. For instance, most of the time leaders will lead their followers from the front by exerting their influence and authority. Then there are moments when a leader needs to be among his or her followers to take a pulse of their wellbeing, connect and build relationship. Other times a leader empowers followers through delegation and encouragement, this is leading from behind. A good leader knows when to adjust his or her leadership style to fit the moment. The three vantage points of leadership are:
1. Leading from the “front”
How does one lead from the front? Frontal leadership requires one to lead with character and competence, then communicating an inspiring vision that instills purpose, which motivates followers. A leader in this phase is decisive, and displays courage. Leading from the front is not always easy; many times people will not agree with your decisions. A leader takes risks no one else is willing to take and takes responsibility for his or her actions.
2. Leading from “among” your people
Leading from among your people requires a leader to be highly interactive, engaging followers with questions, being personal by caring for their needs, showing genuine compassion, and at times following up to ensure team members needs are met. Leaders take on a “shepherding” role during this phase of leadership. Great leaders purposefully set out to know their team’s strengths and weaknesses then train each one accordingly. A leader is highly interactive at this point and makes purposeful connections, while building influence and loyalty.
3. Leading from “behind”
Leading from behind does not mean that one abdicates their leadership role, authority or becomes a passive leader. Rather a leader from this vantage point empowers through delegation, encouragement, and following up by providing honest feedback that redirects followers in a positive way. Leaders who lead from this vantage point empower by providing what their team members need to do an effective job.
How do you lead others? Have you led from anyone of these three vantage points before? Reflect on them. Which vantage point do you feel more comfortable leading from? List your strongest suit? Weakest? How can you improve as a leader?