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The Temptation to Jump in front of every Parade!

IMG_3315There’s an old leadership proverb that says – if you want to be a leader, find a parade and jump in front of it.

But the temptation for leaders (those people already leading parades) is to jump in front of and lead every parade that comes by. This is especially tempting when a parade looks like it needs help. The reason leaders do this is because they are people who have the habit of seeing an opportunity to be a difference maker and then jumping in and taking charge of the parade. Often this is just the right thing to do as a leader – because there are many parades desperate for experienced leadership.

But a leader can be too quick to jump in front of another parade. When they do so they often fail to realize they’re taking an opportunity away from a future leader in waiting. Young and inexperienced leaders can rarely compete with veteran parade leaders for these opportunities. But without opportunities it’s difficult to become an experienced parade leader. And the truth is the world needs more veteran parade leaders.

So the next time a parade comes by, make sure your first move isn’t to slide to the front and start leading the band, but instead to look around and find potential leaders who need experience as a parade leader. Then encourage them to jump in front while you walk with them along the parade route encouraging, coaching, supporting, and cheering this new leader on as he or she guides the parade. This will do two important things – first provide you margin and flexibility just in case another parade comes along that really needs you and, second, help ready another parade leader  for a world desperate for leadership.


6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Profound Micheal. As leaders we should never missed the opportunity to develop leadership skills in others. As a visionary this reminds me to check myself and not try to solve everyone’s problems and offer suggestions, this taking that ability away from others

    November 10, 2014
    • Thanks Dr. Charlene, thanks for your comments and insights. As I’m sure your aware when you write, I wrote these words as much a reminder for myself as it was for others. Be courageous!

      November 10, 2014
  2. Tony Voisin #

    Leaders also need to remember that without followers, the parade does not exist.

    November 10, 2014
  3. John Fleming #

    Well said Mike. This is an excellent perspective on several levels.

    November 11, 2014
    • Thanks John. Sometimes I get close to the target :)!

      November 11, 2014

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