If You Lead They Will Follow

When I was a young man, I never thought I would be a leader. I was highly-driven, knew what I wanted, and willing to do anything to reach my goals. In my mind, that was all I needed to succeed.

As I moved up the radio ranks, doing my own thing wasn’t working so well. It wasn’t that I stopped working hard. It wasn’t unusual to start preparing my evening show at 7 AM. My performance was winning more than ever. But it was also causing frustration among the staff. Not to mention that I also kept getting fired.

In my view, I was making us the top station in the market. In everybody else’s opinion, I was a crazy Disc Jockey making a mess for them to clean up. They loved the results, but it was hard to support a guy intent on causing an 8.5 earthquake when he opened his mouth.

I wasn’t blind to a problem I was causing, so I called a mentor for advice one day. He said,

“Leaders cast the vision to others and never stop. Your job is to communicate where the team is heading and support them while they support you. Yes, you know what you want, but you are also confusing everybody else. That’s something you need to fix.”

The next day at a staff meeting, I had a chance to speak, and I decided it might be useful to be humble, respect the team, let them know my vision for success. I also asked for their help.

In the years that followed, we had more fun and made more money. I was never fired again, and I started getting much better offers. And, to this day, I always remember to cast my vision to others and to support them in theirs.

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