A Blog by John Bossong

Great Leaders Lead While Being Led

Are you willing to lead while being led?  Seems like a pretty simple question for a leader.  You lead others but you also follow and learn.  Can you humble yourself and be led?

Do you consider yourself equal with your employees?  Do you strive for consensus? Or, do you exert power, authority and position?  One creates a team of like-mined employees who believe in the organization’s mission and the other a lack of trust and fear.

Leaders who focus on leading while being led treat subordinates with respect and dignity.  They value their input and their differences.   Every idea counts.  They learn and grow with their subordinates.  The goal is interdependence.


13 Things You Learn When You Are Led

  1. How to lead
  2. How to empower
  3. How to expand the reach of your communication
  4. How to delegate and let go
  5. How to respect the thoughts and ideas of your subordinates
  6. How to transfer your vision
  7. How to listen
  8. How to earn trust
  9. How to earn respect
  10. How to be inspired
  11. How to be motivated
  12. How to take credit for failure and give credit for success
  13. How to unleash the power of independent thought

It’s difficult to lead.  But it can be even harder to be led.  Don’t fear letting others lead you.  Embrace it.  You’re not giving up a position or authority.

Leadership isn’t about position or authority.  So, there’s nothing to give up.

It’s your choice.  Lead and be led.

What can you do to be led every day while leading? 


  1. Good point, John. I can’t think of any management position not requiring the need to follow combined with the need to lead. The most difficult balancing act is knowing WHEN to lead and when to follow, and that definitely requires skill and practice (and a lot of feedback).

    • Skip – you are right, I struggle with that balance. I learn a lot more when I open up and let myself be led. It isn’t always at work though, my kids amaze me and lead me, my wife and friends as well. Take care and thanks for the great point. You should right a post on that balance.


  2. John, Thank you for this post. Leading and being led are akin to the complementary muscles supporting every move we make. We must have ABDUCTION and ADDUCTION for our movements to be purposeful and coordinated. How we think we can be strong, purposeful and coordinated in our leadership without being led…. hmm. Pause for deep thought! Patti Warkentin


  1. [...] Great Leaders Lead While Being Led Dec 7th 2012, 11:57 [...]

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