I’ve used this analogy so often and for so many years that I almost forgot to write it down.
Imagine you are holding a long piece of thread outstretched before you. You, the leader, are on that thread and just a short way behind you are the followers. Now followers like to progress, which means they are moving along that thread towards you.
Now assuming you want to retain your position as a leader, how do you ensure that they don’t catch up. here are some wrong answers:
- Try to stop those at the back from moving forwards. Best done by holding on to things and stop the followers from taking them on.
- Try stretch yourself as wide along the piece of thread as possible. As well as holding on to things try to pick up new things as well.
But these actions inevitably lead to blockages and conflict.
If you want to move forwards then you simply have to let things go and let the followers take them up. That way you get the capacity to learn new things and so you move along the thread.
You can even be proactive about it and push things to the followers to speed up the movement. They might be reluctant to do this, but if they can see that this is progress along the thread, not some random act of management, then that nearly always works.