The Posture of a Leader – Origins of Lead Change Part 8

by  Mike Henry  |  Leadership Development

In Tribes, Godin talks subtly about the transition in leadership from autocrat to servant. The section is titled The Posture of a Leader. He lists a series of shifts that we need to be aware of. For example, “If you are a student in my class and you don’t learn what I’m teaching, I’ve let you down.”

He goes on, “It’s really easy to insist that people read the manual. It’s really easy to blame the user/student/prospect/customer for not trying hard, for being too stupid to get it, or for not caring enough to pay attention.”

Do you find yourself blaming others? Do we blame those we would like to engage when we have failed to create something that inspires? I’ve often wondered that related to Lead Change. Many people get involved but fail to do much. Some get engaged in an attempt to maximize their benefit from the group. Their relationship with Lead Change is transactional. I spoke with one person a few weeks ago who chose not to become an Instigator in Lead Change “because I can get all of that for free elsewhere.” To which I responded, “You certainly can.”

I often wonder if I fail to explain the ideas about Lead Change Group in a way that people will hear. But I also understand there are (a growing) few who understand that leadership isn’t something you get. Leadership is something you give. Developing as a leader requires that we learn to serve a larger purpose, team, goal, organization, tribe or community. Leaders serve people who share a common goal, objective or mission.

Think about your team, organization or community. Do we continue to behave a particular way and expect people to respond differently than they did before? If I continue to whine about my team’s performance, at some point is their performance my fault or theirs? If I continue to complain about politicians, maybe we get politicians who represent us, look like us and behave like us. Maybe I’m not as different as I’d like to believe. Maybe we’re not who we think we are. Maybe we only have ourselves to blame.

Portrait of man lifting weightsHave you decided to do everything you can? What would happen if you took responsibility to change everything you could in a particular relationship or situation. What types of reactions would you get? Where can you take responsibility today and stop complaining about “them” or “those people”? There is no “they”.

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” Pogo – Walt Kelly, 1971

My hope is that Lead Change will be a place where we can be our best and bring our best self to make a positive difference. Who’s stopping you from taking the lead? What can you do differently today?

In the summer of July 2010, we launched the community blog.  Since that time, we’ve had a number of posts, comments, authors and members.  We just launched a new Google+ community too, thanks to Jon Mertz and Susan Mazza. You don’t like Google+, we’ve got LinkedIn and Facebook too.  We keep trying new things to help people engage and take the lead.  But we don’t have all the answers.  Heck, we don’t even have most of the questions.

But we do have one good question: What can I do to make this community more valuable to you? Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts. My dream is that Lead Change plays an integral part in your decision to change the world.

This is part 8 of a series on the history of the Lead Change Group outlined by examining the book Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin. For links to all the posts click here.

Photo © bst2012 –

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About The Author

Articles By mike-henry
Chief Instigator (Founder) of Lead Change Group and VP of IT for a mid sized technology company. Passionate about character-based leadership and making a positive difference.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Amber-Lee Dibble  |  30 Mar 2013  |  Reply

Hi, I joined Lead Change just this last week and I must admit here, freely, I ALREADY feel as if I am letting the Lead Change Group, myself and my own team down by not taking on more.

Oh, the same reasons flutter through my mind, as I stare at two over-flowing in-boxes, comments to respond to, other people’s mind-blowing posts to read and absorb, raising two children I home school as well as the four trainees that rely on me to prepare them for the lives and future they have chosen for themselves. The business, the paperwork that never ends…. you know, life.

But! I am proud (and a little chagrined as well for not already being in the middle of everything going on here) to be part of Lead Change. I DO, absolutely and utterly want to be PART of making a difference, to my team, yes of course, but more, to the world.

As soon as I have something, a post, an idea, a question… something… I believe is of a value to this group and the conversations, I will share it with you. Please don’t give up on me. I am here. I am listening and learning AND implementing all the knowledge I gather with my team and my own presence (thus “ours”) in life and online.

Mike Henry  |  30 Mar 2013  |  Reply

Thanks for the comment. One of the great things for me is coming to the realization that I can do what I can. Some things go undone. Many people write and participate in “seasons” when they have some time to write and reflect. No rush. Thanks for driving a stake in the ground. That’s a start. Doing the next thing is the key. When it’s time and when you can, do the next thing. The next thing has the power to make significant change happen. When I began this group, all I did was click a button and enter a group description on LinkedIn. The rest of the progress came from doing the next thing.

Here’s to your next thing. Thanks again. Mike…

Teri Roche  |  31 Mar 2013  |  Reply

I really like your point of view. It is so easy to be passive and blame others .

Learning to serve while leading is key. I liked the comment you made when you wrote: “Leadership is something you give. Developing as a leader requires that we learn to serve a larger purpose, team, goal, organization, tribe or community. Leaders serve people who share a common goal, objective or mission.”

I am seeking my inner leader and found your post to be helpful on my journey.

Mike Henry  |  01 Apr 2013  |  Reply

Thanks for the comment. Most of the time we don’t have to travel far to find our “inner leader.” They’re always in there. We just need them to get to work! Thanks again. Mike…

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