Oh, you want to be a leader? Willy Wonka on Leadership

If you want to be a leader, you must first be a follower.

I’m definitely not the first person to suggest that.

But I am probably the first to do so using a Willy Wonka meme.

So, who are you following?

Who is making you a better leader?

Who is leading you?

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  • I speak to many “leaders” that don’t listen to anyone. They don’t follow anyone, but themselves when it comes to leadership. They think everything should be based on gut decisions and past experience. This is such a limited way of leading.

    With that being said, it’s always exciting to introduce them to some of the amazing resources that are out there (like this blog and Let’s Grow Leaders of course).

    • That is a great approach Bob. And @letsgrowleaders:disqus is a GREAT blog that I have learned a ton from in a short time. I think it was Eric Dingler that introduced me to it and I am very thankful.

  • As a leader, I try to follow Christ. I also try to learn from other Christian leaders because it is what aligns with my values. It is very hard to do this in a secular environment sometimes. I don’t think I would be in my current role had it not been for an awesome, faith-centered online leadership community. Thanks, Matt for being a very important leader in my life!

    • The ultimate leader indeed Lily.

      Thank you for your kind words too. That means more than you could ever know.

    • Well Lily, after reading your comment, I’d like to wave the white flag on my comments! You are right, the Savior is certainly an important leader in my life and a great (the greatest) leader that one could follow and emulate.

  • Great point Karin.

    I do the same but not as much as I used to in golf. I used to pick and choose what I liked about certain players. I would pick the swings of players with similar builds, the mental approach of players with similar personalities, etc.

    Then I would study them in-depth.

  • Hmmm… who do I follow? Wow. There’s a ton. I don’t know if I can list them all. Maybe what I’ll do is list my criteria for who I follow. It’s gotta be someone who has been somewhere or done something that I would like to do. It has to be a person that has lived their standards and morals, regardless of the situation. It has to be a person who is generous and giving with their wisdom, experience and knowledge.
    I’m a strong believer that you can only be a leader if you are a follower. I have sooo many people who I go to for inspiration, guidance, and wisdom. Some personally, some through books and blogs, some through podcasts, some through watching them from afar. But I follow nonetheless.
    Great thought provoking question Matt! Thanks!

  • I think Willy Wonka was a great leader. He can get people excited about his work. Not to mention his great compassion toward his workers. He creates a fun and encouraging culture in his factory. He works at teaching character to others as well.

    There are several people that I try to follow. Christ is number one, but there are others at my church and work that I try to follow and learn from. There are also dozens of people I follow online, gleaning from their blogs and podcasts.

    • You are right…he was a pretty good leader now that I think about it :)

  • Matt Davis

    This reminds me of a TED Talks I recently watched. The speaker discusses starting a movement, but some of the underlying lessons are about being a leader by being a follower first. I think it’s definitely an aspect that’s overlooked by a lot of people that would think of themselves as leaders.

    Here’s a link to the TED Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement.html

    • I love that video…one of my top 5 TED talks of all time!

  • Matt McWilliams, Brad Lomenick, Michael Hyatt, Joe Lalonde, and a number of local people in my life.