Here is a quote I heard in church regarding the spatial relationships of people: If you are 1 step in front of the people you are a leader, if you are 2 steps in front of the people you are a pioneer and if you are 3 steps in front of people you are a martyr.
The paradigm this quote presents has helped me to rightly judge the actions of someone who I admire. Pioneers don’t necessarily want to have a large people following them. Pioneers are people who are opening up new lines of thinking or activity. I think of Steve Jobs as a pioneer. He was a creative genius who changed how we live. Great pioneers are often misclassified as great leaders.
Martyrs are so committed to a cause they are willing to die for it. While martyrs do try to influence others to their line of thinking, their death or major sacrifice is the greatest influencer. This may be because their idea or belief is so radical that it takes a jarring action to get people to sincerely take notice.
Leaders are influencers; they have relationships with people. The highest form of leadership is people follow you because they choose to – regardless of your title. The lowest form of leadership is people follow you because of the title or paycheck you hold over them. Leaders are one step in front of people; they are the closest to the people in the Leader – Pioneer – Martyr paradigm. If you read Part 1 and have made the decision that you want to be a leader you should do the following steps.
Actions you can take to build relationships:
- Get to know each of your team members story. Everyone has a story and wants to share it.
- Make a habit of acknowledging every step of progress on towards the teams goals. This is done both individually and as a team.
- Set expectations on how the team should work together, but don’t cross over into setting expectations on how they should do their work
- Let them know what they should expect of you
- Ask for accountability
From Rules to Relationships Part 1 can be read here.