As I was siting in church on Sunday, listening to the sermon, it was focused on sheep.
The priest was talking to children who were ready to receive their first communion. The focus of his sermon was on sheep and how they are in a herd and follow each other. He then segued into lambs, which he equated these children to be, and that the sheep actually take care of the lambs, nurturing and supporting them until they grow to become sheep.
Leaders are the sheep of an organization. Their role is to nurture and inspire their workers so they will perform at their best, be more engaged in the work they do, and have better interpersonal relationships, all of which leads to a happier workplace.
Sheep have been around for a while, in comparison to lambs; they have experience in leading others and managing the system and environment. As sheep herd together, staying within their milieu, they are adept at ensuring it stays this way.
An effective leader has their finger on the pulse of their environment and keeping their team working as one. They spend time with their team, observing work habits and asking questions on the work done, and have frequent conversations with employees to give and receive feedback.
An interesting fact about sheep is that they like to walk into the wind and uphill, as opposed to going downhill, with the wind on their back. Effective leaders don’t take the easy way out – they set work goals that challenge their workers to go up the hill, knowing that it uses their strengths and skills and enhances their professional development.
There are some sheep who take the lead more than others but they respect their roles. They have an innate sense in their ability and responsibility for the members of the herd. Likewise, effective leaders have this same awareness and work to ensure that each member understands their work goals and responsibilities; they will pitch in when needed (ala Servant Leadership). Good leaders never forget where they came from to get to their present state, and they own their role and take responsibility for the team, knowing it starts and ends with them.
Leadership is not easy, especially as one rises up the ladder. To be truly effective as a leader, it takes self-awareness, empathy and respect for others, all of which result in those lambs following in line; placing the focus on these lambs, and their development, is what grows them into sheep who will work for the good of the herd, i.e. the team.
(As an aside, you can keep a picture of a sheep on your desk or screensaver as a reminder of their leadership purpose, so you can adopt them, too!)
I help to create leaders from the inside out; helping small business owners to CEOs find the clarity and confidence to lead their organizations to profitability. If you’d like to learn more and how to get the most out of yourself, and your people, we’re here to serve. We have our Fableader program where we will:
- Look at your goals, challenges you are facing, and opportunities you might be missing.
- Uncover any hidden problems that may be sabotaging your desired results
- Create an action plan and implement it together so that you finally get the results you have been looking for but were unable to find.
- Address challenges that come up along the way, leaving you feeling renewed, re-energized, and inspired to take action and get faster results