A few years ago now on a summer weekend afternoon, I had a conversation with my girlfriend at the time, Charlene, that has stuck in my head quite a bit over recent years. We had made plans to spend the day together, and she had just arrived outside my condo for the two of us to go off on our adventure.
She asked me “So, where do you want to go ?”
Having only lived in my current city for about a year I replied “I don’t know this area very well, why don’t you take me somewhere ?”
She was stunned a bit for a second then said “You know, I don’t think I have ever been asked that before, everyone always takes me everywhere.”
After a bit of thinking, Charlene took me on an amazing tour of the area, including two wonderful lakes, one of which had a huge sand building competition on it that day, which Charlene had already been aware of, and the other had a great cliff side view of the surrounding forest and lake which we first ate lunch at, and then hiked down for a private swim. After we hiked back up to the car she then took me to a great restaurant for dinner where we stayed for several hours afterwords to drink beer and listen to the live blues band.
I found it quite amazing that no one had ever asked Charlene in all her thirty years of living in the same area, where she wanted to go. This though of course was of great benefit to me, because by her sitting in the passenger seat all these years, she had collected a huge knowledge of good things to do, and the best of it all this knowledge had been delivered to me on this day. Needless to say I wanted to see more the next time she came over, and she had more than a few days of things for us to do that were of great interest, all of which I added to my own list of things to do in the area when people visited me from out of town.
I wondered a bit more to myself why no one had ever asked her before what she wanted to do, she was often quiet, but quite obviously bright. I am guessing it was mostly because in groups there is usually that one person that really feels the need to lead everyone all the time, and that was just not the way she was. Usually those that force themselves on us as the leader are a type “A” personality, and Charlene was defiantly not one of these.
Now don’t get me wrong, leadership is a wonderful thing, and necessary if you want to get things done efficiently, you need a leader. I lead my household around most of the time, but not always, and I also lead my employees, but feeling the need to be leading everyone around all of the time, is a massive weakness of personality in my books.
In my opinion, constant leaders usually have the least knowledge of anyone in the group, as all of their less than vast knowledge is quickly shared to the masses who usually, due to their ability to sometimes follow, both individually and collectively know more. So if you yourself feel the need to lead constantly, you might want to consider taking a back seat sometimes to let a more knowledgeable person show you around, that way when you do take control, people won’t always be quietly wishing they were somewhere else.