What? It makes a difference? Really?
Being visible at the front of the line, sets examples.. that might include General George Patton’s and Napolean’s view “Do everything you ask of those you command.” (How about BE THERE). Many Leaders believe that “leading and being seen” positively influences those under their command to follow directions with a higher degree of confidence and commitment than they would if they were not visible.
By comparison, what’s Leading-from-behind (LFB) mean? What might it look like? What are some of the Pros and Cons of these two Leadership styles? If you buy-in to the logic of Lead-from-the-Front (LFF) you might see the LFB style as choosing to be “disengaged”. If you have never been to the front lines of battle, can you really know what is going on? Can you really know what is working and why, or the opposite?
But are there Pros for LFB leaders? Yes, there are. One of the benefits of LFB leadership, can be summed up in the term “perspective”. If you, the leader, are too caught up in, too immersed in, the day-to-day things, you can lose sight of the big picture, the greater goal.
So, in this 21st century, you might be best served by finding a balance between the two styles.
So, (yes, another SO), an example of LFF might be working side by side with your direct reports to get their buy in on one of your priorities. LFB might look like “delegating”. Delegating, sharing power and growing people out of respect, letting them take the credit (LFB) By the way, General Patton also led from behind. There were times he needed a bigger picture and recognized that he could get more things done through “his armies” than he could do himself. (My Dad told me this. He served under Patton.) IKR.
Put it to the test.