The hike to the next village was not straight. The Camino de Santiago in northern Spain sometimes gives you different routes to choose from. We were warned before we left. There would be a crossroad and we needed to take the right path and not the left path.
After walking several kilometers (miles) I looked up as we stopped. There was a sign telling us that we had taken the left path – the wrong path.
We backtracked and found where we had gone wrong.
This happened again a couple of days later. Same scenario: crossroads and we needed to take the path on the right.
The first time I had my head down and was just following the people in front of me without checking for signs on my own.
The second time I saw where we were to go right and should have said something but wasn’t too sure. The leader hadn’t thought to get the map.
I have identified 4 tips for leadership and “followship” through these experiences:
1. Don’t always follow the crowd. They may seem cool & confident but they could be mistaken. Make sure you look for the signs that point the right way. You must first lead your own self before you can properly lead others.
2. Don’t be afraid to have directions or stop and ask for them. Having the map and not needing it is the better than not having something and getting stuck.
3. As a follower, don’t be afraid to speak up and voice your opinion. Your leader, no matter how good he is, is still human and susceptible to fallibility.
And finally, number 4: as a leader, don’t be afraid to hear the opinions of those who may be under you. They may see a better route from their perspective. Value their ideas and as a team you can go further together.