It is tough to follow someone who has not quite learned how to lead. We are tempted to over-help, otherwise known as pushing the struggling person's attempt at leading aside, opting for efficiency over learning opportunities. I have had many patient and gifted teachers in my life, but of equal value to me are the gracious and willing followers who refuse to do it for me, who keep their hands relaxed and pliable, waiting, when they could easily be the ones giving clear direction. These faithful friends see potential in me and sacrifice their own comfort or performance in order to let me learn this difficult and multi-faceted coordination challenge called leadership.
They thrust me into the spotlight and applaud when I falteringly get something right. They are right behind me, offering encouragement forward, but not too proud to step backwards if I need to gather my strength and courage. They are not hesitant to try it again and again, letting me gain confidence and improve my abilties. They will even take a fall and join me on my butt on the floor if that's what needs to happen in order for me to learn from a mistake. They urge me not to give up, not to be too hard on myself, and tell me that yes, I will eventually get it.
It is true that there are not many great leaders in this world, but I say there are not many great followers either. I am taking lessons in both.
This is me and Jaclyn doing Dance Dance Revolution. Photo credit to Dean.