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Always an intelligent and different way to look at things.

By Alexandra (originally posted July 4, 2023 on her Flickr page)

Just me, with foot askew.

I was thinking of something in the shower yesterday. I do a lot of thinking in the shower. And on this day, a celebration of U.S. independence, something of substance emerged from my musings.

In American culture, and clearly in many other cultures, leaders are revered and followers not so much. We admire leaders, especially those that are “good,” and love to hate leaders with darker ambitions. We’re even fascinated by leaders who are monstrous, capable of murdering millions. In my experience, and in my reading, most leaders fumble about, guided mainly by arrogance and whim and rarely by reason and compassion. A few “leaders,” for example, created the nightmare that was World War I.

But what of followers? Are followers lemmings? Drones? Idiots? No. Followers are a mix of all that remain, those who do the actual work. The forgotten. The rarely profiled and written about. The common man and woman. Most have little or no desire to lead for to do so is to invite hubris, unwanted attention, the potential to hurt and even kill. Followers actually build civilization. They…we…do our thing and make the world go ’round.

I am proud to be a follower. I have no desire to be a CEO, though I like working for one who has her shit together. I have no desire to manage, even though I must do so for our company to be successful. I have no desire to be a director of a movie, though I would love to work behind the scenes. I have no desire to be President of the United States, though it would be marvelous to be a policy advisor in the White House. I have no desire to lead an army into battle, though I have no problem marching behind a commander with strategic and tactical genius. I have no desire to win a Nobel Prize in some scientific or peaceful pursuit, though I enjoy the results of work conducted by those that have.

Following is not something to be ashamed of. Unless you follow the wrong leader. And this happens far too often. Ask yourself who you chose to follow.

Are they of exceptional character and compassionate? Are they intelligent, well-read, and worldly? Are they versed in the sciences and arts? Do they exhibit critical thinking skills? Do they have wit, poise, dignity, and all those other things representative of the ideal human condition? In short, are they good people?

Or are they shifty, ignorant, and devoid of character? Are they wracked by mental illness masquerading as confidence and strength? Have they shunned books, people who look and act differently from themselves? Use religion as a prop? Speak poorly and dress as buffoons? Bark instead of speak?

Part of the problem is that one person’s good leader is another’s poor leader. And that means that the leader isn’t the one with power, the follower is. And that, I suppose, is the point I’m trying to make.

The lady in the background is thoroughly unimpressed 😀

Dress: Rabbit

Shoes: Katy Perry

Hosiery: Cecilia de Rafael


3 Responses

  1. Excellent observations about leadership and followership. Great leaders are deeply aware that they are servants, to their team, to their enterprise and to society.

    Great picture. Beautiful and classy as usual!

  2. Alexandra,
    That’s quite a question do we lead or do we follow ? Do I consider myself a leader because I was a self employed photographer for thirty years ? At the time I never gave that a thought , I saw it as ploughing my own furrow , having to come up with solutions to satisfy my clients , so was I following their needs , or were they being lead by my ideas ? I guess it was a balance between the two , so does that make a good leader because they are open minded to others ? I had to learn fairly quickly how to read people , to understand what they really wanted but at the same time they had to trust my judgement and knowledge of my trade .
    A true leader has to be philosophical , accept he may be the chosen leader but he may not have been the best choice , there is always someone who could be better suited . In life all we hope is we do our best , how many walks of life have ordinary people been thrust into leadership and astounded themselves ? I have had moments when I’ve looked back and said to myself , ” I can’t believe I’ve just done that ” . It reminds me of Amanda’s current post , ” I dare you ” . Perhaps sometimes we need to push ourselves to truly find us .

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