Is Your Leadership More Like A Locomotive Or The Loco-motion?

“Just because you’re at the front of the line, it doesn’t mean you’re the leader.”
-Author Unknown

We’ve all seen a locomotive. It typically sits at the front of a long line of railroad cars. The locomotive is crucial because it has all the power. That power is used to pull all of the other cars down the track. When this happens, we call it a train.

You may or may not be familiar with “The Loco-motion.” The Loco-motion is a dance. But before it was a dance it was a song. According to Wikipedia…

“The Loco-Motion” is a 1962 pop song written by American songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The song is notable for appearing in the American Top 5 three times – each time in a different decade: for Little Eva in 1962 (U.S. #1); for Grand Funk Railroad in 1974 (U.S. #1); and for Kylie Minogue in 1988 (U.S. #3).

Here is a YouTube video of the song being performed by Grand Funk Railroad. 70’s Warning!: There’s a reason why these guys use the words grand and funk in their name.

Here’s the comparisons. Which one best describes your style of leadership?

LOCOMOTIVE

1. Get in line.
Followers move toward the destination by falling in line behind the leader.

2. Pulled along.
Followers are dependent on the energy of the leader to move forward.

3. Powered through the leader’s capacity.
The team gets better only when the leader gets bigger.

4. Controlling.
Everyone does exactly what the leader does.


5. Connected by proximity.

Followers see their team as a line and know everyone’s place on it.

6. Fixed.
There’s only one way to get from here to there and you’re a failure if you don’t follow it.

7. Exclusive.
The Locomotive Leader says, “You can’t without me.”

LOCO-MOTION

1. Get moving.
Followers move toward the destination by reflecting the example of the leader.

2. Self-propelled.
Followers invest their energy with the energy of the leader to move forward.

3. Powered through the team’s participation.
The team gets better when the team gets bigger.

4. Creative.
Everyone experiments with what the leader does.

5. Connected by community.
Followers see their team as a circle and get to know everyone who’s in it.

6. Fun.
There are many ways to get from here to there and you’re a failure if you don’t try.

7. Inclusive.
The Loco-Motion Leader says, “C’mon, c’mon and do the loco-motion with me!”

 

You might have guessed that I am more inclined toward “The Loco-motion” style of leadership. I think we need some new metaphors for leadership. We live in an era where leadership is becoming less about “command and control” are more about “inspire and influence. Now that you’ve seen the comparison, which type of leader would you rather be?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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