Leaders vs. Followers

People, we have been trained by a vague understanding of what exactly defines a leader vs. a follower...

In the shower, I got to thinking, and a couple of metaphors came to mind…

[Phlip note – “in the shower/car/office/torture chamber" is how a great many of these might find themselves beginning]

Why is it that we allow ourselves to let our heroes and their sidekicks define what we think of as a leader versus a follower?

Stay with me here…

As anyone who knows me knows, I am MADLY a basketball fanatic and while I can concede that the combination of Cheese Eyes’ on-court contribution and off-court influence combine to make him the best player we have yet seen, I am STILL of the opinion that he was as much a co-leader of that team than he could have EVER been the hands-down leader.

Stick a pin in that, it will come up later in the post.

Okay, with that said, I am sure that some of you are thinking “well what in the blue hell is he talking about?
Think about it like this. Who would you rather have on your team; one dude who is head and shoulders above EVERYONE you might put in front of him – paired with 4 who know PRECISELY their roles and 500% willing to play them – or do you want 5 (or 3 out of 5) dudes who ALL feel as if they are (or can be) top motherfucking dog and have that fact cause the division that will make you second-at-best?

Think about that long and hard [pause…] before continuing on here…

There, you ready?

Thank you!
Sometimes, our leadership is not what is to be taken to mean that we are the driver, so much as the navigator. Necessity to be ‘da man’ is not paramount when our eyes are fixed on the prize. Yes, Jordan has 6 rings and Kobe has (as of this writing) 5… If not for Scottie Maurice Pippen and Derek Lamar Fisher, respectively; none of us who happen to be rational thinkers can imagine ANY of these eleven titles to be, honestly.

[Phlip note – I am not ignoring the contributions of ANYONE on either team, but that is not where I am going in this]


That dude in the office that comes in 10 minutes early, looks about the company intranet site and bookmarks shit for what you think is nothing and you think is wasting his time – but ALWAYS has the RIGHT answer – yeah, that dude? Is he a follower, is he a sheep, or is he making his job easier for the greater good of anyone who can hear him speak when he bothers?
Do these elements make that dude a leader or a follower?
With the facts being as they are, his motions that leave him prepared for the day and perhaps come off as a bit of a kiss-ass even if he speaks to no one in general show that he concedes to his established leadership while still operating as a team player.

Does this fall into our established norms as to what a leader OR a follower are?
hell no!

Does the simple fact that he is not in a position of authority – normally reserved for the douche-canoe in the room – make him a “follower,” as understood?
FUCK no!

That is the second (after the kiss-ass, naturally) that management will call on for help after the one who announced their prowess and failed in a hailstorm of excuses and cover-ups.

Back to the Jordan/Pippen situation…
it is now 2010… Jordan has been out of the league for 12 years (I will not recognize the Washington Wizards Debacle), and in the current league we find a whole generation who would do best to fashion themselves after him. In my mind, however, the most valuable players on EACH of those teams is the dude who concedes that his role is to play his role and uses that to play it to the abso-fucking-lute HEIGHT of value available.
Did the late-80s/90s Bulls have a clearcut leader?
HELL yes!
Can we use the finished product as an example of what “co-leadership in the face of precedent” means?
FUCK yes!

Current-league comparisons…
Those as-described Bulls had what they had.

Look at what we have now, and look at what it has netted on the in-between. By “in-between,” I will only be bothered to look at the current league/season situation.

L.A. Lakers…
Kobe is Jordan, Pau Gasol is Pippen…
Yes, I know that Gasol is – and even in this writer’s opinion – the league MVP if records and current trends continue, but still….
Derek Fisher is STILL Derek Fisher, and now Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom CAN NOT be ignored in their roles.
Does playing your role to the fullest extent of your ability make you a “follower”?
Or does it make you just as much a leader as the dude whose name is on the marquee EVERY night? Do you bitch about shared attention – in overt or covert action – or do you show your leadership by sharing it for the greater good?

Miami Heat…
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are playing the same games as they did before they were teammates… Since this leads the team(s) to (have) WATCHED them play, the “co-leaders” approach becomes a competition and not a cooperation. Sorry, folks... Batman and Superman would not have made a good team.

[Phlip note – word to the Spirit of Truth]

The end results of this comparison are proof-in-the-pudding… The team that was expected to run tables is disappointing and hanging dangerously close to .500 ball, while the most underrated 2-time champions are continuing the behavior that made them 2-time champions completely under the radar.

Using my long-drawn sports metaphor, is it deniable how valuable it is to use one’s understanding of role played in the grand scheme of leadership? Properly playing your role does not a follower one make. Instead, it makes a smart winner with mind on the greater good.

Drop the “alpha dog/queen bitch” mentality, folks, it gets you nowhere.

and this does not apply only to sporting, this is some life shit... Robin was just as much a hero as Batman, and that has just as much to do with his willingness to concede to leadership, as opposed to assuming that he was worthy of it himself and spoiling the greater good.

Sport and art imitate real life, and that is why there is so much ad revenue in them.


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