Lead, Follow, Or GET OUT OF THE WAY

Writing prompt from Sunday Scribblings.

Coming from a large family of nine children, I learned early that if I didn’t want to have someone step on the back of my heels, I would have to “get out of the way.” When four of the nine are boys, you can get trampled easily.

However, it wasn’t until I joined the Navy that I realized what it meant to be a leader and follower. If you have ever been in the military, you will understand what I am trying to say. If you haven’t, let me explain.

When I was in the Navy in Panama, I had a chief who was a ditherer. He had to talk through any decision and even then he wasn’t sure if it was right or wrong. I don’t know how he made it into a leadership position. But, one day I accidently heard my Warrant officer give him a dressing down… he used the exact words “lead, follow, or get out of the f***ing way.”

When I am in the front of the line (Post office, store, or school), when I get ready to dither, I remember those words and I step aside for the next person. In a few moments, when I am ready, I can take charge. I don’t need to ruin someone else’s day because I am not ready (or squared away as the military saying goes).

When I find myself procrastinating, (which I do often), I remember these wise words and decide if I can do the job. If I can’t, I get out of the way and let someone else who has better knowledge or skills do it. I don’t know it all and I don’t have it all.

But when I know it, I lead. When I don’t, I follow.