Lead From the Front: Inspiring Followers
“Courage: the right attitude towards feeling of fear and confidence. What we ought and ought not to fear.” Aristotle
Leading from the front requires a lot of courage, much like Aristotle stated, the leader must know what to fear and what not to fear. Leading with courage will inspire followers. When leading, leaders must be confident in themselves and in front of their followers. If you picture George Washington at Valley Forge, you seem him riding in the boat across the Potomac River, standing proudly in front of his men, leading them to victory.
This is where many followers in have been inspired. Through great leaders such as George Washington many men went against the odds driven by their trust and motivation. Washington had the keen ability to inspire others to follow him. Bass’s model shows that under transformational leadership that the second factor is inspirational motivation. Northouse (2016) wrote that “this factor is descriptive of leaders who communicate high expectations to followers, inspiring them through motivation to become committed to and a part of the shared vision in the organizations” (p. 169).
In this sense of leading from the front, picture a soccer coach in the locker room standing in front of their players to inspire them do their best. Here we also see how communication plays a role in to inspire followers. Most would agree that you communicate things in front of followers not behind them to effectively deliver your message.
In a study conducted by the Leadership and Organization Development Model they studied the culture of a department lacking morale and work ethic. They found that “Randy’s (the new manager) goals were to exhibit and show enthusiasm for the mission of the department” (Schraeder, Tears, and Jordan, 2005, p. 499). Effectiveness of this was measured by the amount of requesting to work in his department. There were more individuals requesting transfer than available positions.
In context Randy, by setting the example was leading followers to come to him. These followers felt the need to allow Randy to inspire them based upon the motivation in his department. Additionally they showed that “rating from the students improved in eight of the ten rating areas and the senior leadership publicly highlights the excellence in the department” (p. 501).
Randy in coming into the department was leading through his goals, vision, and communication to inspire followers. This along with continuous communication of his vision and goal, was leading from the front with the purpose to inspire. Results speak for themselves, and in this case leading from the front provided the power to inspire followers to perform better and improving. To inspire others by showing them what to do, is leading others to follow.
Keywords: Leading, Inspire, Followers