A Lion or a Sheep?

I’ve got a question for you.

Well, it’s not my question, but I think it can teach us a lot! The question was originally posed by Alexander the Great. He asked, What would you be more afraid of: an army of lions led by sheep, or an army of sheep led by a lion?

My first reaction when I heard the question was, “A lion leader of course!” I want someone that is courageous and bold. A leader who is not afraid to make decisions. But the more I thought about it, the more problems I saw. Yes, at first glance, a lion would appear to be a great leader, but when you think through the lion leader, you start to see all kinds of problems.

First, the lion would just be out for himself. Lions know that no matter what happens, they can defend themselves. Second, lion leaders would feel like they have to do everything themselves, because they are a lion, and they are superior. Most likely their ego would get in the way. While they might survive, the sheep they were leading would get destroyed.

On the other hand, the sheep knows its limitations. It knows that it cannot do it alone, and it needs a pack to lead. A sheep leader knows if they go out alone, they will get slaughtered. So, the sheep leader relies on their team. The sheep would spend time thinking about how to lead the lions, to find out what drives them, and ultimately lead them forward.

A sheep knows that they are not the strongest or the smartest. They understand that they may end up sacrificing themselves, but the team would survive, and most likely win.

I think this debate is one of the biggest leadership pitfalls we can face. For so many years, we believed we needed to be led by lions. So, we hired lions, trained lions, and promoted lions. But instead of making our organizations stronger, all we did was weaken them and cause constant problems.

Next time you are looking for a new leader for your organization, remember that it may not be the strongest and the loudest person that is best for your team. It might just be the person you least suspect. The person who puts their team before themselves and is more interested in developing the team then how they look to the team.

Until next time…I’m Marty, make every minute count.


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