Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Where Are You Leading Others?


The suffix ship, is used with a large number of words, to designate the condition of being something, possessing skills and abilities related to something, or having the duties or status of something: Readership, horsemanship, fellowship, friendship, dealership, craftsmanship and others–including leadership.  Nevertheless, there is something compelling about the concept of a ship, flags unfurled, leading the way for others. That is why it is such a shame when we see leaders and their followers run aground or capsize.

Old military and western movies often had the hero say, “Follow me, men!” Then, the hero left no doubt where they would be going–because he was already half way there.

In the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus is quoted as saying to a group of men who were fishing, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” They knew he had a mission and was making them part of it, so they threw down their nets and followed him.  Uncle Kracker, in his 2001 song, only said, “Follow me and it will be alright.” John Denver, in his 70’s era song could only promise, “Follow me….and I will follow you.” The Great Leader made disciples by telling people what to expect if they looked to him for leadership. He was even honest about the fact that following Him would result in scorn, ridicule and maybe death–but people followed anyway.

I mention those examples to remind you that your leadership is all about encouraging, directing and hoping that people will follow you. But why should they? What will it get them and where will they end up? Calling yourself a leader is one thing. Taking people some place is another thing. Taking people someplace worthwhile is the ultimate thing.

A good way to force yourself to think about this issue is to develop a short statement that says what those who are influenced by you can expect in their work and their lives. You may never say it directly to those you wish to influence–although I think you should. But, just saying it to yourself is a test of whether or not there is anything definite to your leadership or if it is all blah-blah-blah fluff talk.

Will those who follow you be recognized for producing consistently excellent work?
Will they have experiences they can use to develop their careers?
Will they have many finished products they can point to with pride?
Will they be in line for advancement, bonuses or at least some kind of recognition?
What will be the downside? Might they be viewed as over-achievers? Could they be resented for holding to high standards?

Or, is the best you can promise, “Follow me and I’ll appreciate it”?

If you think you are an informal leader or if you have an organizational leadership role, develop an answer to this question: If people follow you, what results will they get?

Another way to put it: Pretend you are in front of one or more of the people you hope will view you as a leader. Complete this sentence: “Follow me, and…………!!”


By the way, Go Broncos!





January 11th, 2014 Posted by | Keeping On!, Life and Work, Supervision and Management | 8 comments


  1. Well written, Tina!

    i sure enjoy what you write…

    Comment by JM | January 12, 2014

  2. We’re going to use your idea about completing the statement, “follow me and….”, at a manager’s mtg. next month. Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Phyl | January 13, 2014

  3. Interesting information. And good use of Peyton Manning’s photo. Do it again when we’re going to the Super Bowl!

    Comment by Mike | January 14, 2014

  4. This spoke to me, because I don’t think I can complete the leadership sentence in any meaningful way. Maybe it’s time for me to do something else?

    Comment by Trekkie | January 17, 2014

  5. Tina, I realize your leadership statement is more of a self-test thing. But, do you have a suggestion for how a person could say something like that to a actual group? I would like to say it in a really strong but good way in a meeting. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I believe if they would trust me to guide them through some times we’re having, they will be viewed better by the rest of the company. I have twenty-three people and three team leaders.

    Comment by C.A. | January 17, 2014

  6. Great article. I was surprised at the Uncle Kracker song – Just can’t see you listening to Uncle Kracker!

    Comment by Brian Hill | January 21, 2014

  7. Tina says: Thanks to all who wrote to me here or by email to comment on leading. A few commented on the Broncos and I have been happy to remind them of our big win!

    Several have asked about the actual words that one might use to say, “Follow me”. I’ve responded to those people by email and am going to add another article to give some ideas about that. It’s not as difficult, uncomfortable or challenging as you might think. If you think you have the courage to be a leader, you have the courage to say the words!

    Comment by TLR | January 21, 2014

  8. wonderful article tina

    Comment by L.T. | February 14, 2014

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