Are You a Leader, a Follower, or a Collaborator?

Lead, Follow, or Collaborate?

Or some combination of all 3?


One of the interesting parts of participating in blog challenges is following writing prompts that cause you to think about something new, or at least, from a new perspective.

One of these writing prompts posed this question:


Do you feel most comfortable being

a leader, a follower, or a collaborator?




Well, let’s think about this. Perhaps 20 years ago–or more–I would have said I enjoyed being a leader. I was active in church, sang in music groups, led Bible studies, served in various leadership roles in local and state homeschool groups, and even taught workshops at annual homeschooling conventions.


NOW — over the past 8 years — well, I’m not nearly as socially involved. While freelancing from home certainly has its advantages, and there are many online social and professional networking groups — it’s still not the same as being “out there” face to face with people. I wouldn’t be comfortable at all, now, in leadership roles, or at least none that involved speaking in front of people. In fact, I’m really nervous about the fact that I have to do an oral defense of my dissertation when the time arrives for that!


“Leadership is based

on a spiritual quality;

the power to inspire,

the power to inspire

others to follow.” 

~Vince Lombardi


I think now I’m more comfortable as either a follower, or perhaps a collaborator. Of course, following depends on how reliable and genuine the leader is. If he or she simply has charisma, but lacks in sincere people skills, or willingness to extend a helping hand, then I wouldn’t be impressed, nor have any interest in following that person or his/her cause.


On the other hand, a strong yet caring leader with a cause worth following — then I could get on board with that. In addition, when it comes to work and projects, I tend to be a visual learner, and it really helps to have someone lead by example, as well as SHOW examples.


“One measure of leadership

is the caliber of people

who choose to follow you.”

~Dennis A. Peer


Out of the three choices, however, I think I have really become most comfortable with being a collaborator. Although I sometimes enjoy the solitude and working independently, which is what happens the majority of the time, I really enjoy working as a member of a team. This is great for the social and professional interaction, but also for the sharing of ideas and working toward a mutual goal.


This collaboration in my areas of work happen frequently. Most of the writing clients I have proofread and edit work themselves, or have editors who do so. This ensures the clients get the type of quality and finished content they desired.


The field of instructional design is an especially good example of collaboration, because it typically involves a team of professionals, from the client and/or project manager, to supervisors and head instructional designers, to content writers, editors, instructional designers, and subject matter experts (SMEs). Each member plays a crucial role in adding components of a course, for example, and the entire team together has the mutual goal of producing a finished product. I am pleased to have taken part in many such projects.


“Teamwork is the ability to work together

toward a common vision.

The ability to direct individual accomplishment

toward organizational objectives.

It is the fuel that allows common people

to attain uncommon results.”

~Andrew Carnegie



So How About YOU?


What role do you most comfortably fill?


Do you think you could (or do you) manage more than one role?







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