Leader or Ringleader?
Several years ago, Paola Schifino, principal at Florida-based advertising and branding agency Schifino Lee, told me a story about her daughter’s soccer team I’ll never forget. Turns out, there was a girl who wasn’t very happy with the way the coach was leading the team. This girl shared her feelings with her teammates in an effort to build support for her point of view, which then triggered a groundswell of negativity. Upon learning what was happening, Paola gently offered the girl a piece of advice. She said, “Be a leader not a ringleader!” Wow, I thought!
During the course of my life, I’m not sure I can recall hearing a sentence that was so short, yet communicated so much. We’ve all come across these people in all walks of life, right? We’ve probably been that person at some point or another during our careers. It’s a brilliantly succinct way to illustrate the difference between supporting our leaders and strengthening our teams, and undermining everything everyone is working for. As peers, we have enormous power when it comes to influencing those around us. If you ever catch yourself being the ringleader, remember this story. Then ask yourself what you can do to be a real leader!