AN ARMY OF SHEEP OR LIONS: The Measure of a Leader

AN ARMY OF SHEEP OR LIONS: The Measure of a Leader

Written By Terry Budget


What makes you a leader? Is it the position you hold? Is it what others think of you? Could it be how you treat others or dictate to them? None of these things are of any consequence. Well, at least not by themselves. The measure of a person’s leadership is founded on a singular focal point. It determines the success or failure of most emerging leaders and also some who are seasoned. So, what is this component that is so vital to a leader’s success? It is called “Attitude”.

Alexander the Great said, “An army of sheep led by a lion is better than an army of lions led by a sheep.”

What makes this statement so profound? When you look at the mentality of sheep and lions it is clear to see the disparity between the two. Consider looking at some leaders in business who are productive, effective, charismatic, driven, and empower their team. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have individuals who are in positions of leadership but lack many of the aforementioned qualities. The former has the attitude of a lion while in contrast, the latter has the attitude of a sheep.

The attitude of a leader is based on their belief system. What they believe in the mind they manifest in their actions. A true leader understands that leadership is not based on fear, but on a high degree of respect, integrity, perspective of themselves and the world around them, and finally action. Regardless of what situation they’re in, a leader makes determinations based on their attitude about it. It doesn’t matter how many degrees you have, how smart you are, or what position you occupy, it is your attitude or your belief system that determines your leadership capacity.

Don’t fall into the belief that you have to be highly educated, have the right set of credentials, be the strongest, be in the right position of authority, or be the smartest person. While all of these things are good things to have, they are not the most important things. No direct level of training in leadership nor seminars for personal development can substitute for a leader with the right attitude. The effectiveness of true leaders is the attitude they develop about themselves and how they use that attitude to bring out the best in others. Their attitude is contagious whether positive or negative.

The success of a leader is determined not by the number of people who follow them, but by the number of people who follow them that are no longer necessary. Even though some followers may appear to be sheep in the office, it is the leader; the lion, that changes their perspective, the culture, and the environment. How many times have you walked into a department and saw a person in a position that they clearly do not demonstrate the leadership capacity for? The office is in disarray, members of the team are not enthusiastic, and the atmosphere or culture is questionable. This is a direct reflection of leadership or should I say, a lack of it. You can tell if a lion or a sheep is in charge based on the conduct and the culture of the followers.

Ask yourself is your leadership reflective of a lion or a sheep? Ask those who are appointed over you. Better yet, ask those who you have authority over. You might be surprised at the answers. If you are a lion, then monitor others in your group or team to determine if they are becoming leaders themselves. If you are a sheep, then determine what you need to do to gain the lion’s share of leadership. If you are a sheep, here are some suggestions:

· Learn to control your thoughts and maintain objectivity
· Examine your current belief systems and change those that are unproductive
· Seek mentorship of a leader you wish to emulate
· Consistently involve your team in discussions of how you can help them become better
· Learn more about real leadership through coaching, training and continual development
· Focus on building an honest culture and productive relationship with your teams

These suggestions are provided to guide you in transforming a sheepish mentality into a lion’s reality. You cannot change your attitude unless you know and accept that change is needed. Become a lion and teach your department how to lead with strength and tenacity. Remember, before they can learn to lead an army of sheep, you as the leader must learn to think and have the attitude of a lion.





Written by Terry Budget

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