The True Story on TEAM LIFE’s 8 F’s — Following

What causes people to gain a following?  What can we learn from leaders of the past to give us the tools necessary to gain a following for ourselves?

In the article George Washington – RESOLVED For Character, TEAM LIFE leadership

Orrin Woodward

guru Orrin Woodward talks about the reformation of a young George Washington into the man who would be capable of leading the American Revolutionary Army and later becoming the First President of the United States.

By nature, young Washington had a fiery temper, but he developed an iron-willed discipline in order to check its excesses. Richard Norton Smith, in his book, Patriarch, said, “The adolescent Washington examined Seneca’s dialogues and laboriously copied from a London magazine one hundred and ten ‘rules of civility’ intended to buff a rude country boy into at least the first draft of a gentleman”.  The French Jesuits had originally developed the 110 Rules as principles to live by, and

Cover of "Rules of Civility: The 110 Prec...

Washington’s methodical writing process helped him to adopt many of these maxims as his personal resolutions for life. As Richard Brookhiser, author of Founding Father, wrote, “His manner and his morals kept his temperament under control. His commitment to ideas gave him guidance. Washington’s relation to ideas has been underestimated by almost everyone who wrote of him or knew him, and modern education has encouraged this neglect. . . His attention to courtesy and correct behavior

April 30: George Washington becomes the first ...

anticipated his political philosophy. He was influenced by Roman notions of nobility, but he was even more deeply influenced by a list of table manners and rules for conversation by Jesuits.”  Character and self-mastery were his goals through living his guiding ideals of fortitude, justice, moderation, and the dignity of every human being.

It was through the things young Washington chose to learn he acquired the necessary character and commitment to duty that would serve him so well leading the Revolutionary forces to victory.  In Valley Forge, his commitment to what he had learned and put

English: US Postage stamp: Washington at Valle...

into practice kept Washington in the painful field with his men, instead of accepting offers of comfort and safety. Valley Forge, and what they all went through together,

forged the American forces into an army, with their beloved Washington at its head.  Prior to that winter, they followed him because of his title.  After, it was because they knew he was someone worth following.

True leaders are people of character who get into the trenches with their followers.  People just won’t willingly follow someone who hasn’t shown he or she has “been there and done that,” too.  As Orrin points out, George Washington showed us with his courage, convictions and commitment to duty how to be that kind of leader ourselves.  May all who seek to lead do as well.


3 thoughts on “The True Story on TEAM LIFE’s 8 F’s — Following

  1. IMO, people naturally follow those whose vision compliments the beliefs, feelings, and desires of the follower. Instinctively, human beings gravitate to others for a variety of reasons; be they safety, security, charisma, or even through being attracted to someone, physically, mentally, or otherwise.

    Some are natural-born leaders; others will never lead. But that’s okay…there’s a place for everyone to make a contribution…it’s just a matter of discovering what your special talent is and sharing it with others.



    • Kevin,

      If you read Launching A Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady, as well as almost anything in the leadership arena by John Maxwell, you will discover their philosophies — Leadership is for everyone. Leadership is having influence. And anyone can learn the skills of leadership and improve in their leadership abilities.

      We all lead in our lives. When we become parents, we automatically become leaders for our children. Or, at least, we had better be, if we do not want our families to disintegrate into chaos! Even as employees, we lead our employers when we express ideas for things, provide solutions to problems, or even by having an infectiously good attitude. The lowest person on a corporate totem pole can still make a difference.

      Their other philosophy is true leaders do not lead from charisma or attraction. They lead from a position of vision and service to the people they lead. The best and most lasting leaders are servant-leaders.

      Please look into the subject of leadership and the views of these authors a bit more. It will probably surprise you.


  2. Kathy –

    Good points; I’ll be sure to check out your recommendation. Although your position has merit, I am of the opinion that not everyone can lead and leadership is definitely not for everyone. From an idealistic perspective, this might be true. However, this is not the world in which we live.

    Perhaps I should have qualified my claim a bit more by saying that not everyone can be an ‘effective’ leader. I can accept the desire to be inclusive and to encourage individuals to discover and develop their leadership skills to better themselves and those around them, but I simply do not belive that everyone is leader. The intention is good, but as the saying goes: ‘Even the road to hell is paved with good intentions’.

    Please keep in mind that every claim of fact can be challenged by an opposing OPINION or perspective, regardless of the credentials one holds or the source of the information. And everyone is entitled to an opinion, whether anyone agrees with it or not. That’s what fosters constructive conversation and the exchange of ideas.

    That said, we can respectfully agree to disagree, and I’ll look into your sugested readings with an open mind…perhaps a surprise might be in store.

    Thanks for the challenging exchange – Happy Holidays! .


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