Knowing When to Lead and When to ‘Fall Back’

2 weeks ago I wrote about Leading as a Participant. You can’t always be the leader so it’s important to know how to still show off your leadership skills, be viewed and trusted as a leader, while you’re a participant. Keep that in mind as we move on here…

Rainbow generates leaders because there are so many opportunities for girls to lead. There’s a lot of work involved in your local assembly: service projects, memory work, floor work, committees, event-planning, learning all the traditions and rules, going through the line, becoming Worthy Advisor… and then maybe you’ll go on to be a Grand Officer and the work REALLY begins.

So many of us Rainbow Girls and adults take on too much. Maybe you’re great at your ritual work and you’re always the one called upon to fill in for your and other assemblies. Maybe you’re the floor work guru and you’re always helping at practice and mentoring other girls. There’s chronic volunteer syndrome, where you’re always the one at everything, from set-up to tear-down. Some of us have decision fatigue because you’re always the one making decisions and coming up with ideas.

Rainbow girls and adults learn to give unselfishly. It is part of the beauty of Rainbow, and one of the great traits Rainbow helps to foster. We’re all especially good at maintaining the lead in those things we do well, and for good reason. However, always being the one in the lead can burn you out and that won’t help the organization. Being the one to lead for too long can also deprive others of the opportunity to learn and contribute.

I read a great article about knowing when to lead and when to follow. The author conjured up the image of birds migrating in a V-formation. The birds have a very long way to travel and the bird at the front of the ‘V’ takes on the majority of the work for the rest of the flock, who soar comfortably in her “upwash”. So, does the same bird (or couple of birds) lead all the time? No way! It’s not possible. They wouldn’t make it to the destination. The birds are always on rotation, taking turns doing the difficult work of  V-leader.

In what ways are you the V-leader in Rainbow? Do you do this because others haven’t volunteered yet? Do you do this because you’re great at it, maybe having an edge over some people around you? Well, think about those birds… some are faster, stronger fliers than others. They still take turns to avoid exhaustion and injury! Even though another bird might not fly as fast, as high, or as strong as you, the whole flock will still benefit from taking turns the way the birds do. Even a small flock – a flock of only 2 has been observed taking turns in this way. So, when you’re feeling tired, just fall into place among the ‘V’ and enjoy the chance to be a fantastic participant and the fact that you’re letting another bird strengthen their own wings.

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