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The Contract: A Word From the Led

We often think of leadership from the perspective of the person in charge. What about those who follow? What does it mean to be led by a particular person? I find, at times, that I get in a hurry to lead and forget to listen which is such an important part of leadership.

William Ayot provided this insightful poem which offers advice for the leader through the eyes of the follower. Leadership is about serving and mindfulness which intersect with integrity.

And in the end we follow them –

not because we are paid,

not because we might see some advantage,

not because of the things they have accomplished,

not even because of the dreams they dream

but simply because of who they are:

the man, the woman, the leader, the boss,

standing up there when the wave hits the rock,

passing out faith and confidence like life jackets,

knowing the currents, holding the doubts,

imagining the delights and terrors of every landfall;

captain, pirate, and parent by turns,

the bearer of our countless hopes and expectations,

We give them our trust. We give them our effort.

What we ask in return is that they stay true.


About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

15 responses »

  1. I loved this, sent onto my son who is trying to become a Professional Life/Growth Coach. Thanks so much!

  2. Beautiful but sad when I think of the awful leaders we have voted for…like sheep

  3. The best follower leads himself.

  4. super imageries of the stalwart. Withstanding the wave…handing out lifejackets…The burden of a role mode is “staying true”…but intrinsic. I am “one who admires” (it’s in my character) and I try to be admirable, too.

    You find the greatest poems!

  5. oops, can you add an “L”…

  6. Authenticity is important in a leader.


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