Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"If You Want to Lead People, You Must Get Behind Them." Why is This Important?

I was sent an email introducing me to Dante Chestnut. In it, was his philosophy of leadership, a philosophy to which I have always subscribed. Sometimes I think we need more servant leaders like Mr. Chestnut.

A businessman, entrepreneur (music business) and social activist, Dante splits his time between his passions, such as The CHILL Program, (Creating Hope I Love Life) and D.A.N.T.E. (Doing Anything Necessary To Educate-to help the fight against illiteracy and violence) and a partnership program with his wife Shannon Chestnut with the S.W.A.G.G (Strong Women Accomplishing Greater Goals); as well as working to end violence in communities and keep trade, sports programs as well as music and liberal arts in schools across the country.

If You Want to Lead People, You Must Get Behind Them. Why is This Important?
by Dante Chestnut

Today, there's a litany of people who want to be leaders, but often forget the key element of being a great leader, is to first be a great follower. Growing up in Mobile Alabama (Prichard) as a child, we had leaders in the community that I looked up to such as my pastor, the late Rev. Fred L. Sanderson from Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church He always encouraged us to be the best at whatever we set our minds to. His faith in us, support, and personal actions exemplified what a great leader should be.

This is why I share my past experiences, positive energy, and kind words; to help give people the extra push they need to reach their highest possible level of success. Many people, as children and young adults, didn't have that loving family support they needed early on to build themselves up as confident role models or leaders. I feel I was commissioned from birth to help strengthen our nation as a man first and as a humanitarian, music and entertainment executive second.

Morale is one of the key components in building any type of lucrative organization. What team will strive for success if they don't feel they have a leader who not only believes in the mission at hand, but also supports them in all of their efforts? Many of us have sadly experienced the feeling of working hard for the benefit of a project, only to face a situation where the leader of the project simply never took the time to listen. Worse yet, is to have your hard work and ability questioned. Nothing will stagnate a person's ambition and drive more than to feel that you don't empathize or understand what they, as your employee, are going through.

As CEO of my companies, I enjoy standing behind my staff, roster of artists and the team, instead of concentrating on being in the front lines. This helps build integrity, confidence, and a deep passion for what they enjoy most. True you can refer to me as a leader of my flock, but our company motto is, "We create stars and keep them shining together". While any great leader must garner the respect that comes from that earned leadership role, I believe you also have to establish that you aren't afraid to roll up your sleeves and get down in the trenches when the situation calls for it.

The key factors in being able to support any team are trust and communication. You won't be able to truly defend the actions of any member of your team unless you have a clear understanding of not only that person, but their views on the task at hand. When a trustworthy team has been assembled, and you take the time to really get a clear understanding of who it is that you have working with you, it's simply that much easier to confidently stand behind them when it is required.

When thinking about the expression, "If you want to lead people, you must get behind them" remember this: No one wants to feel a lack of support or that their talents are not recognized. If we follow the Golden Rule in business, as well as in life, and just "Do unto others as you would have done to you," in the long run you will experience a much more fulfilling and a stress free working environment for everyone involved.


  1. ""If you want to lead people, you must get behind them."Why is this important?" By Pastor D. Withers

    Being a minister, the process of leading people by getting behind them is essential, for the gospel charge has no room for dictators, nor potentates. The mission is very clear, and it is the duty of God's people to carry out His mission with passion and in an expeditious manner. Now having said that, every organization including the Church if it is to be sucessful, must have good leaders, and people who are able to see the vision, and are willing to execute the plan that the leadership has worked out.

    In the economy of the Church, the definition of a 'good' leader is one who is able to positively motivate people to engage in activities that is neither comfortable nor convenient to many, however the most important way to do this is effectively "get behind them."

    Once the mission is understood, getting behind people means to respect their ideas, and empower individuals to take the opportunity to run with their ideas, with the kind of support and encouragement that can only come from you. Getting behind people is to see them in leadership roles as well, and cultivating their skills in addition to fanning the fires of their passion so that the mission will in effect never grow cold in the single focus on one individuals ideas.

    There is no greater joy than to lead someone into a leadership role as a result of getting behind them, and seeing them realize their full potential.
    Thank you, Pastor D. Withers