3 Leadership Lessons from a Norwegian Bachelor Farmer

Uncle Harold was a Norwegian bachelor farmer from Central Minnesota, about 40 miles west of Lake Wobegon. He was a patient, gentle man, and it showed in his unique method of bringing the cows in from the pasture.

Typically a farmer will get around behind the cows and drive them towards the barn. But Harold would go out to the pasture, gently get the cows’ attention and begin walking back to the barn, with the cows following behind. If the cows stopped to graze for a while, Harold would sit down and smoke his pipe, and wait. When the cows were ready to continue he would get up and start walking towards the barn again.

Uncle Harold was just going out to get the cows, but he provided a beautiful model of leadership.

1. Too often people think they’re leading when all they’re doing is driving the herd.

2. What a difference it makes when the destination is reached, and the followers are there because they chose to be; because they understand it’s where they need to be; because they trust the one they chose to follow.

3. How you work with the cow in the barn determines your ability to lead the herd in the pasture.

“The leader leads, and the boss drives.”  Theodore Roosevelt

 

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