Are You a Guide or Explorer?

Explorer or Guide

What kind of leader are you?  Are you a Guide? Or are you an Explorer? Are both of these leaders with just different skill sets? What is the difference?

A Guide — A guide is someone who has been down this particular path before. They probably have been this way before many times. They have gotten really good at navigating the simplest, safest, and best route for folks to follow. A guide has specific experience related to the specific journey on which you find yourself. They have been where you want to go. They have returned to where you are. And they are now ready to go again and brave the same dangers and traverse the same rough terrain that beckons you.

Guides carry a huge responsibility. Often they are responsible for the life and welfare of the folks who put their trust in them. But folks are willing to trust them because they have a proven track record in the particular journey that needs to be undertaken.

An Explorer — An explorer is a brave individual to be sure. In fact, they may very well be a guide if they are successful on this current venture. But right now, they have not been to their destination. They may have seen pictures of what others have found when they explored the same area. They may have a great deal of information about the destination. They just haven’t themselves been there yet. They are passionate about going. They want to go, they are willing to go, and they are ready to go. They are trailblazers.

They often go where no one has yet been.They may be looking for something else just as Christopher Columbus was doing when he came upon the New World. Columbus was looking for a new trade route and North America bumped into him and his three little ships along the way. Explorers are looking to chart new territory and claim it when possible for their patron or sponsor.

What about you?

Now that you have my perspective on Guides and Explorers, I ask you again. What kind of leader are you?

Each type of leader develops a particular following. But, I wonder. Is “exploring” really leading?

I don’t have a real solid answer in my own heart and mind regarding this question. But I am sure about which one I prefer to follow.

I Just know that I prefer to follow a Guide. I want my leader to have already been there and done that.

But always having a Guide to follow is not always possible. Sometimes you end up following an Explorer. That isn’t necessarily bad, unless you have already been to the destination before and you can see that the Explorer is about to go off wandering in a harmful direction.

Who are you following?  Are you following a Guide? Or are you following an Explorer who just might be making it up as they go along?

Photo credit: USACE HQ / Foter / CC BY

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