Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, wrote ten years about what he called The Long Tail. The long tail was a term Anderson used to explain the traditional rule of retail economics which dictated,
…that stores only stock the likely hits, because shelf space is expensive. But online retailers (from Amazon to iTunes) can stock virtually everything, and the number of available niche products outnumber the hits by several orders of magnitude. Those millions of niches are the Long Tail…
The long tail is filled with much more and is often largely ignored by the industry experts in favor the big, the well known, and the expected…in other words the blockbusters.
Leadership has a Long Tail.
Most leaders and leadership experts focus on the “Short Head” or the “Leadership Blockbusters.” These are usually Vision, Mission, Strategy, and Execution. These are viewed by most leaders as the “money makers” the leadership concepts that make the biggest impact.
But as I said…Leadership has a Long Tail.
In the Long Tail of Leadership one finds the things often overlooked, neglected or viewed as not as impactful by leaders…but incredibly important to followers.
In the Long Tail there is as much value in the long run as those blockbusters of Vision, Mission, Strategy, and Execution.
“Your kingdom is built on truth and justice. Love and faithfulness are servants before your throne.” Psalm 89:14
In the Long Tail of Leadership we find things like truth, justice, love, and faithfulness.
What follower does not seek these things from their leader?
In fact, what follower does not value these things ahead of vision, mission, strategy, and execution?
While those “blockbusters” are at the front of every leaders mind…their followers are seeking more.
Followers are seeking truth from their leaders.
Followers are seeking justice in treatment from their leaders.
Followers are seeking love from their leaders.
Followers are seeking faithfulness from their leaders.
There is clear value in the “Short Head” of leadership “blockbusters”, but there is clear value in the Long Tail of the “lesser used” leadership as well.
The Long Tail of Leadership contains, not more of the big leadership blockbusters…but less.
Love…a leader who loves those that follow them.
Equip and Empower…a leader who equips and empowers their followers to achieve the vision and mission. A leader who equips and empowers their followers to be able to implement strategy and execute with effectiveness.
Service…not just a leader, but a servant leader. Servant Leadership is both a belief in the purpose and the people. Servant Leadership intertwines the most crucial and important parts of an organization…its people…and its future. Both must be served.
Surrender and Sacrifice…a leader who surrenders themselves to the vision and sacrifices for it before asking followers to do the same.
When I look at Jesus I see the big blockbuster of the Great Commission.
But I also see a leader who started first by loving his followers, then spending three years equipping and empowering his followers. Jesus served his followers, surrendered and sacrificed for them…and for those to come.
In Jesus we see that the tail of leadership came before the head of leadership. Jesus started with L.E.S.S leadership.
Jesus demonstrated “blockbuster” leadership, but to his followers, L.E.S.S leadership might have made the biggest difference in them achieving the vision and mission of the Great Commandment blockbuster.
If you want to lead like Jesus then you must serve like Jesus and love like Jesus.
It is a reminder to all leaders that much of what their followers need and desire is in the long tail.
Jesus was a Long-Tail leader.