Notes from the Newsroom: Too many cooks spoil the broth

Jesse O. Walls

Everyone wants to be a leader—everyone wants to be in charge, but the truth is any good leader knows when to follow. In many situations in life we find ourselves having to follow, having to put our trust into someone else, whether it be a boss, instructor, club president; whatever the case may be, we can not always be leaders all of the time.

As of late I have been dealing with situations that remind me of the old adage “too many cooks spoil the broth,” and this is true. When we deal with multiple people wanting to be in charge instead of showing respect for the proper authority or assigned leader, things get out of hand and what once may have been a great product of their labor becomes compromised.

To allow another person to lead, especially when they are in charge, is not a sign of weakness, and I feel there is a great misconception when it comes to this. Being able to listen, follow instructions, collaborate or even do the work that nobody else wants to, is a sign of great strength, and in most situations it is the strength of the followers and the guidance of the leaders that gets things accomplished.

All that comes from everyone wanting to lead and no one wanting to follow is wasted time with nothing accomplished. It destroys the concept of teamwork, decreases moral and makes it near impossible for things to get done.

Think about it. If we would take the time to trust in our leaders, to have faith in their decisions and not always feel that we could do things better, could we not eliminate a lot of time-consuming conflict? Would things not run a lot smoother, instead of these conflicts tearing a group apart and making it more difficult to get things done?

Don’t be afraid to follow—its good followers that make great leaders. Take the time, listen and learn, and when the time comes, be ready and willing to accept the responsibility. Not everyone can be in the position to lead all of the time, but everyone can lead by example 100% of the time.