As a student, I have always needed teachers. As a Druid, I want to stand independently in my own power, and take responsibility for myself. I also need the guidance and inspiration of others. I’ve run events, and I’ve taught, and I don’t want to only have access to things I am running, so I need there to be other people leading things I can be part of. Being in charge all the time is generally not good for a person. As a writer who doesn’t want to be a one person band all the time, I need editors and publishers, and to be able to accept their authority in all practical literary matters.
Being a self employed person, I have the amazing privilege of being able to pick who I work for. Being a Druid, I have the right to my own spiritual authority and am not obliged to go along with someone else’s hierarchy. Consequently I’ve given a lot of thought to the reasons for following or not following someone else. Who will I work for? Who will I not? I’ve come horribly unstuck with this several times in the past, and that’s taught me a lot.
Do you value me? Do you respect me, and acknowledge what I’m doing? Do you make it easy for me to work for you, or do you set me up to fail? Do you reward me, and make sure I have what I need, or do you take me for granted? Do you recognise my individual skills and strengths, and also my personal vulnerabilities? Will you let me be a real person when I’m working for you, or will you demand the constant strain of me faking things? Will you be treating me like you’re doing me a big favour by letting me work for you? Are you paying me enough to live on? If you’re taking my time for no financial payment, are you recompensing in some other honourable way? Do I get a say in this?
There are some people who lead because they get off on having followers obeying them. There are others who lead because they want to get something done and can’t do it on their own. The ego trip leader burns out followers and discards them as soon as they can’t bear it any more. The person who wants to get things done takes care of their supporters as essential to what’s happening.
Having been burned more than once, I look for the leaders who are looking to do something, not to build a fan base. I look for leaders who don’t have a high turnover of people, and who treat their people as people, not as a resource for their personal use. I look for fair play, for respect, for realism. I can’t deal with people who want to control and micromanage me. I like clarity about who has responsibility for what, as well.
I’m going to name some names. I’ve worked for Trevor Greenfield over at Moon Books for more than a year now, and he’s everything I could possibly want in a boss. As a consequence he has my absolute loyalty, and the very best that I can give. I’m working for Mark Graham a bit, for Druid Camp, because his is a leadership that is entirely about getting things done in a fair way. I’m looking at working for Stevi Ross and her Conscious Connection Camp on much the same basis. There are, alongside them a number of people I’m working with in various capacities – James Nichol and Elaine Knight with Contemplative Druidry, John Holland with Stroud Short Stories, and those closer creative partnerships with Paul Alborough, and with my husband Tom Brown, where the balances are somewhat different, but much of the same applies.
There are people I would never work for again under any circumstances. That’s fairly visible from my actions, for anyone who is watching. I don’t accept being patronised, taken for granted, pressured into burning out for other people, I don’t work with emotional blackmail and control freakery.