Israel Galindo commented on the last post: “One interesting wrinkle on this issue is the phenomenon that the relationship(s) we think have with our congregation or organization’s members may not be the same as the ones they think or experience with us. This can happen in many ways, including episodes of “projection” one either party. The ones that come to mind for me are those where I was surprised at the relationship and connection people in the congregation seemed to have with me that was disconnected with the one I perceived I had with them. I took it as one of those instancies of people relating to or projecting something on me mostly by virtue of the position I occupied in the system. In other words, it ‘wasn’t about me.’ ”
So, our followers project lots of things onto us. Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky in Leadership in the Line point out as Israel does, that we need to remember that many people have a relationship with the role more than with us. When we leave the role, we no longer have the relationship, which can be a shock. Of course, we also project onto our followers (and as I noted earlier, the extreme example of this is narcissism). The less we are dependent on our followers for our sense of ourselves, the better we can lead them.