I was standing at the meat counter at the local market and watched a leadership principle unfold before me: Nobody Follows a Tentative Person.
Normally, they have little slips of paper with numbers that make the process run smoothly: take your number and wait for it to be called. But they ran out of numbers. Which meant we had to figure out for ourselves who was next.
The bad part: as a result, when the butcher yelled, "Next", there was a lot of shuffling, faux self-deprecation, and confusion. No meat was moving out of the display case.
Finally, someone said strongly, "I believe I am next" and, at the same time. stepped forward right in front of the butcher. Following her move, there was a similar response at the ensuing, "Next!"
The "Aw, Shucks Shuffle"
This struck me as being similar to what we often see in meetings and presentations. In an effort to not want to stand out or seem "pushy", meeting leaders or speakers do the "Aw, Shucks Shuffle". The result: people in the room wait forever--uncomfortably--to get to the topical meat counter.
It's popular to want to seem like "one of the guys" and do the "we're all equal" thing.
We're not. When you are in front of a room you've been given the responsibility to lead the rest of the group.
So remember: no one follows a tentative person.