Too often Leaders see their job as being the rescuer. In fact, I once had a co-worker tell me I needed to stop being the hero all the time. I rarely think of myself as the hero. More often I like to think of myself as a mentor. When I make decisions or try to smooth out roadblocks, if I can, I like to take time to educate my team on why certain decisions are made or even get them involved in the decisions. When I am able to do this, then this week's quote is true:
I am a lighthouse rather than a lifeboat. I do no rescue, but instead help others to find their own way to shore, guiding them by my example - Unknown
Most leadership experts would agree that we are at our most effective when we can provide for the growth of more leaders. Our first goal is typically to achieve a specific objective; however, one of our most important and often overlooked goals is to improve our teams and hopefully grow a few leaders along the way. In that case we should strive to be the lighthouse that provides a direction for our team's growth and guidance so that they can progress safely.
What are you doing to grow your team? Are you providing them with the opportunity for education? Are you taking the time to explain the decision you've made or why you chose the path you are heading down? This works to educate, but it also builds trust. What more could you be doing to provide the light to help them get to shore?
Leadership is a tough endeavor. Defining a vision, getting the team to buy into it and then working toward that end goal are not easy things to do. Add in the very human response of resistance to change and a person can find themselves very easily at odds with the very people he/she is trying to lead and hopefully help.
In this week's quote, President of the United States Ronald Regan shares his thoughts on this concept:
When You Can't Make Them See The Light, Make Them Feel The Heat. - US President Ronald Regan
When President Regan first thought of this statement, he may have been relating to another common American Idiom: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. The point I take from his line is that people who can see the light will be generating the heat and excited about the change. They will be creating fire and using it to help reach the goal.
However, there can be another effect of all this progress. Others may feel the heat and be scared of it. They can become afraid that the fire will burn them, or burn down the comfort and habits that they knew and relied upon. These people have a choice to make:
Darth Vader is, perhaps, the most recognizable movie character in modern time. All you need to hear is the respirator to think of this fantastic, black encased leader who is known for getting things done, even if he needs to get his own hands dirty. Showing up to take over projects that fall behind (i.e. the second Death Star) he pushes people to achieve as much as humanly possible, and then beyond. Known as a fantastic motivator, it is almost like he has some hidden force behind him, especially when he wants to reach out and choke someone!
In case you haven't guessed yet, APRIL FOOLS! While I agree with the quote, as with so many things, context is everything. I don't think that the original author (whoever that is) would have thought of this when providing the quote. Strong leaders do lift up their team so that they can achieve more; but usually not in such a literal fashion.
Happy Wacky Wednesday Everyone! This week I bring you the best of February People Are Awesome video! Check-out their YouTube channel, I could share them almost every week (but like to provide some variety so I'll keep it to the best of). Enjoy!
My apologies for the missing posts. I've been away with the family on vacation and we ran into a problem with the scheduled posts. Hopefully we can return to our regular program this week.
Recently my family and I revisited an old stomping ground of mine: The Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville Alabama. Way back in 6th grade I paid half of the price to attend Space Camp for 1 week and it was a fantastic time. My wife loves the pictures and VHS of me in my flight suit and going through simulators. She always laughs and says: "You were such a dork!" Is it any wonder that I love her?
At the Center there are all types of things that can grab a kid's (or kid trapped in a grown-up's body) attention. You can see how impacts affect the different types of shielding on the space shuttle, adjust vibrations through material to see what happens when you hit the resonance frequency, and even design your own jet and fly it through a simulated obstacle course (mine took 5th for the day!).