Published byon August 24th, 2009
Good ranchers know that their livestock cannot survive on Hay alone and must eat other forms of nutrients like Alfalfa, to keep them healthy. Leadership is similar in that from time to time Leaders must bring their team to a particular field to grow.
If Leadership was always organic and evolutionary, then no choice would ever feel contrary. There would be no struggle weighing the pro’s and con’s of a choice, there would simply be whatever is next. However, leadership is not like that. It requires from time to time that we make difficult decisions and force things through that we know are correct, but will likely meet with resistance. Or at the very least have no personal motivation from the participants to follow through with. When faced with such decisions and the required actions that must follow, how do you respond? How hard do you push? In what manner do you push?
Consider the words of the French poet Guillaume Apollinaire
Come to the edge, He said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, He said.
They came. He pushed them,
And they flew…
When faced with challenges that demand change, don’t push them to produce, push them to fly. To soar above the constraint that was the rut of their previous existence. Push them for them to see how much ability and talent they really have and how freeing it can be to tap into that ability. Everything in life is collaboration and virtually nothing worthwhile can be accomplished alone, so inspire your followers to excellence. Even if it means you have to push them over the edge sometimes. Even if it means you have to take them to an Alfalfa field. Even if in the process of getting there, you are ridiculed and questioned. Leading your people to the edge of their ability is where they learn to fly.
The way to show your people how to fly is to point them to their Identity. It is only through doing what they are wired to do, that they will feel the joy of engaging that ability. It is only in producing from their unique Identity, that they will uncover their full potential and begin to really fly. The reason you have to do it is because we all need to be affirmed by someone outside of ourselves.
Listen to what E. E Cummings wrote:
We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
Two questions then:
- Are you needing to give your team a ‘push’?
- Do you know their Identities well enough to lead them into flight?