Tag Archives: leading from the front

Throw Yourself Into the Fire (But Not Literally)

I once took part in a clean up effort for local water channels. I was told that we’d be pulling out debris and litter from shallow canals to help the water flow better. When our small group of 5 arrived at the canal – armed with nothing but latex gloves, poker sticks, and hefty bags –  the methane-fart smell of the polluted waterway told us this would not be a walk in the park. However, one of the quieter people in our group that we didn’t know changed all that. He put on his knee-high rubber galoshes and kitchen gloves and jumped right into the muck. He was pulling out condoms, tennis balls, fishing line, bags, and anything else that you can imagine. Before I knew it, another group member followed him in. And then another. And another. At this point, I had to step up and join in. 

Leaders don’t talk about change – they lead it from the inside out. This opportunity might look like a conflict between a group of people you work with, a category of items that are very hard to sell and are avoided by most employees, or an intimidating change in a process that people are evading. Influential leaders ignore the intimidating or unpleasant nature of these tasks; instead they bite their lip and jump right in.

Want to be an influential leader? Put on your galoshes, jump into an undesirable scenario, and lead change from the inside out! Throw yourself into the fire!



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Leading is Like Walking a Tightrope



image courtesy of nbcbayarea.com

Perhaps you were like me Sunday night and you watched Discovery Channel’s SkyWire special. If not, well, I’ll fill you in: Nik Wallenda, a renowned tightrope walker and daredevil, walked across the Grand Canyon with no harness or catchnet. Every second was caught on film and it was intense.

This whole event got me thinking about leadership and management. Nik embarked on an all-or-nothing adventure that would make or literally break him. Much of our daily lives are similar. We are forced to walk a tightrope, where consistency, balance, and pace are imperative to keeping us alive. Without a balanced tactic, we run the risk of sliding off of the narrow tightrope and failing. The stakes are high as a leader and person in the spotlight round the clock… but the rewards are also worthwhile and life is ultimately satisfying.

The other thing to take from this is activity. I’d never heard of Nik Wallenda before Sunday night. In order for us to be effective, we need to be in the game and leading alongside others. If we sit around on the couch eating Doritos and watching tv all day long, our amazing potential to affect others may never be realized.

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Filed under change management, leadership, motivation