It’s often quoted that organisations rise or fall on their leadership. Another quote that is also poignant is one that became common after the First World War, which said that the British Soldiers were “Lions led by Donkeys“! Sobering stuff.
We need to be clear that leadership is key to what happens in our organisation, whether it’s a business, a church or a ‘not for profit’ organisation, the same key principle applies. Leadership decides the direction, sets the pace and overcomes the obstacles. If we as individuals really hold the responsibility and accountability of leadership (rather than just holding a title) then we have to ensure that we are genuinely providing leadership in these three areas. I often ask the leaders around me,
“if everyone did what you do, would the organisation be better or worse?”
It’s the reality of leadership – if we are playing a role but not discharging a responsibility with passion and integrity, then actually we are kidding ourselves, and we are in danger of sliding down the Lion – Donkey Scale! Never good.
What is the cure? A ‘Leadership Engine Room‘.
Everyone wants to stand on the bridge and dial in the changes, call the direction, command the speed and take the accolades, but the reality is that whilst part of leadership includes some ‘bridge’ work, that on it’s own is pointless. It needs the engine room. That’s where the sweat and tears are put in, the coal is shovelled into the boilers (or the dilithium crystals are put into the warp drive – choose your picture) and the power needed for movement and change is generated. Engine rooms are generally places for teams to work together, for innovation, for risks, but also proactively being prepared for anything. A command from Captain Kirk, “Mr Scott, get us out of here“, could only then be responded to by a switch to warp speed and a cheery “Aye, Aye Captain” if all the warp drives were ready and fully charged with dilithium crystals!
Have we understood the ‘Leadership Engine Room’ disciplines that we need to work at? Communication skills, personal discipline, consistency and many others that are key if we are to move even further up the Donkey – Lion scale to fully become the Lions we are called to be.