Leadership Lesson from the Sky

Some things go unnoticed. Some things you see and they resonate.

The other night, driving home – Amy and I witnessed something from the sky that reminded me of a simple lesson. We live in Arizona, known for its astronomy rich night sky, but I’d never seen something like this. It lasted about 6-8 seconds. A meteor burning up through the atmosphere as it descended toward the earth a few miles in front of us.

This brilliant green light streaking across the sky.

At first I thought it might be a plane, helicopter, maybe even a firework? But the brighter it burned and its strikingly fast acceleration eliminated those options. Then it was gone. Nothing left to see.

It’s a simple leadership thought that struck me: Atmosphere & Altitude make a difference.

Leaders that spend too much time, too close to the trenches – burn up and burn out. Leaders must recruit, train, encourage, vision cast and then release others to make things happen. Main leaders must raise up others. They must spend more time in an upper atmosphere – keeping a view on creating correct culture/systems, developing other leaders and encouraging the teams. Here’s a quick post about raising up more ‘staff’ with no budget from Ron Edmondson.

Now, don’t miss understand me: leaders must serve! They aren’t the ones who are to be served – they are to model serving. They should fly lower at times and be “in the trenches”. I love the show ‘Undercover Boss’ because it allows leaders to be put on the front lines to recognize new leaders, assess culture and see the good, bad and ugly within their created systems.

But even more than modeling service, leaders must motivate others to carry out the actions of the organization. One leader can make a difference. But a leader that establishes and builds others, accomplishes more. Leaders can NOT do all they need their entire teams to do.

Good leaders spend some time in the trenches – but also maintain a strategic altitude.

Fly too low for too long and you’ll burn up. Altitude for leaders matters.

It was a simple lesson – a reminder from the sky.

Q) How have you ever experienced a boss/leader flying too low, too long? Or found yourself there…

4 thoughts on “Leadership Lesson from the Sky

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