October 20, 2014
The Essential Perspectives of Leaders by Lynette Meck
Every year my husband and I vacation in South Carolina, and I am always struck by the views we enjoy. There are two distinct views….the one from above and the one from below.
From above, on my fourth floor balcony, I see tall, green sea pines and massive live oaks covered with Spanish moss. Above the trees, a bright blue Carolina sky. Looking down I see the progression of the bike path. In the distance where the sand meets the ocean, the sun is rising. No storm clouds on the horizon today!
From below, strolling on the ground, new things are visible: Purple beauty berry bushes lining the bike path; snowy white egrets standing on the banks of a pond, teaching their young to fly.
Three alligators in the water quietly observe the egrets. The adult egrets stand motionless, knowing the alligators are there. They are alert to possible danger, yet focused on the task at hand. The young egrets lift their small wings, fly low ten feet out over the water and then flutter back again under the watchful eyes of the adults. Again and again the young egrets repeat this little exercise.
Leaders pay attention to the view from the balcony. They take note of things not visible on the ground. Leaders also spend time on the ground, being present, modeling behavior, “getting their hands dirty.” From both places leaders stay focused and alert to the opportunities, challenges, dangers and possible threats in front of them. Successful leaders live in both places.
What do you see from the balcony of your company? What do you see on the ground?