Lions & Zebras

· 2 min read
Lions & Zebras

As a leader, it is vital to identify others members within your organization that will help support your cause and leadership efforts. Identification of other potential leaders is a valuable task which will allow you to best utilize your time and efforts supporting the environment and culture you are trying to build.

Instead of developing leaders at random, what you should be searching for are young lion cubs, not zebras. You're never going to turn a zebra into a lion - don't even bother. What you need to find is the young lion cubs that need developed into the boisterous lion leaders that they are.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. - Albert Einstein

Find individuals who support your company's culture and simply lack the authority or guidance needed for leadership. When you find these young leaders, spend time with them and coach them on how to lead better. Give them situations where they can test their leadership abilities.

I like to create situations where we challenge their ability to complete a task under specific criteria, which real-world consequences attached to the success or failure of completion.

A Real World Example

I approached our most elder captain of the team towards the end of the lift and pulled her visibly aside; in order to draw the attention of her teammates. I told her how much I admire and respect her leadership capabilities and how as a captain, she had responsibilities to her team that not everyone shared.

She nodded.

I then told her why all of the weights within our strength & conditioning facility needed to be arranged back to how it initially was. She agreed that the appearance of the weight room was important. With that I gave her the task:

"Whether you do it yourself or you enlist the help of your teammates, every single weight plate on the squat racks, the benches, and dumbbells on the floor need to be put back to their respective places."

She agreed to it, but not before I added the criteria to the task.

"They need to quickly put back to their respective spots. The dumbbells need to be in order and the weights need to be removed from every bench and squat rack. Return these weights to their respective spots. We cannot have 45 pound plates overlapping smaller plates. Do you understand?"

She again nodded as she heard the criteria to the task at hand.

"Lastly, because we understand how important this task is, if the weight room isn't as specified, you as a leader will have failed your mission and the consequences of mission failure is 6 laps of lunges for you and your teammates. Do you understand?"

She nods. Quickly she calls her teammates to her side and quickly gives the instructions. Instantaneously here teammates go buzzing in every direction; some to the dumbbells, others to the squat racks and benches. The leader also contributes and then gives one final check to each task & criteria before signing off on the mission.

She successfully completes her mission and I give credit to her leadership and ability to rally her troops. She credits the hard work of her teammates in the success of the mission while taking none of the credit. The team feels accomplished for accomplishing the mission while the leader knows she accomplished the task being assigned. Everyone wins. Nobody loses.

This is leadership training.