One of the things that is very important to us as parents is keeping our boys physically active. Whether that is around the house or in organized sports. However this can be quite difficult when fighting the allure of technology in the twenty-first century, especially during the summer. Lately, we have pushed more and more for family runs around the neighborhood. But suffice to say, the “let’s go for a run boys” is usually met with a symphony groans and a plethora of excuses.
Once we get them on the road our oldest son Bryan is good to go, whereas our youngest son Landon can be a different story. Landon will drag his feet or even just stop and stand. Walking is always an alternative if necessary. Other times, he will just turn around and head back towards home. Inevitably we find ourselves running back and turning him around to get him back on track, which can be an exercise in itself. And if we are not careful or paying attention we can easily run off and leave him behind. We have to constantly check on him, guide him, and coax him so that he will stay motivated and on course. Otherwise, we can get so far ahead of him that he can’t see us.
It dawned on me that leadership is so much like these morning runs. For some of those we lead, once we get them on the path they are good to go. Give them the support and resources they need to be successful and they are off to the races.
However, others can take almost all of our energy just to get them motivated to step on the path. And once we get them started we have to constantly keep the path and vision in front of them. If not, they are very likely to turn and around and head home like my youngest son. The safety and ease of the known is very alluring.
However, it can’t stop there. If we are not careful we can easily run too far ahead and lose sight of those we lead…and once that happens it is difficult for them to keep focused on a path and vision that has run off and left them behind. We have to stay just far enough ahead to keep those we lead motivated and allow them to see the path we are creating and the direction it is heading. Always keeping the vision right in front of them.
And on that path we sometimes have to turn around and go back for our people…coaching and motivating them towards the finish line. Finding short and attainable goals that keep them moving forward, otherwise they might just decide to call it a day and take a seat right there on the curb. As leaders, we can get frustrated with those we lead because they have taken a seat on the curb and “called it a day”, or even worse they have turned around and headed back home. However, on further reflection we find that our leadership is often the cause for these reactions. We have run off and left our people behind…and they have lost direction and no longer see the path. In which case, it is much easier for them to stop and/or head back to the safety of what they know. If we can’t see those we lead and allow ourselves the ability to monitor their progress then how will we know what ways we need to support and keep them moving forward.
It requires motivation, building the path, and providing the vision if we want to keep people on the road to progress…and know that short-term wins and goals can never be underestimated to help them get there. Lose any of those and very well lose your progress. In the beginning it can be very difficult and may require a lot of energy. But consistency builds stamina and the more you do it the easier it gets. Until one day you discover it no longer takes work and it becomes effortless and that is when it becomes enjoyable. It takes effort and a lot of persistence. And then celebrate the heck out of those small wins. Today may be a great day to start running…