“I mean if we even had a wheelbarrow, that would be something.” -William Goldman, The Princess Bride
Unlike a wagon…you push a wheelbarrow.
And you can’t hitch it to a star.
A wheelbarrow requires work. Often heavy lifting. You can’t tow it. You can’t drag it. Won’t even roll forward on its own. The very vehicle itself requires us to pick it up and push it forward. Momentum is usually minimal. Unfortunately, there is never a time when you can coast. You do the work…all the time. It is just the nature of the beast.
The more you or others shovel into it…the heavier the load. The harder it is to push forward.
Unfortunately, our leadership can be like a wheelbarrow. And very often, it is of our own doing. We unconsciously push our wheelbarrow around…inviting those we lead to shovel their own load into it. Which others are both willing and happy to oblige with. Which, for leaders, can be seen as the load of leadership.
Unfortunately, that is all that it is…other people’s loads.
We neither help others, ourselves, or our leadership when we spend our time pushing our wheelbarrow around our organization. Wheelbarrow leadership relegates itself to doing…busyness. Success is seen as running around solving problems and shouldering the loads of those they lead. The only problem…that is not leadership.
Real leadership is found less in the wheelbarrow…and more in the wheelhouse.
A leader’s wheelhouse isn’t found in pushing around the load…but, in hitching the wagon to the star. And with a wagon…it takes a team to make progress. A team working together, in unison, to drive the organization forward, to carry the load toward the destination.
A leader’s wheelhouse is founded less in the doing…in the pushing. Rather, it is founded in the creating…creating the conditions and environment that allow the organization to hitch their wagon to that star.
To discover our wheelhouse…we will eventually need to put down our wheelbarrow.
We will never be able to propel our people and organizations towards greater possibilities…if we spend all our time hoisting loads and pushing around problems.