“You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.”
~Herb Brooks, Coach for the U.S.A. Men’s Ice Hockey, 1980.
It was a sunny day at the Blue Lagoon in Nassau, Bahamas. A bunch of us were laying out on the beach in front of the lagoon when it came time for a water challenge to see who could get across and through the obstacles first. It began with a young man on the cruise none of us knew, and Bill Corbin, leader of K-LOVE‘s pastor team.
They both jumped, ran and climbed, but it became clear Bill would win, and he did.
But then he jumped back in the water and swam to where his “competitor” was still struggling and began to encourage him through the rest of the obstacles until he too had completed the course.
It was an incredible demonstration of the value of leadership. Bill didn’t do an arm pump and take a victory lap, he turned back to encourage.
We think of leadership in directive terms, telling people what to do, and often how to do it. We’re very good at being “corrective”, too, but we don’t think as much about encouraging our own team members, cheering them on to their own victory.
Leadership isn’t just about finding difficulties and correcting them, that’s management. We can always find something wrong, and it’s easier than being the encourager, which is leadership.
Sometimes it seems that way back in the darkest parts of our minds the “corrector” lives, ready to pounce. But, like all good leadership, it’s a choice. One seems easier than the other. One gives you temporary short term improvements, and the other allows you to help the other person grow and accomplish long-term, valuable growth. One creates a better employee, and the other creates a better, more motivated person.
Which one do you think is most apt to help you achieve your goals?