I was leading a small team in a culturally diverse city in the U.S. when two of my employees asked why all the titled leaders on our leadership team were white.
I was raised in a part of the country that was not culturally diverse, today – nearly a decade after their question 89% of the population in my home state is white and 95% of the county that surrounded the town I grew up in was white. As a result, it was a question I didn’t see coming and one I did not have a good answer for.
Yesterday I felt a strong urge to clearly articulate what Character-Based Leadership means to me.
As I wrote it I thought of:
- Leaders that create beautiful symphonies by unleashing the differences and strengths of others.
- Leader that inspire us all to lead at a higher level.
- Leadership decisions that make my blood boil.
- People I am currently serving and people I’ve served.
- Times I’ve led well, and times I’ve failed.
- All that I am and all that I hope to be…
“Skin in the game” emphasizes that not one of us is as smart as all of us.
“Skin in the game” separates the watchers from the joiners & the whiners from the winners.
“Skin in the game” unleashes: Creativity, Innovation, Joy, Synergy & RESULTS!
- Communities don’t need more critics. They need models.
- Companies don’t need more problems. They need solutions.
- Our world doesn’t need bench-warmers. It needs players.
Titled Leaders: Are you hogging the spotlight on the field or giving your employees opportunities to shine?
Employees & Community Members: Are you on the sidelines or on the field? We need YOU – IN THE GAME!
When we announced our plans to move to a giant sandbox on the other side of the world. I promised to share both the beauty and the struggle of our experiences.
It’s been easier to capture the beauty and share it.
- Mostly because it’s energy-filled, it bubbles out and I know that people will be encouraged by it.
Sharing the negative side is tougher.
- Because it’s hard to write about the things that cause frustration and pain without being judgmental.
- And it’s even harder to write about them without feeling negative and heavy. (And that is not something I want to pass on to anyone.)
The reality is that our lives here are both beautiful and hard.
Have you ever struggled to figure out how to leverage a strength that is coming across as a weakness?
If you’ve ever watched popcorn pop, you’ll understand one of mine.
One little kernel heats up, flies into the air and explodes into light fluffy happiness. POP!
Then a couple more kernels join the fun! POP! POP!
Then a few more! POP! POP! POP! POP! POP!
Soon the party is in full swing, as the noise, chaos, and joy increase rapidly! POP! Pop! POP! Pop! POP! POP!!! POP!!!!
That’s me and…
For many years I sat in meetings:
- Excited by the challenge of problem solving.
- Fueled by the opportunity to be creative and to collaborate.
And frustrated because I could not clearly articulate what was happening inside my brain.