Lifts and Weights- which of these words best describes your leadership style? To help you choose, let us look at what it takes to get an aircraft off the ground. No matter the size of the aircraft four principles must be in place. Let’s take a look at two of these principles.
The plane needs LIFT in order to take off. The Lift is that force which opposes the force of gravity (or weight). Lift is created purely by the smart design of the airplane wings.
The special design of the wings causes air above them to flow faster creating a lower air pressure. While the air flowing below the wings does so at a slower rate causing a higher air pressure the two combined results in a Lift of the plane once in motion.
Similar to the Lift are those people who are above us in terms of their expertise, wisdom, maturity and ability to weather storms that do come their way. These LIFTS are the people in your organization who will take you under their wings ( no pun intended:) and mentor you, groom you to be the best you can be.
They are Lifting you up to a higher level. They can do this simply because the level they are at is higher than where you are at. They operate at a higher and more strategic pace than you, simply because their years of experience have designed them to operate at a seemingly lower pressure while facing higher speed ‘winds’. Does this kind of person describes who you are in your organization?
Weight or the pull of gravity to keep the plane grounded could be liken to those people in your organization who would come across as spending a lot of energy to prevent your LIFT OFF. We can look at ‘Weights’ from a couple of different perspectives.
First, without the pull of gravity there would be no need to invent airplanes we would all be flying or floating. Because gravity is designed ‘to keep us down’ it is this very inherent nature that resulted in the Wright brothers inventing flight. This perspective means we need these people in the organization who are inherently WEIGHTS in order for us to become more strategic and more innovative so we can LIFT off in spite of their perceived negative pull on us.
The other way to look at WEIGHTS is, without them we would have no pull on us to grow and become better than we were yesterday. Though I don’t envision a mad rush of people voluntarily signing up to be WEIGHTS in your organization but they are there! and if you see them as the catalysts for your LIFT OFF, you would actually embrace the challenges they bring you each day. Wayne Dyer said it beautifully, “change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change”
Are you aware of whether your peers, stakeholders and direct reports see you as a Weight? Don’t be too quick to say nah!- you would be surprised to know you just might be perceived as a weight a drag on those with whom you have daily contact.
WEIGHTS may still play their important role they just need to tweak how they challenge their peers and colleagues. This requires demonstrating more emotional intelligence in their interactions with people. Organizations ought not be too quick to discard their WEIGHTS.
Their personality type that tends to see first what is wrong and say so could be what many organizations need to truly become best in class. This drag or pull WEIGHTS bring is necessary to truly benefit from the shared pool of information contributed to by all. This is the stuff that helps build great organizations!
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