By Josh Martin, Two-Brain Mentor and TwoBrainCoaching Lead
Just a week ago, I was speaking to a gym owner about leadership and it reminded me of my light problem.
We are finally settling into our new house. Boxes are unpacked and the walls are adorned with things that make it feel like home.
You want to know what we don’t have figured out yet? The dang light switches. I had no clue that a house could have so many. In one hallway alone, that is short enough for me to stretch my arms across, there are three switches to turn the one hallway light on and off. Crazy, right? But at least thats an on/off thing. In other areas, we have dimmer switches. Hopefully by the time we have people over for Thanksgiving in 8 months we’ll have all the lights figured out! But back to the gym owner:
This particular gentleman was being really hard on himself. He had purchased an existing gym and was working hard to ‘right the ship’ but was having trouble with people doing the things the way he was asking they be done. I applauded him for holding himself accountable, but also had to explain the difference between being a leader and being an owner.
Opening a business, or even buying an existing one, does not make you a leader. An owner, yes. But not necessarily a leader.
Ownership is a like a light switch – it’s either on or off. Either you own the business or you don’t. Either the buck stops with you or it doesn’t.
Leadership is different. Leadership is like a dimmer switch. When you begin your journey as a leader, it’s almost as if someone has the dimmer switch turned all the way down – there is barely any visible light whatsoever. You’ll have moments where you shine brightly; these are the days where it’s fun to lead. But like with anything, you’ll have your ups and downs. You’re gonna make bad decisions and your light will go down a bit. But that’s ok. It’s a part of the process to being better. Adversity is a good thing. It’s what helps strengthen the light so that it doesn’t fade too much or too fast.
A leader is someone who can shine a light as they move forward and turns back to see others following, willingly.
Entire books have been written about leadership qualities and how to cultivate them, so I won’t beat a dead horse. (Although I do have to give a plug for one of my recent favorites: “Leadership Promises for Every Day, A Daily Devotional by John Maxwell”) I just want to remind you leaders out there – give yourselves some grace. If you want to be better, great! You’re going to have to put in the work. Just be patient.
Turn up the dial on that dimmer switch little by little over time. One day you’re gonna look back and see a brightly lit path that you’ve left for others to follow.