Leaders: Are You A Candle or A Beacon?

Have you ever had an "A~ha! Moment" that is so profoundly simple you wonder why you've never seen it before?  I had one of those a couple of years ago that continues to impact me.

I have always believed that the biggest reason leaders exist, is to be a source of light and help to their organizations and the people they serve.  What if... There are two primary ways for leaders to share that light with others?

  1. As a candle - Softly and gently bringing understanding, help and hope to others. (Most people like the soft warmth and glow of a candle and will draw near.)

As a beacon - Boldly and courageously shining the light on danger and standing firm on truth.  (This light comes from a place of deep conviction, and frequently calls the leader to stand alone.  ...This light is so bright and strong that some people cover their eyes and choose not to see the danger they are in.)

Clearly both types of light are needed!  However...

  • Choosing to be a candle in a situation that requires a beacon, can result in no behavior modification and cause something that is already a potentially dangerous situation to escalate.
  • Choosing to be a beacon when a situation that requires a candle can cause people to believe that their intentions and their results are being judged.  It can shut down their efforts and divide teams.

Holding these two options in your mind's eye, is a powerful way to discern the type of light that is needed, ultimately creating a clear path to becoming a more effective leader.  As you think through the meetings you have scheduled this week...  Do you need to be a candle or a beacon?

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Chery is one of the Authors of the new Lead Change Book, The Character-Based Leader, Instigating A Leadership Revolution… One Person At A Time.  Click the link above to receive a complimentary chapter of the book.