Are You a Leader, Ice Sculptor, or Both?
You don’t need to know the first thing about ice sculpting to be a good leader. But if you’re willing to take pointers from shaping a frozen block of water into a powerfully moving image, you can move from average to remarkable in the world of leadership.
It’s common knowledge that vision leaks. Leadership gurus routinely liken this to a proverbial bucket with a hole in the bottom. Because followers easily forget the mission and what’s at stake, leaders are instructed to keep filling their vision bucket so that everyone stays inspired. The problem with this metaphor is that buckets are hardly motivational, especially broken ones that require routine maintenance.
Leaky vision buckets exhaust everyone—leaders and followers alike. This world, and the influencers that lead it, need new imagery in order to create a vision for the future that’s urgent, engaging, and impactful.
In the realm of vision casting, how would you lead differently if you saw your role as an ice sculptor instead of a leaky bucket refiller?
Ice sculpting dates back thousands of years. What once was practiced as a way to provide shelter in harsh arctic conditions has since transformed into modern art more than a method of survival. However, there are similarities between both purposes behind ice sculpting. Someone with a vision to serve decided to make something meaningful. They had to work against time in order to make a difference in the world. Their labor drew themselves and others into the project. And, in the end, the result was a sight to behold, a marker signaling what was once unseen to the naked eye.
Ice sculpting sets leaders apart from followers with no leaky bucket needed. What the people you lead need from you is to see what you’re making from a giant block of ice. If you envision a bear or an eagle, it will become apparent in time…but not too much time, or your frozen block will melt into a puddle. If you see a fist representing strength or resistance, you’ll need to shape it slowly through carving, chiseling, and a whole lot of patience (a trait not evidenced by enough leaders these days).
In whatever sphere you find yourself leading in, you have the opportunity to gift people with your vision through whatever you make from the raw material in front of you. In a matter of time, they’ll start to see what your heart sees, and what emerges will inspire them way more than a defective bucket.
This week, take time to sculpt and share your vision as a leader:
What do you hope will happen as a result of your best-efforts day in and day out?
How can the people and resources around you be mobilized for the good of this world?
As you cast this vision, what timely image will you sculpt so it inspires all you lead?