Have you ever thought about the similarity of leadership and shoes? Most of us know when it is time to get a new pair of shoes, or when it is time for a visit to the shoe repair shop. We’ve each likely had a pair of shoes tired and worn from lots of use. The soles have a hole and the heel is worn down; they are scuffed, shabby and beyond a good polish to get them back in good order. There is also the possibility a new pair catches your eye, and you just have to have them to add to your shoe collection, whether you need them or not. It’s likely we’ve each had a pair of shoes that didn’t fit well, but we continued to wear them. Why? Probably because they looked good and we thought others would like them too.
What about your leadership?
How do you know it is time give your leadership an overhaul, or simply add to your leadership tool box? What are those signs it is time for something new, or your leadership may not be a good fit, if not downright painful? These leadership challenges may be tied to your strategic planning, decision making, communications, conflict, change management, engagement and accountability or a host of other required leadership skills. You or your organization may struggle with deciding to move a specific initiative forward. Perhaps a decision can be made, but the ability to build support and engagement becomes a roadblock. Or, maybe it takes forever to accomplish, the results are not what were anticipated, it fades away due to a lack of accountability, or the bottom line value seems questionable.
These may all be signs it is time to deepen you leadership knowledge and skill, and learn how to make it more practical for results. A role or title does not guarantee good leadership, just like those really attractive shoes don’t guarantee a good fit. Development of current and emerging leaders doesn’t happen easily or without an investment in leadership knowledge and skill. The self-awareness to know when you need help seems similar to knowing when your shoes need repair or you simply need a new pair. Leadership requires time, patience and a commitment to learn and develop, and a key is to have the self-awareness to know when to seek those who can provide an overhaul or establish a solid foundation on which to build and refine.
So, is it time to bring your leadership in to be refurbished, or time to invest leadership development? The next time you are struggling, think about your shoes.