The Leadership Dock

by | Leadership, Teamwork, Thoughts

A platform where leaders can anchor, release, and receive leadership concepts.

If a man does not know to what port he is steering, no wind

is favorable to him.”  Seneca.

“The leadership dock is not anchored in an elitist lake, but in an all embracing

ocean, welcoming both established leaders and emerging leaders.

Stephen M. Gower, CSP

Leadership is not what it use to be. Many leaders are not ready for the challenge.  It is as if leaders are in the fourth quarter of a football game.  There are five minutes to go in the game; the home team is down by fourteen points.  They are forced into a “catch-up” mentality.  Had they paid the preparation price earlier, foreseen what could happen, and visited The Leadership Dock earlier, they would not find themselves in this situation.  They are experiencing overwhelming awkwardness.   

Like a Pelican in the Desert

The pelican is a large waterbird, with an ostensible pouch designed for the scooping up of fish. The desert is a dry, barren piece of land. The two do not belong together. 

There are three areas in which leaders currently feel like a pelican in the desert.

1. The training minus the tutorial touch where new trainers have task-knowledge are immediately thrust into teaching that knowledge as trainers, void of the tutorial touch.

2. They lack experience in relationship with people skills and speaking in public. Emerging leaders with task expertise placed into leadership responsibility minus leadership experience.

3. Established leaders who have put in the years but now are minus the yearning.  They want to leave the leadership dock for good. Many quit before they quit.

What’s in Your Pocket?

In the Spring of 2017, a section of I-85 collapsed, impacting Atlanta and the rest of the country. Those who traveled I-85 daily found themselves feeling like a pelican in the desert. Within days of that event, another accident took place in Atlanta, drawing much less attention. A young man had an electronic device explode in his pocket, causing him a sufficient injury. This healthy young man, also felt like a pelican in the desert, finding himself in Grady Hospital.

Arriving at The Leadership Dock, you may feel like a pelican in the desert. After some time, departing from the dock, you may feel more like a leader within your team. More importantly, you will want to claim and polish the leader within you. 

Finders Keepers

Attitudes or assumptions that you bring to the leadership dock can either hurt or help your leadership journey. I encourage you to re-think the following assumptions while on the dock:

  • Work-life balance
  • Practice makes perfect
  • The significance is on the back-end
  • Words do not matter
  • Your microphone has an on-off switch

Work-life balance is nonsense. While you are working, your life is going on. Indeed, your work may be a place where you can make a difference in someone’s life.

Practice makes for perfect: Not true. Practice will make for better. The excessive drive for perfection is both delusion and discouragement.

Significance is on the back-end. Again, not true. Significance is not something that you earn. Significance is something that you already have—on the front-end. The front-end of significance frees you to yearn to make a difference. You will never be more significant than you are now.

Words do not matter. Not so. Words can hurt or help. Two examples are:  “The people who work ‘for me’ will join us later.”  Or “The people who work ‘with me’ will join us later.” The second example is:  “You made a mistake here.”   (person-centered).  Or  “ I have some feedback I would like to share.”  (issued centered).

Your microphone has an on and off switch. No such switch exists. You are always putting out images, and your microphone is always on. Someone is always there to see and/or hear you.

Re-visit The Leadership Dock to examine your thoughts. While on the dock, you will want to retain some concepts on-board, release and replace some avenues of thought. Remember, the concept that you remove must be replaced with a new approach. The above listed are the concepts that you want to avoid.

The following beneficial concepts will aid both you and your team. You will want to keep them in your pocket:

What you do not think about may cost you the results you want.

You have the power to choose your response. Choices create, confirm, or change circumstances.

There is more to you than you ever imagined. The Leadership Dock will help you identify and call to action the leader within you. 

There is more to strength sculpting than there is to weakness-chiseling.

Today is the day to fix tomorrow.

The Leadership Dock rests on calm waters freeing you to evaluate what is in your leadership pocket. Once, I flew over Salt Lake City and was surprised at what I saw. Previously, on other flights, the clouds kept me from seeing the lake. On this occasion, I had a clear view of Salt Lake enabling me to have a view of the jet in the lake.

You may anchor at The Leadership Dock. And after several cloudy days, you should leave with fewer clouds and more clarity concerning your leadership journey. 

Stephen is the best-selling author of 26 books, including What Do They See When They See You Coming? He has also written countless articles for a variety of publications and has produced multiple audio books and video programs. Stephen has appeared on PBS Television and XM Sirius Satellite Radio. He continues to hold one of the highest invite-back ratios in the speaking profession.