create balance

the importance of leadership

"Putting on the big boots…’’ is a timely reminder that someone always needs to start a movement.

This charming but quite compelling concept of leadership is borrowed from Winnie the Pooh, chapter eight, in the hundred-acre wood.

"As soon as he saw Christopher Robin putting on his big boots, Pooh knew an adventure was bound to happen. We’re going on an expedition he said to Pooh - all of us, that’s what an expedition means … a long line of everybody’’

Leading a long line of everybody might now be my favourite definition of leadership and indeed the notion of going on an expedition, might fit exactly to where we all are today.

But it’s more than one person leading one expedition.

What Christopher Robin is simply creating, is a movement. A movement, that involves and indeed needs, everybody to come along.

Oh no!… I hear you cry, not another metaphor for the post pandemic journey. 

We’ve done Covid, it truly was disruptive, but now we’ve adopted the new norms surely the job is done. Please can we just get on with it!

A while after Covid, Harvard Business Review (HBR) challenged this, suggesting that "we’ve slipped on ice but haven’t yet hit the pavement - we’re caught in a suspended state between losing control and feeling the full impact.’’ 

The comparison they say, points to a conflicting tension that leaders must manage: providing direction, guidance, and reassurance about the present, whilst also acknowledging that the path ahead isn’t clear.

HBR advise that "doing one thing without the other doesn’t work - both are needed, to help people find the clarity and strength to move forward’’.

They’re right of course, but can a leader do both?

They can if they create a movement that has the clarity and capability to do it.

HBR also suggest that balancing this tension requires leading with humanity.

We certainly believe that creating balance is necessary to keep moving forward.

But how?

Putting on the big boots, signifies a leadership confidence and commitment, in understanding and clarifying for others, who we are what we do and why we do it… 

Only when leaders and their followers are fully connected to this, are they ready for the expedition ahead. This clarity and connection is vital, as it sets the direction.

With this in place, leading the adventure is then a much easier task, as the long line of everybody, now has shared values, principles and a purpose.

Whilst HBR also acknowledged that the path ahead may still not be clear, we do have a direction that can inform ‘how’ we do things and what actions we choose to take.

In truth, the current reality of the path ahead will consistently change around us.

Recent obstacles may not have been as disruptive as the pandemic, but this is not the first disruption we’ve faced and dealt with. It’s by adjusting how we respond to each, that helps us create balance. 

As both challenges and opportunities emerge, everyone on the expedition now has the ability to address them… the ability to make their own choices and take their own decisions, each consistently reflecting who we are, what we do and why we do it.

It’s by adjusting how we act and respond to each, that helps us create the balance we need to survive, succeed and keep moving forward.

In our current reality, the importance of leadership is paramount in providing direction and reassurance, whilst also acknowledging that the path ahead isn’t clear.

more balanced thinking