Mowing + Weeding = Leadership?

After a 2 week vacation, I return home to find a 8 inch tall lawn and many tall weeds spread around the yard.  This could be an easy task with a gas-powered mower but I have a modern reel mower.  100% environment friendly and 100% manual labor.  Completing the task can definitely be considered a workout.

But what does this have to do with leadership? Here are some lessons I get from it.

  • Rests the mind: walking gives the mind a break from the stresses of life.  All I’m doing is pushing weight and walking.  Exercise and mental rest.
  • Grass and Weeds always come back: problems, micro managers, and energy vampires always come back to bother. If we tackle issues consistently and with discipline they will never become a big deal (i.e. a jungle).
  • Builds endurance: the task may be a struggle but the more we do it, the better we get at it.  And after a while, it’s no hassle at all.  As leaders we need to build our stamina in order to face the barriers of tomorrow.  Leading staff, setting the example, putting out fires, dealing with needy customers, and company drama are energy drainers.  It’s up to us to manage that energy and keep making deposits.
  • Instant Feedback: everything is great when we see immediate results. Missed a spot, grass too short or too tall, weeds still around, we know all these things immediately after the first pass. As leaders, receiving immediate feedback about our actions, expectations, goals, and vision helps us grow, improve our skills, and eliminate inefficiencies.
  • Sense of Achievement: after all our hard work, it feels great to see the finished product.  Every great work is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration.  after all, it’s is that amount of effort that makes it valuable.  If leadership were easy, anyone could do it.  We (leaders) standout because we are willing to pay the price.
  • It’s about the journey: for achievers the adventure to reach the finish line is worth more than the end result.  The fun is always along the way; once we are there, the trip is over! Some of my best leadership lessons come from the fiasco that happened between the start of a project and the failure that came.  I get more from the broken process, the things that were/weren’t said, and the actions that weren’t taken rather than observing the negative result.

Who would have thought you could learn leadership from such an annoying chore.  What do you think?



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