Byron's Babbles

Tending The Leadership Fire

Posted in Coaching, Education, Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 28, 2012


Last night as we sat around the fire visiting, my son, Heath, asked a very astute question. He asked: “Dad, why won’t one log burn? It takes several to make a fire.” This was a great question and I explained that fire needs a “critical mass” in order to burn well. Just one log sitting in a stove will not ignite or burn. You must first establish a good draft in the chimney or fire pit and a good bed of red-hot embers to achieve a good burn.

A good Flame means a good Fire – Much of the heat from wood is in the form of the gases we know as “smoke”. If you burn your stove improperly, lots of unburnt smoke will escape up the chimney and cause excess creosote (tar) formation on your chimney and also pollute the great outdoors. A proper fire BURNS this smoke. In general you should always see a flame on your fire. This is a simple gauge of whether you are burning properly. A smokey fire is a dirty and inefficient one!

Leave some space between the wood – Musicians say “it’s not the notes we play that make great music, it’s the spaces between the notes”…same with a fire. Cris-Crossing your wood or placing odd-shaped pieces in the fire help the airflow through your stove or fireplace.

Now think about all the qualities and requirements of a good fire I just included above. Do we not need all the same qualities when tending our leadership fire?

It is nice to sit and watch the fire, watch the flames flicker but soon if you only watch and don’t feed your fire it dies down. You start to feel the chill back in the air. You must get up and put on another log on the fire. As leaders, we must have the situational awareness to make sure our organizational fire is stoked with the right people all burning together as a roaring learning organization.

You need to feel like a roaring fire about getting a sale, about new members and about helping others. That is true leadership. You are cheating yourself if you are not feeding the fire. When you have a good fire going people feel that. They want to join and work with you. They feel the warmth, peace and security.

Discipline is required so the flames within you and the others in your organization never die down to an ember. Be a pro, be a leader and keep the fire growing within yourself and those you lead. Do not let the fire burn down to coals that need a poke to get started again.

Examine yourself. Be honest. Do you have your fire blazing everyday? You need to put logs on your fire to keep it going. Be possessed by your fire. Do the things required to succeed. Work at your situational awareness, work with your team; educate yourself, read each day. You can’t just sit back and watch the fire. It will go out. It has to be fed. One log by itself will not burn with any heat or intensity. Each day you need to put logs on your and your organization’s figurative fire.

Stay focused on your goals. Stay focused on your organization’s goals. Be aware of how you can tend to the goals of those you lead. Think of how it feels to reach those goals.

Keep your leadership fire burning bright!

Tend your organization’s leadership fire!

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