My father passed away when I was 15, so when it came to things like fixing the car, I leaned on the dads of my friends and some of the older men at church. One afternoon, one of these men is helping fix my car and taught me a really simple leadership lesson:
“People are like motors, some have 4 cylinder motors, some have V6’s and others have V8’s.”
Not very elaborate or deeply philosophical, but very practical!!
Stop and think about this for a moment… what is the size of your leadership motor? Are you a Briggs & Stratton lawn mower motor, 4 cylinder, v6, Ford 5.0, 6.2L 420hp LT1 Corvette motor or a big, turbo Cummins tractor trailer motor?
The Motor Principle of Leadership is about how much weight our leadership can pull and growing our leadership horsepower.
Want to know the two keys to the motor principle?
First, knowing the size of our leadership motor is important because we must be able to accurately assess where we are and finding the deficiencies. Whether it be position, success or people blowing smoke up our tailpipe, exaggerating our leadership motor size is very easy and 99.9% of the time, all of us think more highly of ourselves than we should.
When the weight gets added to the wagon, the weaknesses begin to show up.
As leaders we need to surround ourselves with people that speak truth into our world. We need to have safeguards in place that eliminate the feeding of our ego and give us a healthy dose of reality. With that in place we can begin to accurately assess how much weight our leadership motor can tow. The first step in addressing the motor principle is being truthful about where we are, here are a couple things to help assess this:
- Giving permission for and expecting criticism and input.
- Ego lies to us, are we keeping it in a really little box?
- Are we always having problems or preemptively preventing them?
Secondly, the Motor Principle of Leadership should challenge us to always be growing our leadership skills. This commitment to growth is essential and foundational, good leaders see learning as a lifelong, insatiable hunger that is never satisfied and without it, we are doomed as leaders. The thirst for learning comes when we starve our ego, admit we really aren’t that smart and put hard work into the learning process. Learning comes from a host of different sources, here are a couple ways learning can grow our leadership horsepower:
- Make a commitment to being a student of leadership.
- Have older, more mature leaders we meet with on a regular basis.
- Make reading a priority, not just a few blogs or articles, but a growing diet of solid books.
“Leadership is your engine. The farther you want to go, the stronger it needs to be.” – Denae Armstrong
What are some other way of assessing where we are and how to grow our leadership horsepower?
The Leadership Umbrella Principle
Wooden On Leadership