Moving From ‘Here to There’
My interest in the above caption was stirred up when I was about to cross a bridge some weeks ago. Although the bridge was small, I needed it to get to the other end of the road. I learnt some lessons instantly. Firstly, there are many things that seem insignificant to us as leaders, but could affect us as we progress in life. Furthermore, we must keep moving by availing ourselves of the bridges accessible to us. As leaders, we cannot afford to stop. We must take that extra steps to cross the bridge and get to the other side. There are opportunities for challenges, newness, knowledge, experience, and growth as we do this.
Human beings are meant to move. As a matter of fact, our whole body is wired to move because this plays a major role in our emotions, learning, relationships and well-being.
We Have Stopped Moving
“In less than two generations, physical activity has dropped by 20% in the U.K. and 32% in the U.S. In China, the drop is 45% in less than one generation. Vehicles, machines and technology now do our moving for us. What we do in our leisure time doesn’t come close to making up for what we’ve lost” – designedtomove.org.
Just as physical movement is important to humans, a leader needs to be able to move from one level to another. The lack of movement for a leader connotes dearth of innovation which leads to staleness.
Now let’s consider some of these bridges:
The bridge of Character. Good character in leadership commands respect. It is the foundation upon which leading people is based. This is so important since a person’s character, good or bad can either inspire people or discourage them. Character here connotes integrity, trust and openness. A leader who crosses the bridge of good character will be able to get to the other side of the journey quicker than others.
The bridge of Networking. All leaders need to build good working relations with people who can help them achieve their overall vision. They augment this with strategic networking relationships outside their organisations. Leaders increase their influence with people when they nurture and expand these interconnected groups.This is a very critical requirement for leaders since their meaningfulness depends on their ability to network. Effective leaders must create a fabric of personal contacts, who will provide support, feedback, resources and information.
The bridge of Presence. This is the quality of being totally here. There is power in being present. A leader who is present is able to engage the hearts of people through active listening, openness and authenticity. This would create platforms for the release of fresh ideas and uncover great potentials. Leaders who utilises this bridge will be able to influence people as they progress in their journey.
The bridge of Opportunities. Leaders do have opportunities every day to model good ‘leadership’ qualities through their actions and behaviours.Taking advantage of these opportunities would increase visibility in a positive way.
The bridge of Communication. The importance of communication for leaders cannot be overemphasised. This must be done regularly with clarity. In every situation, people want to know what is happening.Honest communication will create a sense of inclusiveness in every organisation.
Great leaders need to cross the above bridges and more to take people from ‘here’ to ‘there’. A bridge is a structure that conveys people, traffic over a river, road, railway lines, etc (Concise Edition Dictionary and Thesaurus, 2007). In essence, it provides an avenue for leaders to add values to others. We must understand that crossing a bridge is not just a one-off task, there are others ahead as we advance on the leadership ladder.it takes discipline and commitment to pass across and take others along. After all, that is what leadership is all about.