When sitting we can take many postures. For example we can slouch back and put our feet up or sit erect and tense, or we can sit on the edge of our seat leaning forward. Each posture communicates a different attitude about the world around us.
Sitting postures provide a great illustration for different postures we can take as leaders. For example, there are times when being laid back or tense and alert can be the most appropriate postures a leader can take. But I believe a leader’s most predominate posture should be forward leaning. Forward leaning leaders are leaders who are ready for action, looking for opportunities, and attuned to the people and world around them. It’s an externally focused posture.
This posture is important because we lead in a fast changing and values shifting world where opportunities and dangers disappear as quickly as they appear. Only leaders who are in a forward leaning position can effectively navigate and lead in such a world.
So what’s your leadership posture? Here are some of the questions that can help identify your “sitting position”:
What is my mental, emotional and physical posture?
Am I focused on the world around me or is my focus turned inside?
If an opportunity arises will I see it?If a problem comes our way will I have myself and my team prepared or will we be caught off guard?
Be a forward leaning leader and you and your team will always be ready for action.
Because our two youngest boys run high school track I’ve attended a lot of track meets over the past few years. And because I’ve never ran track, I’m learning a few things about proper running.
One of the things I’ve learned is that to run fast you need to lean forward, or as I’ve heard coaches yell to their runners – “lean in”. And from a layperson’s perspective I take this to mean your head and chest should to be stretching forward towards the finish line.
I’ve also learned that a runner needs to be forward leaning right out of the blocks, from their first step right through to their final step at the finish line. Each step, each movement of their entire body, needs to be aligned forward if a runner’s to run their best race.
Now it’s important to understand that this is not a reckless way to run but it’s the posture that puts a runner in the best form to reduced injuries and increase speed. In other words, leaning forward is the best short-term and long-term posture for winning.
Unfortunately the concept of forward leaning has begun to have a bad reputation in military, political, business and other leadership circles because it’s been misapplied. Too often the concept’s used as a guise for aggressive and, and often, reckless strategy.
So let me suggest that truly forward leaning (not reckless) leadership and organizations have these three characteristics in common with runners. They:
are focused on the finish line
have all their resources such as money and time, and most importantly, their people (energy, hearts and minds), aligned to race their best time
are disciplined, intentional and thoughtful in both their planning and in executing their plans
In other words forward leaning leaders and organizations are running their races in a way that achieves victory.
For over twenty years Michael Perry has made it his mission to bring young people closer to Christ through his Bible study publications, his capacity as the President and CEO of SpringHill, and his recent book, Experience = Everything. Over the last fifty years, SpringHill has changed over half a million lives—proving that it is more than just camp, or a place, SpringHill is a transformative experience.