Do you remember as a kid learning to color? A coloring book would be given to you and some fantastic Crayola crayons and off you go. You would work diligently to try and match the right shade of green to go with the right shade of brown so the grass and the trunks of the trees would look believable. Painstakingly and slowly you take time gently moving the crayon along the edges of the lines so as to not cross over. The right shades of color are one thing, but staying inside the line is a must.
Logically, I understand that teaching structure and order is a good thing. Organizations must have a flow to them that provides a precise mechanism for decision making, along with accountability. But I wonder if, as leaders, we have too often stayed inside the lines to make it easier, especially for us.
When I refer to “coloring inside the lines” or staying within the organizational structure, I’m not implying anything wrong. I am however, stating that when leaders continuously go along with a template (coloring page), it is too easy to stick with the pattern versus branching out into the white space that exists. Is there anything wrong with playing it safe, with being within the framework of the lines? Of course not. But a leader’s job is to set the course and provide a vision. So the question one should ask is, “Does the vision always have to stay within the lines?”
Having the leadership courage to venture outside of the lines certainly has risks associated with it. It can become comfortable to reach a leadership position and stay there (that’s being inside the lines). Over the next three posts, we will take a look at three reasons why leaders play it safe and color inside the lines:
- Fear of the Unknown
- Fear of Change
- Fear of Failure
Coloring is always fun, but leading with creativity and inspiration…always better!
Now GO Lead!