“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” — Genesis 1:3 (NIV)
Light is fundamental to all life and growth. As a leader, being light is a fundamental trait for engaging, influencing, and equipping others.
Here are eight ways a leader’s light makes a difference.
- Light in your eyes. God created light first because it is energy; nothing happens or lives without it. When you look in people’s eyes, your energy and hope for progress is contagious.
- Lightness of being. Some people add weight to other people’s shoulders. Some lighten the load by sharing the yoke. And some reveal when the load is unnecessary and should simply be set down. What’s your effect on the shoulders around you?
- Light of the world. Light spreads, from one candle to several candles, eventually to millions of candles. Hope, compassion, freedom, respect, collaboration, and so much more can spread like wildfire.
- Light the path. You don’t need to have all the answers or to know the way. But if you can help everyone focus their light together, it will be a flashlight to help the team move forward.
- Lighten the mood. People often lose perspective when they get too serious for too long. A smile or a little humor goes a long way in reminding us that life goes on and it’s too short.
- Light on your feet.You don’t have to be physically fit to be a good leader, but having been both heavy and fit, I can tell you it makes a difference. When I am lighter, I have greater confidence, energy, and willingness to step out on a limb.
- Light the facts. Light is not always fun and games. Sometimes light is needed to expose reality, reveal the facts, sound the alarm. Darkness can prolong a dangerous myth, or hide an emperor’s nakedness.
I’m not arguing for being a pollyanna or eternal cheerleader. In the last few weeks, I’ve counseled two leaders of two different businesses to pull the plug on huge projects they were about to launch. Together, we looked at data on their likely ROI and probability of success, and determined they should wait for a better opportunity to invest their resources.
It may sound like I was a wet blanket. But in the days that followed, both business leaders told me how excited they were about their decision to cancel the projects. They both had a new light in their eyes, and a little more light to see down the path they wanted to travel.
Darkness is the absence of light. At any point in time, you are either adding to the light, or subtracting from it.
Are you the light, or the darkness? Let there be light.
Jesse Lahey, SPHR, is the host of the Engaging Leader podcast and managing principal of Aspendale Communications. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. If you know anyone who would benefit from this information, please share it!