Off With Those Training Wheels

training_wheelsRecent experience reminded me that  the longer you keep the training wheels attached to a bicycle, the longer it takes for the learner to build the confidence to go without it. Sure they’re useful. They minimize the bumps and bruises. However, being too afraid of the  bumps and bruises could mean keeping the training wheels longer than necessary.The bumps and bruises help a lot in the learning process to you know. They teach us how to get up after a fall and hopefully learn how to balance better to avoid the painful fall. The experience too, should teach us that the pain of a fall is nothing compared to the joy of the ride.

This is true with bicycles as it is with life. As parents, leaders managers, and teachers, we sometimes fear letting go. As children, learners and wards we become too dependent for our own good. We all know those training wheels will have to go one day. It’s just that one day is not today. Remember the lesson. The longer you keep them, the longer it takes for you to face the challenges of life. Remember too that even the best cyclists crash and fall once in a while. My point is, the only way to avoid falling from a bike, is to never ride it. But do you really want that?

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Pottery and Leadership

It starts with a shapeless chunk of earth. Dry and rough, devoid of beauty nor refinement but not without potential. The potter prepares the materials with a detailed picture of the end product in mind. He adds just enough water and other materials. He lets his hands dirty as he tries to get the right consistency. When the batter is ready, he waits some more for the water to rise and the clay is ready for the next step.

The potter puts the clay on the pottery wheel and starts working on the shape. The shaping of the clay depends on the skill and creativity of the potter. The success and failure to acquire the right shape is on his hands. After the shape is acquired, the material is solidified by putting it through intense heat. The pot is beautified further by painting it and putting more design. The final product once complete is vastly different from when the process started.

Such is the work of a potter and such is the work of a leader.

She starts with a little more than potential. She prepares the team for the shaping process by giving them a sense of purpose and other basic information they need that will motivate them to accept the bigger information they will get as they go through the process of building their skills – the shaping process. The newly acquired skills is put through the intense heat of testing to solidify it. The leader adds on to what has already been acquired by letting them use their own creativity to adjust to the daily challenge of their work. The finished product is vastly improve from when the shaping process started.

Vision, creativity patience, discipline and willingness to get one’s hands dirty are necessary to succeed in both