[February 12, 2019] Dealing with children can be an amazing experience; one filled with new things, high energy, and interesting challenges. Observing children at play with their peers opens new windows into the importance of how children progress to be likable youngsters. Their efforts are not that different from a balanced leader; one who seeks the right attitude and skill sets to navigate a volatile, uncertain, complex world.
As regular readers of this Senior Leadership Blog are aware, I volunteer to help young Boy Scouts become men who are capable of making informed, moral decisions. This effort begins by working with the boys to teach them how to be a balanced person.1 Mental fitness, physical health, spirituality, socialization, and meaningful work are all a part of this task. It’s not an easy task, and my hat goes off to primary school teachers who do this every day.
A truly balanced leader is one who can 1) lead people to both accomplish their missions and take responsibility for their care, as well as 2) maintain their balance (as noted above). To sail in the choppy waters of the real world requires good decision making and that is what we teach them. But we add to this by showing what is personally balance through maintaining good psychological, spiritual, and physical health.
Less balanced leadership methods are often unstable or unworkable. We’ve all seen the narcissistic and self-important leader who functions best in a toxic work environment. This person is inwardly focused, and while they might care strongly about getting the mission accomplished, they have little desire to care for their followers.
Balanced leadership means being able to convince people to agree on a common goal and then provide the vision, methods, and resources to get the job done. This leadership is not just for big business but for all levels and sizes of organizations. The smallest family unit, for example, is always in need of someone who can employ a balanced way to hold the family together and keep care for them.
Human negotiation is a challenge when an inexperienced and unbalanced leader is unskilled. That is why we give our Boy Scouts many occasions to practice their leadership efforts. We provide oversight to ensure all goes well and they do so in a safe environment. We also never let them forget that doing the right thing, the morally right thing, is what makes the difference.
- When working with boys, it sometimes seems like we are working in a befuddled environment. The aspirations and motivations these young boys are bringing with them are difficult to understand and manage. Just getting them to focus and pay attention is challenging enough but then we add the demand to burn off physical energy; this can be tiring to an older fellow like me.