Wanted: Good Runners & Good Leaders

A friend asked me to coach her to run a marathon with a time goal. I refused.
“You don’t need a marathon coach, but a running coach. To succeed at doing a marathon, you need to be a good runner. I can coach you to be a good runner.”

An epic story lies under this medal. Read about it in The Competitor in Me.

An epic story lies under this medal. Read about it in The Competitor in Me.

Being a good runner means you can tackle tough conditions, and you have the ability to train for harder things, like marathons. I reminded her of the 2007 Chicago marathon, when uncommon October heat topped out at 88 degrees. The race closed halfway through, causing all sorts of controversy that’s still alive today. Whether you agree with the race course closing or not, good runners were ready for anything, adjusted their nutrition, hydration, and pace, and were successful that day.

The same can be said for being a good leader. And, like it or not, even if you are not a leader in the positional sense, you are a leader. You are on a work team, you are a parent, a charity committee member, a child of elderly parents, and so you are a leader. Why not be the best leader you can be, so you are ready for any distance, any condition?

Leading in new space, like Scaled Agile Framework, a leader can easily fall back heavy on the tools. It’s safer, faster, and right there on paper. Wanting to have all the answers, and look like the cutting edge leader, it’s so tempting to fold into these tools, instead of the heart and mind of leadership. Like focusing on that marathon event instead of building a strong, all-conditions runner.

Step past that safe-feeling temptation, and choose to be stronger, choose to be different from the rest. Choose to take the time to understand what it means to be a leader in your new world, and then make a plan to do it. It’s likely you will want a coach, so make yourself vulnerable like my friend did, and trust an expert to help you be the very best leader you can be.

It sounds easy, but it’s not. That’s why we have so few good leaders.

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