Leading a Fine Line


Like it or not, leaders walk a fine line…

In every interaction, every decision, every day.

If we don’t give the right attention to our steps

We can lose our way.

The fine line between recognition and manipulation

The fine line between teaching and telling

The fine line between encouraging and enabling

The fine line between caring and controlling

The fine line between empowerment and passivity

The fine line between inquiry and indecision

The fine line between community and competition

The fine line between patience and denial

The fine line between courageous and reckless

 And so on.

The words we use

The behaviors we reinforce

What we notice

It all matters.

You’ve probably noticed that tight rope walkers carry a long pole.

They use it to adjust for errors, distractions or outside forces.

Knowing it will help them stay centered under stress.

Every leader needs a counterbalance.

Invite others to observe you and share honest feedback

Allow sufficient downtime to keep your mind alert

Learn to focus on your current task

Reflect before you act

  Live your values

Listen carefully

Bring laughter into your day

Create a vision that guides your choices

Prioritize your important tasks before the urgent noise

You can try to avoid the fine line.

Or pretend it isn’t there.

But one day you may look back

And wonder how you came to be so far off course.

How have you experienced the fine line?

Where is your counterbalance?


A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life. – William Arthur Ward
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Smart Leaders Check the Weather



Few people wash their car when thunderstorms are in the forecast.

Yet leaders make major decisions without checking the weather.

By the way, there’s no app for that – we have to go see for ourselves.

Knowing the forecast can save us from wasted effort and frustration.


Consider these 8 types of  weather worth watching:

Mostly Cloudy – people don’t understand the context or vision.

Chance of Rain – there are outside forces that may derail your plans.

Chance of Storms – there are unresolved internal conflicts looming.

Drought – the energy level of the organization is at a low point.

High Temps – there is intense pressure on the organization.

Hail – the organization is fragile and at risk of serious damage.

Windy – the organization is experiencing confusing or even contradictory priorities.

Lightning – there are hot spots in the organization that need attention.


Sometimes this means delaying or changing a decision based on what the we see in the forecast.

And just like any good meteorologist…

Smart leaders realize they won’t always get it right.

So they are prepared just in case.

umbrella hat





What types of organizational weather have you experienced? How did you handle it?

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