I didn’t mean to stop the fun that we were having but the young guys were acting up too much. Some of my colleagues and I were running a life skill camp at a boys ranch home (detention facility) in California, and we had set up some obstacle courses on a grass field but the guys weren’t “playing ball”.

They ended up horse playing to the point that I raised my voice and directed them to sit down in the shade by the main building. It was then that I took about 5 minutes from the fun we had prepared for them to “teach” them at what I saw as an opportune moment. Surprisingly, all eyes were on me as I spoke from the heart about their situation and the skills they would need to not come back to a place like the one in which they were living.

I was so noticeably intense that the supervisor of the place pulled me to the side,

“I can tell you’ve done this before. Right? That’s exactly what they needed to hear. Thanks for doing that. At least now they know that you guys care more than just doing some games.”

I just nodded. She continued,

“You have it. Never lose that.”

“Excuse me?”

“It’s just an idea I created about leadership. It’s the idea of being a window. The best leaders are the ones who, when you look at them, you don’t see them. The leader doesn’t look for recognition of themselves. They work hard on being a window to the future. When you look at and hear these types of leaders you envision the future you’ve always thought that you could reach. You begin seeing that if you stick around them that you will reach that vision for sure. You have that. And the boys here noticed it.”

Office staff looking out of a window

I never really know how to deal with compliments, so I shake my head up and down, say “thanks”, and walk back to the group.

I wanted to share that concept so that you can ask yourself a few questions. These are questions I struggle with daily since the moment I heard this idea.

1) When people are around you do you want them to recognize and praise your “greatness and future” or you, theirs?

2) Are you willing to exist for the goals of another?

3) How many people feel energized after they are in your presence?

What has amazed me since that supervisor spoke with me was that she was also a window, because I saw a glimpse of my future in her kind words and I left her feeling energized! She was that leader! And as you can see I still am standing and staring through the window she left for me.

Are you this leader?

 

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