Dr. Paul Metler
Leadership Lessons From the Flash
It’s another banner year for superhero fans. Take your pick. CW offers The Flash and Arrow and Fox provides a gritty look at the young batman in Gotham. Everybody loves a hero. Last night’s debut of The Flash introduced Barry Allen as a forensic scientist who receives a fortuitous lightning strike and a dose of chemicals and emerges as the fastest man on the planet. So what can we learn from The Flash?
The superpower seems to always reveal a deep desire within the budding hero. Often, the deep desires of the superheroes are cleverly revealed in childhood crises that foreshadow the emergence of the hero. For example, Barry was a kid that was never fast enough to escape his problems with bullies. Presto! He’s the fastest man on earth. Oddly enough, his challenges did not diminish with the dawn of his new identity. Today, most leaders dream of increased speed. We want to do things better and faster. We snag the latest technology and have an insatiable appetite for anything that offers time saving value.
In fact, the power of technology has enabled us to accomplish many tasks in a mere fraction of the time once required. Has the increased speed of technology diminished your leadership challenges? Clearly, the need for speed is not the most basic need. In fact, speed magnifies many other, more significant needs. Watch any superhero show and two essential themes seem to always emerge.
The first character crisis for all superheroes is a question of stewardship. How will I use my power for the good of society? When, where and how will I exercise power? With whom will I share my secrets? All leaders confront the same basic questions every day. Stewardship is a fairly good “one word” definition of leadership. At the core of leadership is a bold question of stewardship. How will I steward my time, resources, opportunities and relationships?
That’s a perfect intro to the second critical issue for all superheroes and leaders. It is all about “relationships”. The relationship struggles of superheroes are legendary. Think about the relationship woes of Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk, Peter Parker/Spiderman, Clark Kent/Superman, Selina Kyle/Catwoman and Bruce Wayne/Batman, just to name a few. These heroes are less than super in the relationship department. If you have ever read a comic book or watched a superhero movie, you really don’t need a lengthy explanation.
What about you? With superheroes and leaders, relationships are a critical part of the story. Given the speed of leadership today, one of the greatest questions that every leader must answer is: “How will I steward my relationships?” It’s far too easy to get caught up in “saving the world” and forget to invest time and effort building a culture of trust in your leadership team. It’s hard to tell The Flash to slow down. But, creating a healthy leadership culture is not possible in an instant. It requires your time and energy. Building trust is a lengthy and intentional process. How will you answer the “stewardship” question today?
At InitiativeOne, we have a proven track record of helping create a healthy leadership culture. For more information, visit us today at https://www.initiative-one.com