Do you remember making shadow puppets growing up? Shadow puppets were created when you contorted your fingers and hands into specific shapes. You’d do all of this in front of a light. If you had your hands in the right positions, you could fascinate your friends with the creatures you could make.
Shadow puppets were always interesting to me. They’d allow you to create an image without actually having the object. Sometimes you’d make a dog or a bat or a bird. The options seemed limitless.
It was an illusion of the light and darkness. What was there wasn’t and what wasn’t really there was. What you saw was determined by what you were looking at.
I was reminded of this as I took my dog outside. With a flashlight in had, I walked him to the backyard. The flashlight hit Zane, my dog, at just the right angle. His shadow made him appear enormous. About 3 times his normal size. The ears looked extra perky. His body shape looked dangerous.
When I moved the flashlight, the shadow changed. It looked almost normal.
Your Leadership Shadow
Different styles of leadership will cast a different shadow for others to see. What kind of shadow are you casting?
Are you angry and upset all the time? Your shadow will more than likely instill fear into others. They’ll be cautious and walk with trepidation.
Are you upbeat and positive? This shadow would be different. It’ll be inviting and others will want to be around it. Fear will leave the building.
Are you somewhere in-between? That’s okay. This is where most of us fall. Some days we’re not too happy and we scare others. Other days we’re happy as can be.
We need to be aware that our actions and words are creating shadows that are affecting those we lead. We make the choice on how we behave and how we react. We’re creating different shadows with every action we take.
You need to learn to be a leadership shadow puppet master.
Learning To Control Your Leadership Shadow
There were always those people who were great at creating amazing shadow puppets. They could pull off any shape or animal you’d throw at them. You were mesmerized.
Lots of practice went into gaining the skill to cast the shadows in the ways they did. They sacrificed time and effort so they could create shadows that would entertain.
Just like the shadow puppet masters, you can learn to control the shadows your leadership style leaves. If you’re a wise leader, you’ll be willing to make changes so that you leave a legacy others will want to remember.
There are simple steps you can take to change your shadow. You may try
- Smiling while addressing your team
- Complimenting others on a job well done
- Uplifting someone who made a mistake
- Admitting when you’ve made an error
- Be friendly
As you tweak little actions in your life, your leadership shadow will begin to change. Just like when you move a flashlight during a shadow puppet show. Make the changes necessary so you can be a leader others want to follow.
Question: What changes could you make to cast a better leadership shadow? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.