It’s Sunday morning- I’m brewing coffee, studying about myofascial release and a few other boxing related things. Class is happening at the gym and Seattle is getting a much needed respite from high temperatures.
Every Sunday before I get to the coffee and studying phase, I take the dogs out for a walk and talk on the phone to my coach. This weekly phone call is a great collaboration for me to increase self awareness and work through any challenges I may have business wise and personally. I’m grateful for this investment in myself as I believe it helps me to do a better job of running the gym and it allows all of you the space to take on your personal difficulties.
It is through this work that I am parsing out the differences between leadership and being a boss. This is quite possibly the most difficult concept I’ve come across in a long time. Being a leader doesn’t mean you won’t tell other people what needs to be done…..it doesn’t mean that you don’t order or direct……. Sometimes, being the business owner, you do have to ask for something to be done a certain way. Being a leader does ask that you and your employees to do things with awareness and to go steps beyond that awareness to create action and change.
Being a leader is saying, watch me make lots of mistakes and see how I respond to them. Watch how I learn and apply the learning in future situations. Watch how interesting it can be to be patient with oneself and to take the blame off of others so you can really see your part in all interactions.
Being a boss is telling a person to do as I say and not as I do. It’s promoting fear about making mistakes. It’s asking for an unrealistic perfection. Being a leader is saying, being human is a messy endeavor and if we can all be just a little bit more honest with ourselves, our outcomes will be tremendous. We will be more authentic in our endeavors….more empathizing with other’s struggles and more willing to take responsibility for our own experiences.
Thinking in terms of boxing competition always helps me to get a handle on my belief systems because it is the physical manifestation of my thoughts. Seeing and feeling things in a physical way makes sense and seems to provide clearer understanding.
A boxer needs a coach to be a leader and a teacher. The boxer needs to feel autonomy and dependence simultaneously. The range of autonomy to dependence allows the boxer to risk and trust themselves but then know when the coach has an overriding perspective. If a coach is a boss to a boxer and the boxer only lives in the land of dependence, then what do they ultimately have? What can they do independent of the coach……how can they dare to try something out of the ordinary when times call for it?
Understanding leadership is so much simpler in the ring than in the form of running business….but I am devoted to this concept and having a successful gym full of leaders that help each other to grow, give room for boxers and gym members to grow and affect the community in a positive and action oriented manner.