personal leadership: find the metaphor that works for you

When trying to understand and change your leadership style, it can be helpful to find or develop a metaphor which helps you think about the way you work, a metaphor which stands outside your daily working practices.

For example, whilst coaching a leader who had a tendency to do too much and over complicate his life, I learned that as a boy he had been a drummer in rock bands. The notion of him drumming was instantly transformative.  It took us away from the formal confines of his office and into a more playful and imaginary space. It brought in a completely different sense of his energy and power.  It gave us an image to focus on and a model for thinking about how to work to a less complicated rhythm, to simplify and keep time, to think about how his peers and direct reports fitted into the patterns he dictated.  It was also something that was very easy to keep in mind.