Windows and mirrors. They are made of the same materials, and yet serve very different purposes. As we all know, a mirror will reflect the image of whatever is in front of it while hiding what lies on the other side. (Although at times I would like to believe the image is distorted around the waist line!) A window, on the other hand, allows us to see through it revealing what is on the other side.
Leaders are also made up of many of the same characteristics, but some lead well while others lead poorly. We all act as a window or mirror at different times and the timing of such is a major factor in what differentiates a great leader from an average one.
When things are going great and others are praising you, you have a choice. You can be a mirror or you can be a window.
When things go wrong and blame game starts. You can be a mirror or you can be a window.
A weak leader becomes a mirror and deflects the blame on others during times of difficulty in an attempt to save their reputation. In the act they destroy their reputation and become a coward in the eyes of those they are leading.
When numbers are down and systems aren’t working well a good leader becomes a window allowing others to see them, taking responsibility rather than deflecting the problems onto everyone else.
During times of praise and success a poor leader chooses to be a window, wanting others to see only them rather than reflecting it back. We have all experienced the leader who loves to take all the credit when things are going great. Few things hurt morale or motivation as much as prideful leader.
When the accolades come, a strong leader reflects the praises back to the people allowing those they lead to receive the applause for their hard work rather than taking it for themselves.
Great leaders become mirrors in times of praise and windows when times are rough. They know that they are only as good as those they have surrounded themselves with. They also understand that when things go wrong the ultimate responsibility falls on their shoulders.
It is your choice. You decide when to be a mirror or when to be a window. Just remember the decision you make will most likely define you as a great leader or an average leader.
Have you been a leader or been under a leader that acted as a window and mirror in the appropriate times vs. one that didn’t? How has this affected you and those around you? Click here to leave a comment.