What a game can teach us about leadership

“But it’s my game!” exclaimed one hero, a six-year-old whose turn it was to be in charge of creating and leading the game for our daily “Move-It” time. The other heroes squirmed with a pained look on their faces, hoping she would listen to their feedback and tweek the rules as they had suggested.

The stillness held the tension of differing opinions. How would we continue on without everyone being on the same page and excited for the game? If she stuck her ground, the game may fall apart as a result of disinterested heroes. If she gave in out of compulsion, she may harbor resentment.

I broke the tension with a question. “What does it mean to be a leader?” I asked. “Is it so you can have your way, or is it so you can think of a game that everyone will enjoy?”

So often leadership in our world is viewed as an opportunity to control; to get our way; to have power. And yet, as our heroes discovered, a leader without a community of people bought into the vision isn’t a leader at all. Leadership is influence. Leadership happens as other’s needs are considered and cared for with a heart of service.

A lightbulb went off in our young game leader’s awareness that day. She chose to listen to her peer’s feedback. She allowed her peers to help her co-create the game – and as a result, everyone LOVED it!

Such a beautiful lesson in real-world leadership!

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