Insights and inspiration to help you continually grow in your leadership roles within your organization and community.

The Purple Bench

The Leadership Challenge has touched my life in some unique ways. Quite often I facilitate this workshop for leaders who struggle with the practice of Inspire a Shared Vision which is not uncommon. The very idea of inspiring others often felt a lot like being in sales because I had to ask others to invest something. Then my thirty-year-old daughter, Gabby, showed me the true value in the practice of inspiring others.

I had painstakingly drawn up plans to build a bench for my back porch and was busily cutting wood to build the frame. Gabby came over to visit and immediately wanted to become part of the project. No need to inspire there, she was already bought in. I showed her how to use the mitre saw, the tape measure, gave her basic safety tips and off she went, almost like a pro. While watching and guiding her, she asked what color I intended to paint it. I said, “paint it, you don’t need to paint treated lumber.” She laughed and said, “so, you’re going to put it out just looking like wood, after all this work I did?” Oops, now I have to Inspire a Shared Vision where there is none.

As the project leader, I was poised to get her on board with my idea of a plain wooden bench, but she had other ideas, and I needed to listen to her point of view. I still wasn’t convinced, so we went to the home store to pick out stain for the bench which was my plan. I went to the stain aisle and she went to the paint aisle. When we met up a few minutes later, she was holding a can with a purple dot on the top and the color instantly made sense. I smiled and said, “how about a splash of yellow on the sides?” she nodded, and I went to choose the shade.

While we can be laser-focused on using The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership in the workplace, I found myself being inspired, even as I thought I was just giving in to my daughter. Going forward I want to be inspired as much as I want to Inspire a Shared Vision.


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The Leadership Challenge

iLead programs are grounded in the award-winning, best-selling book, The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. This research-driven leadership development model illustrates how everyday leaders mobilize others to want to get extraordinary things done.

The Leadership Challenge