Leadership Lessons from a Broken Set of Crayons

28 Aug
 crayons

For the past few years, every time my daughter and I visit a restaurant, the host/ hostess provides my daughter with a special set of crayons and a pamphlet with games and activities.   While waiting for our food, my daughter will write, draw, scribble, color, and play a variety of games with the special set of crayons she received.   Like me, I am sure many other parents are excited to witness the growth and development of their children through these special set of crayons that most kids seem to enjoy when they visit their favorite restaurants.

Ironically, approximately 14 months ago, I was attending a leadership conference in Orlando, Florida.  In the middle of the presentation, the keynote speaker began to talk about those set of crayons that every parent witnesses their children use at restaurants. He shared a powerful lesson that he was able to learn after observing his granddaughter use the infamous restaurant crayons.  The lesson he shared with us was that you won’t have anything to share with others until the crayon is broken into two pieces.  In effect, although challenges, obstacles, and various situations that break us down may hurt badly, the wisdom that we attain out of these broken moments allows us to help someone else overcome a challenge in their life.

In amazement, as I reflected on this statement about the broken crayon, not only was this analogy a powerful learning moment for me, but there were a few other lessons of leadership that I was able to gain from the broken set of crayons.  My hope is that the following insights of leadership will empower you to see the lessons that can come from the “broken crayons” analogy.

LESSON #1
A BROKEN CRAYON TEACHES US ABOUT EMPOWERING OTHERS AS A LEADER

The first leadership lesson that we can learn from a broken set of crayons is that in order to empower others to be a leader, my brokenness as a leader may be the instrument that I can use to empower others towards greatness.  In effect, my greatest hardship or challenge as a leader not only has the power to launch me into greatness, but it has the power to empower others into greatness as well.  Regardless of how broken you may feel at times, remember that your brokenness can evolve into empowerment for someone else within your sphere of influence.

LESSON #2
A BROKEN CRAYON TEACHES US ABOUT SACRIFICE AS A LEADER

The second leadership lesson that we can learn from a broken set of crayons is that in order for me to lead others effectively, there are moments where I will have to make personal sacrifices for the betterment of others.  In essence, I often say that leadership can be extremely tough at times because the leader is forced to make a sacrifice for the well being of others.

Therefore, when you decide to serve as a leader, expect there to be moments where you will be required to make personal sacrifices for the betterment of the people you serve.

LESSON #3
A BROKEN CRAYON TEACHES US ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF TRUST AS A LEADER

The third leadership lesson that we can learn from a broken set of crayons is that in order for me to lead others effectively, there are moments that I have to trust others with the execution of the vision that I have created.  In effect, as a leader, you may have an incredible vision, but in order to make that vision a reality, there will be moments where you have to let go, and trust.

Therefore, when you create an incredible vision to change the world as leader, don’t be afraid to share parts of your vision with others who are more skilled in certain areas than your area of expertise.

LESSON #4
A BROKEN CRAYON TEACHES US ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF GENOROSITY AS A LEADER

The fourth leadership lesson that we can learn from a broken set of crayons is that in order for me to lead others effectively, I must be generous with my time, wisdom, possessions, and resources.  In essence, I have found that great leaders empower, trust, and sacrifice for the people they truly care about.

Therefore, when we make the decision to lead others, let’s make sure that we do not become leaders who are selfish with our wisdom, time, resources, and possessions for the people who have the opportunity to mentor as a leader.

LESSON #5
A BROKEN CRAYON TEACHES US ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF TEAMWORK AS A LEADER

The fifth leadership lesson that we can learn from a broken set of crayons is that in order for me to evolve into an effective leader, I must be a team player who understands the power of networking, collaboration, and working well with others.  In essence, I can get a lot of things done as a leader, but in order to make a huge impact, I will be required to work as a team with others at some point.

Therefore, when you are selected to lead groups of people, remember that great leaders understand the importance of delegation and working effectively as a team to manifest a great vision to change the world!

Joshua Fredenburg is a friend of Omicron Delta Kappa and  a nationally acclaimed speaker, author of five books, member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Tedx Speaker, and President of the ‘Award Winning Circle of Change Leadership Experience that specializes in providing emerging and seasoned leaders with the leadership skills necessary to lead effectively in a diverse world and make a positive impact in their community, nation, and world.

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