When I describe the “fire” of leadership, I’m referring to the “passion; energy; or source of motivation” that drives an individual’s personal leadership style. On a GRILL, the fire comes from BELOW.
A leader who is a “grill” is motivated by praise and appreciation from subordinates; derives a sense of personal value by pleasing others; and is energized by the sense that they are “liked” by those they lead.
People like working for a grill provided the sun is shining and he/she continues to meet team expectations and demands. Unfortunately, loyalty that is founded upon pleasing others cannot withstand inclement weather.
Nobody wants a grill when it’s storming outside.
The leadership challenge of a grill comes from the fire itself. Because so much emotional energy is invested in pleasing subordinates, a grill will avoid making the right decision if it is not a popular decision. Ultimately a grill is held prisoner to the opinions of others. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with caring for subordinates – any leader worthy of the title will be an advocate for his/her team. But when a person needs the approval of subordinates to maintain leadership intensity, that leader has become a grill.
A Congressman that stuffs an economic stimulus package full of pork is a grill. Pastors are grills when they avoid tough topics and only preach sermons that please the crowds. A mother is a grill when she is more concerned with being her child’s friend than being her child’s parent. A manager is a grill when he fails to terminate a sub-par employee because he doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
Bowing to the opinions of others will inevitably result in a status quo existence and limit your potential for greatness. If Jesus had been a grill, He would have made a fine Pharisee but He would not have been the Messiah – the Savior of the world. If you want to be more than average, you’re going to have to find a leadership “fire” that comes from somewhere other than below.
Bottom line: Grills make great burgers, but terrible leaders. Don’t be a grill.