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Attributes of a Good Leader

PART 1 COLORS OF THE CRAYON BOX

Do you remember when you were a child and would go school shopping at the beginning of the school year for supplies? For myself, each item on the shelf seemed so enlarged and beautiful that it illuminated my eyes. One of my favorite items that I practically begged my parents for was a big box of Crayola crayons. Do you remember those, especially the box with 52 colors in it? Back then, it came with a built-in sharpener so you could keep your crayons nice and crisp. Having all those color options meant the world to me. I was ready to create several art drawings and colorings throughout the school year. My creativity would flow with all of those colors, and I used every one in the box.


When I take a moment to reflect, I have come to notice that eventually over time our crayon box shrinks in size. As we grow into adulthood, our world view, belief systems and life experiences begin to deplete all the appealing yet wonderful colors we saw as a child. Additionally, all the possibilities those colors created for us back then slowly fade away. Throughout our lifespan, we will probably only use maybe five or ten colors. We stick with them, and they become comfortable in our lives.


Attributes I’ve come to see in successful leaders that I encounter are those who color with a large box of crayons:


  1. They have a willingness for creative empowerment.

  2. They listen with diversity of thought and create environments where people can trust, raise their hand along with asking for help.

  3. They lead with bold optimism and are always the student willing to learn.

  4. More importantly, they keep using the big box of crayons with all its’ brilliant colors to shape their vision around a human need.


As a leader, reflect on your leadership style. Do you only stick to certain tools (colors) and never veer from traditional leadership styles?

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