I hope you had (or will have tonight) a happy and safe bonfire night. As I watched the display at my local park this weekend it got me thinking about the different types of fireworks on display and some fun management style analogies. See if you can recognise yourself in the list below:
The Catherine Wheel is a firework which rotates rapidly to create a spinning wall of sparks. This reminds me of the younger manager that is new in role. They are very fast and energetic but tend to go round and round in circles. They look good and have good staying power but as they are ground based people don’t tend to look up to them!
The Rocket is a firework that takes off and displays its effect in the air. Normally comprises a head (with the effect in), a motor (for lift, that’s the bit the fuse goes into) and a stick (for stability and ease of launch). Rocket managers are all about acceleration and getting as high in their career as possible in the shortest amount of time. They tend to look promising on the way up but the final effect usually disappoints.
The Roman Candle is a firework consisting of a shell or effect in a card tube. A lifting charge propels the effect into the air. These ground based fireworks represent the manager that has flashes of brilliance but lacks the energy to really go places. They usually start energetically but lose momentum after a short period.
A Crackling Comet leaves behind a tail of crackling effects rather than just quiet glitter. These fireworks represent the manager that is a real trail blazer. They are bright and leave a lasting effect both visually and auditory behind them. They have the ability to cover lots of ground quickly. People always look up to them!
I am sure we have (at times in our careers) all been Rockets, Catherine Wheels, Candles and Comets. I certainly have and still hope I am seen as a trail blazer.
A true leader is like the Pyrotechnician (the person responsible for putting the entire display together). They have the vision of what they want to achieve, within the available budget and set about making sure they have all the right fireworks in the right place at the right time. They balance their resources using them in the most appropriate way dependent on their potential.
On the walk back across the park I observed many ‘burned out’ carcasses, mainly from the ‘rockets’. Don’t end up like them by ensuring that you pace your career in a way that is challenging but provides pressure at a level that you can cope with and even enjoy! Develop your career on firm foundations and make sure you build up plenty of reserves before you move up to the next level.