Are you prepared to fight the shark?

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Leaders are expected to achieve results, make things happen, and get stuff done. Some tasks that you need to accomplish as a leader will be easy. You check them off the list quickly and move on to the next item. Other tasks may take more time, effort, and energy. They will challenge you. And sometimes you will face a really difficult task. One that seems impossible to complete. You may have no idea how to complete the task. You may be overwhelmed simply by the thought of attempting to complete the task. I am going to refer to this type of task as “the shark” because it is frightening. I don’t know anyone who is not afraid of sharks. Just thinking about swimming in the ocean near a shark gives me the chills. Perhaps it does for you also.

No one wants to see a shark when swimming in the ocean.
No one wants to see a shark when swimming in the ocean.
Who wants to see a shark nearby when swimming in the ocean? Scary!

I fear sharks because of a famous movie released in the 1970s called Jaws. According to Wikipedia, Jaws is a 1975 American film directed by Steven Spielberg. It was based on Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel of the same name. In the story, a giant man-eating great white shark attacks beachgoers on Amity Island, a fictional New England summer resort town. It is a great movie. A scary movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and make you think twice about going out into the water the next time you visit the beach. Jaws is considered one of the greatest films ever made, a blockbuster hit. It became the highest-grossing film of all time until the release of Star Wars in 1977.

Jaws made us all wonder if it was safe to go into the water.
Jaws made us all wonder if it was safe to go into the water.
Jaws made us all wonder if it was safe to go into the water.

In Jaws, someone must hunt down the shark in order to keep the town safe. Somebody must face the shark, or else the town will be in trouble. Residents will not be safe. Tourists will not visit either. The local economy will suffer. A really bad situation for everyone will result. The local police chief played by Roy Scheider is chosen as the leader. He has some help, but not much. None the less, he leads the three-person team to hunt down the shark. It is a daunting task. As the movie progresses we learn that the shark is a lot larger than expected, and much more difficult to kill than any of them anticipated. Despite all these challenges, they accomplish the mission and kill the shark. If you have not seen the movie, I will not spoil it for you. Watch it tonight on Netflix, or YouTube.

The team tries many methods to kill the shark.
The team tries many methods to kill the shark.
The team tries many methods to kill the shark in Jaws.

If you are a leader, you will likely have to deal with “the shark” at some point. What do I mean by “the shark”? A task that terrifies you, but must be done. An important issue that you have to address. A complex problem that needs a solution. A challenge that others have failed to solve. “The shark” could be many things. It might be your competition, the market conditions, your crazy client, a looming deadline, a problem employee, your nagging boss, or anything else that puts you on edge. Sure you can do your best to avoid “the shark”. But, you know deep in your heart that you will have to face “the shark” at some point if you are going to succeed as a leader. If you don’t “the shark” will continue to terrorize you, and more sharks will show up.

If you don't hunt "the shark" more will show up over time.
If you don't hunt "the shark" more will show up over time.
If you don’t hunt “the shark” more will show up over time.

Just like in the movie, you are going to need help dealing with “the shark”. Don’t go it alone. Roy Scheider’s character recruits two team members to help with the hunt — a marine biologist and a professional shark hunter. An expert who knows a lot about sharks and someone with relevant experience. I recommend you take a similar approach when hunting “the shark”. Identify and solicit the help of experts and those who have experience. A mentor or peer may have the exact insight or solution you need. Do not be afraid to ask for help, and always offer help to other leaders when they approach you for help. None of us should hunt “the shark” alone.

The three person team who hunt the shark in Jaws.
The three person team who hunt the shark in Jaws.
The team who hunt the shark in Jaws. A professional shark hunter, the local sheriff, and a marine biologist.

All the Way Leadership! is here to help. This year I will continue releasing relevant content for leaders who are looking to increase their effectiveness, to get better at hunting “the shark”. I will start publishing a weekly leadership journal later this year. It will contain curated content from a diverse set of leading experts. This summer I plan to launch an online leadership course. I will do all that we can to help leaders everywhere get better at hunting “the shark”. The good news for all of us leaders is that the more times you hunt sharks, the better you get. Your confidence will grow along with your leadership abilities.

I hope you join me on this journey to raise up the next generation of leaders. The world is in desperate need of more great leaders. Women and men who lead with confidence, clarity, and creativity. It’s time to become the leader that your world needs. Let’s go All The Way!

All The Way Leadership!

Leader and learner. Father of two young men. Novice blogger, www.lettertosons.com, Founder of All The Way Leadership! http://www.allthewayleadership.com/

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