We must acknowledge every spark, but have the ability to discern which sparks have the potential to light a fire.
A spark is a small, fiery particle that is produced by striking two hard materials together. Sparks are tiny, they’re hard to see and most of the time they are harmless. However, if there are too many of them or if they land in just the right spot, sparks can be devastating.
In our personal and professional lives, there are sparks around us all the time. Human beings are messy creatures. We’re “striking” against other people, issues, and conflicts creating sparks with regularity. As leaders, our job is to notice these sparks and run towards them. We must acknowledge every spark, but have the ability to discern which sparks have the potential to light a fire.
Sparks show up in many different ways. Sometimes we have people speak to us about them directly. They’ll come to us heated, emotional, and seeking advice. Other times, the sparks will be more subtle. Signs that sparks exist will be all around us, but we must dig deeper to understand what is really going on. As we work harder to understand the sparks that are out there, we are often times are able to uncover valuable information.
As a leader, we must continually ask ourselves:
“What sparks have people brought to my attention?”
“What sparks are out there that I might be missing?”
“What common themes am I hearing that could be sparks?
The better we get at identifying sparks and chasing them, the more likely we are to prevent those devastating fires from starting.