More than you might think, but just to be funny for a moment… what first comes to mind is me yesterday at the DFW airport. In that case, Gumby, Gandhi, and I, speaking about me for a moment had in common that one could bend up like a pretzel, one did bend like a pretzel and stayed that way for days, and I got to eat one of my favorite pretzels at my favorite Aunt Annie’s lo-cal pretzel stand! A sense of humor in life pays big dividends in life, I’ve found…
But, back to what you as a contagious leader have in common with Gumby and Gandhi. It’s not the color green or age or anything nearly that simplistic. More likely, it’s your flexibility, your persistence, and maybe, just maybe your following. Gumby led Saturday Night Live and Eddie Murphy and a legion of loyal followers looking for humor. Gandhi led a world of loyal followers looking for answers, justice, truth, and peace. Who do you lead? What are your loyal followers looking for from you? Gumby has been used as an icon for flexibility more times than the willow tree. Gandhi has been referred to in reverence for motivation, passion and standing up for what you believe. What are you known for in your leadership? Are you an icon of sorts in your world or your circle of influence? Gumby hasn’t been on television for decades, but he is still referred to often. Gandhi died in his efforts to bring awareness yet his teachings are still used as if he were walking among the population of India today. How long will your leadership efforts last? Gumby had a team to make the laughs happen. Gandhi had a team to keep the dream alive. Neither would have been successful merely on their own or without the inclusion of others. Do you value the team you lead and all of their contributions?
Some are looking for leadership and some are looking for a model of leadership to follow. Some are looking to lead and others wish truly to be led in the direction that will bring satisfaction, fulfillment and internal peace. Are you looking to lead or be led or both. Are you part of a dream team that will make a difference in the world as we know it? Are you like Gumby, Gandhi or some humorous, serious, or ironic combination of both? It’s not your answer that matters so much. It’s your belief and your observation of your own actions. Take a moment to giggle a bit at the comparison, examine for a moment the similarities, and observe for a lifetime your influence as a leader. What do YOU think you have in common with Gumby, Gandhi, or any great leaders of a movement the world will always remember?
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.