Once in a while, I like to look at something in a different way, and pull leadership lessons from unexpected sources. Along these lines, I've discussed:
- Communicating through change, providing recommendations for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
- Leading a small group discussion, using the (in)famous scene at the beginning of Pulp Fiction
- 5 leadership lessons from General Zod, via Superman II
These are lighthearted views into leadership lessons, from places that are not your usual sources of leadership inspiration. But it's good fun, while being educational. In that light, let me share another leadership lesson from an unexpected source: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
In episode 1.11, Winter Wrap Up, the ponies of Ponyville participate in an annual event to bring Spring to Equestria. It's an important tradition, and an involved musical number by composer Daniel Ingram concisely summarizes the Wrap Up events.
The mayor provides the vision, and lets everypony choose the tasks that are best suited to their individual strengths and interest. But without coordination, activities begin and end at different times, leading to confusion about following dependent tasks, and things quickly fall apart.
Yes, we can take a few leadership lessons from this:
- Explaining your "end state" vision is an important start, but you must coordinate if your vision will be executed by several groups.
- Use delegation wisely. Know when to get involved if things don't go well.
- Take advantage of coaching opportunities to help others find their strengths.
- Be mindful of lead-manage-do. A leader cannot be effective at the high level vision if she is too "hands on" (or "hoofs on", in this case.)
- Identify "stretch" opportunities to develop new leaders.