A dispute arose between the wind and the sun over which was the stronger of the two. There seemed to be no way to settle the issue until they saw a traveler coming down the road.
“This is our chance,” said the sun, “to prove who is right. Whichever of us can make that man take off his coat shall be the stronger.” So the sun hid behind a cloud and the wind blew an icy blast. But the harder he blew, the more closely the traveler wrapped his coat around him.
Then the sun came out from behind the cloud and began to shine down with all his power. The traveler felt the warmth and began to loosen his coat, eventually removing it altogether.
The moral of the story: Persuasion is better than force.
“The Wind and the Sun” is one of my favorite Aesop’s Fables, written more than twenty-five centuries ago. Leading is not forcing our opinions and ideas on others. It’s creating an experience where people willingly take off their coat and roll up their sleeves. If you want people to be engaged and take ownership, persuasion is better than force.
What is your emotional wake?
According to Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations, my emotional wake is what you remember after I’m gone. It’s what you feel: the aftermath, aftertaste or afterglow. Everything each of us says leaves an emotional wake, so as a leader, there is no trivial comment.
It’s time to stop telling people what to do and change the way they feel.
In my next post, we’ll travel from wisdom twenty five centuries old to explore ways that same message is alive and well today.