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Executive Coach and Senior Consultant – Leadership Effectiveness 
Talent & Organizational Development 
Zavahir Dastoor

Leadership is a lot like parenting.

We adorn myriad hats of a teacher, leader, coach, mentor, guide, philosopher, friend, counselor, and others.

Interestingly, as a leader have you ever thought of wearing a garb or seeing yourself as a ladder, lamp or a lifeboat?

With the above construct, in my view, some words never lose their essence for teaching leaders how to lead. Rumi, the very famous Persian poet wrote “Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”

While he wasn’t speaking directly to leaders, he might as well have been.

Leaders who mentor, coach, and transform others need to be a lamp, lifeboat, or ladder at different times in their journey of learning and leading and developing their people.

The ability to shine a light on an idea or issue and offer crucial insight is a sign that a leader knows how to teach others to see what they need to see.

By becoming a rock-solid support when team members falter, a leader demonstrates strength exactly when others most need it. This is where he provides assurance, vulnerability and belongingness.

Leaders who understand they are first and foremost a resource for others make their people feel better through their feedback, coaching, and experiences.

Becoming a lamp, lifeboat, or ladder is what leadership is all about.
Those who excel at one of these roles need to push themselves to get better at all three.

Different people need different things from leaders. If all a leader does is shine a light on issues, they miss the opportunity to provide the sustenance and tools others need to succeed.

Similarly, those compassionate leaders who primarily lead by supporting others must push themselves to become better teachers and coaches.

“Walk out of your house as a shepherd” is a reminder to know those around us and to be willing to engage in the actions that will help them succeed, even if those actions make us feel uncomfortable or vulnerable.

In the end, leadership is about making people and situations better through our actions, behaviors, decisions, and daily disciplinary routines.

We can all be better lamps, lifeboats, and ladders.

Each day is a chance to make some progress as a leader.

People need your light, your support, and your authenticity.

In the brilliant visual it vividly illustrates the four roles a leader plays in creating organizational effectiveness and leadership success, taking leadership to another dimension of performance.