I just discovered something very interesting.

I always pictured mountains as the great, majestic, epitome of geographical growth…a planet’s statement of greatness. They always represented a vision of power that was created over time through both traumatic events and the consistent persistence of erosion.

Mountains are created several ways, but most often they are built when the earth’s plates press together. This slow collision, over time, causes the plates to buckle and push upward which, often times, allows igneous matter (magma) to flow vertically, thus causing a rise in the earth’s surface.

Winning leaders understand that their performance, very often needs to be like this as well. Training, teaching, setting expectations and creating accountability all applies the consistent pressure to grow in their team’s performance. Many times this growth is painful, either team members perform to the leader’s expectations or they crumble under the pressure. Those who perform continue to push the team’s results higher and higher.

The new thing that I discovered, however, is that many mountains have roots. Similar to a tree, these mountains actually reach far below the earth’s surface as well. The pressure and impact of the tectonic plates force the harder, denser rock deep into the softer layers below.

Knowing this new piece of information made me think about the impact of a lack of leadership. Without a clear leader, negative growth can occur too. Performance levels drop. Attitudes turn south. In-fighting, jealousy, and negativity are allowed to grow. When there is no strong, winning leader leading the team upwards, a large opportunity for apathy and non-compliance is created.

This lack of leadership can create the strong roots of a negative culture that may take a long time to uproot. These roots can bury themselves deep within the psyche of an organization and eventually turn the complete growth process downward.

But a winning leader knows how to prevent this. They know that through clear, effective communication their teams will know what to do and how to do it. They will know why it needs to be done, and when it needs to be done. They will feel a high level of accountability and commitment. They will feel compelled to grow and develop and stop at nothing less than the highest heights.

Winning leaders consciously choose to apply the constant pressure to succeed in reaching their expectations. They don’t allow negativity or non-compliance to erode their progress. They recognize and reward those who push higher and win bigger. They give support and direction to those who need it, when they need it and how they need it.  They train and teach new things in new ways that stretch the minds and hearts of their team. Winning becomes an exciting, consistent culture that top performers can’t live without.

This week, take a step back and look at the mountain that you’re creating. Is it crumbling downward or is it reaching for the stars? Growth is the leader’s choice. Choose the stars!

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