The Catalyst Podcast has to be one of the best leadership podcasts out there. Erwin McManus was on the other day (episode 226). McManus is an American author, lecturer, artist, entrepreneur, and pastor— McManus is (left and is now back) the lead pastor of Mosaic Church, a Christian community in Los Angeles, California which has been named one of the most influential and innovative churches in America. He made his name first by becoming a popular speaker on issues related to postmodernism and postmodern Christianity, but also writes and lectures on topics such as culture, change, creativity, and leadership. McManus was named by Church Report in January 2007 as one of the “50 Most Influential Christians in America.
But, I digress… please read more on Erwin…very interesting gentleman. I gather there was a Catalyst event some years ago- Erwin was on stage with John Maxwell and Gabe Lyons and Maxwell was discussing that some leaders were like eagles…they soar high and make it look effortless (soaring above everything – having a big vision). Others are like hawks. They fly a little lower, but still have a great view. They dart down, hit their prey, and get back to altitude (focused in on the target and getting it done).
At one point Maxwell looked to McManus and said, “What about you?” “Me?” Responded Erwin….”I’m like a bat out of hell—screaming my guts out, flying in the dark…half deaf, half blind, and I don’t always know where I’m going, but I know where I came from and I’m not going back!”
You see bats have the capacity to fly where no one else can move. Some leaders feel the obligation to always be right and it can be debilitating and even paralyzing to truly believe you cannot make a mistake. The more honest we are about what we don’t know–the more people will trust us in what we do know. We have to relinquish control over the things we do not have control over in order to stand with courage and confidence in the things we do have responsibility for. We must move in strength and power in what we do know.
It strikes me that bats lead well in today’s world of crisis, complexity and confusion–if for no other reason that we live with a great deal of ambiguity and we will not always be right. Further I ponder (along with Ken Coleman) that very few of us try to be great–why is that? Is it that we are risk adverse or are we ambiguity adverse? So who leads best in today’s ambiguity… an eagle, a hawk,…. or a bat out of hell? Thoughts?
3 Replies to “Bat Out of Hell Leadership: DeMarco Banter”
Drei’s impression: an eagle, for three reasons ( though any one is good enough):
– better strategic view of the high ground ( things may seem complex, but big picture reveals sublime simplicity)
– greater ballanced in face of rapid change ( eagles rarely have to react)
– superior conservation of momentum ( plan, do, check, act, everything in its place, a place for everything, and eliminate firefighting and overreaction)
Eagles see change as Opportunity
Thanks Drei: Agree with all of your points… in fact, I love those points…they are awesome. I would love to think I am more eagle than anything else, but something about that bat resonates. maybe I am an eagle bat…or maybe a bat eagle?
Good question, Sir. I am in no position to mentor you on the subject, but I can impart impressions from organizations and individuals I witnessed prospering in uncertainty. In short, eagles feel the pressures of the bat. It is their reaction that defines them as eagles, not the feel. At Toyota, a company constantly dealing with uncertainty from so many areas, they call this effort Learning to See… Or Strategy as Learning.