7 Metaphors for Leadership Transformation

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” — Publilius Syrus

Change is tough.  Especially leading it.

Whether you are leading yourself, others, or organizations through a change, it helps to have tools on your side.

Recently, I read Leadership Transformed, by Dr. Peter Fuda. 

It uses 7 metaphors to guide you through leadership transformation:

  1. FIRE
  4. COACH
  5. MASK
  6. MOVIE

It might seem simple, but that's the point.   Metaphors are easy to remember and easy to use. 

For example, you can use the Movie metaphor to increase your self-awareness and reflection that allow you to first "edit" your performance, and then direct a "movie" that exemplifies your leadership vision.

The other benefit of simple metaphors is they allow both for creative interpretation and creative expression.

I appreciated the book the further I went along.  In fact, what really clicked for me was the fact that I could easily remember the different metaphors and the big idea behind them.   It was a nice brain-break from memorizing and internalizing a bunch of leadership frameworks, principles, and patterns. 

Instead, it’s just a simple set of metaphors that remind us how to bring out our best during our leadership transformations.

The metaphors are actually well-chosen, and they really are helpful when you find yourself in scenarios where a different perspective or approach may help.

Even better, the author grounds his results in some very interesting data, and aligns it to proven practices for effective leadership.

Here is my book review:  Book Review: Leadership Transformed: How Ordinary Managers Become Extraordinary Leaders

I included several highlights and “scenes” from the book, so you can get a good taste of the book, movie trailer style.

If you end up reading the book, I encourage you to really dive into the background and the anatomy of the Leadership Impact tool that Dr. Fuda refers to.  It’s incredibly insightful in terms of leadership principles, patterns, and practices that are fairly universal and broadly applicable.


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