Shoes and Leadership?!

Those that know and love me understand I am a shoe addict! I love them and buy funky ones whenever I can. As I cleaned out the section in my closet that has shoes stored, I realized shoes are a metaphor for leadership….and maybe life.

There are athletic shoes for walking or working out…lots of support and structure. There are old and worn shoes…saved for the walking trips or long days on cement floors. There are pretty colored ones to make you feel great when you wear them. There are “broken in” shoes that make you feel relaxed and comfortable and safe. There are “neutrals” that you can wear with many things, and take out when needed. And then…there is the one pair you never travel without, in case you have a shoe malfunction and need to have “go to” shoes you can count on.

Don’t we all have leadership skills that fit these categories? Lots of support and structure…for counseling and disciplinary documents. Old and worn shoes that still work like writing evaluations or policy development. Pretty colored skills you can use when developing a new program or processes. “Broken in” skills like following the disciplinary process rules or dealing with a difficult employee. Neutrals that can be used in any situation…praise, encouragement, coaching, mentoring and guidance. And last but not least, the go-to skills that you can always count on…Courtesy, graciousness and good manners. Please and Thank you work for everything, every time.

Take an inventory of your leadership skills and see how they look! Shoes can be like leadership skills….and like life.


Posted by Susan Odegaard Turner – MentorRN