Thermometer vs. Thermostat Leaders

Driving to work this morning and listening to the news I was again reminded of the need for real leadership in our culture today. And nowhere is that more pronounced that in our homes.

Too many of us have been thermometers instead of thermostats. What does that mean, you ask? Well, take a look at those two items. One reflects or measures the environment and the other influences or changes the environment.

Which one are you?

ThermometerAre you a thermometer? Do you simply reflect or monitor the situation around you in your home? To be sure, a thermometer is a valuable item. For instance, it can help us determine when a child is sick. I had an opportunity to use one this week-end on a feverish little child. Although I didn’t need the thermometer to tell me she had a fever. It was very beneficial in determining the extent of the fever.

ThermostatAre you a thermostat? Do you actually influence and set the tone for your home? A thermostat can cool things down when it gets a little hot. It can warm things up when there is a chill in the air. Having a thermometer does me no good unless I can then take that information and then modify the environment.

This is so true in our homes. But it is also true in our workplace and in our social gatherings and churches. Are we simply measuring the “temperature” of our homes? Or are we actually taking the information given to us by a thermometer and then influencing the environment for good?

Thermometer leaders react to their surroundings. When the tension gets high and folks start to lose their tempers, these leaders are often seen losing theirs as well. They become irritable, angry, harsh and impatient. Thermometer leaders don’t inspire trust. They destroy it over time.

Thermostat leaders, however, are very aware of the surrounding environment. They have the finger on the pulse of the situation. And when the temperature gets hot because the family, team or organization is under pressure of a financial situation, a heavy workload, or an impending deadline, they cool things off by acting as the calming influence with the team. They take time to listen to the concerns others and they provide the necessary direction and support that’s needed to weather the storm.

I will use the following quote in closing. But I will not expound on this quote. Rather I will just leave it for you to consider its implications.

“Accusing the times is but excusing ourselves”

Thomas Fuller, 17th century English historical and religious writer

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I am the husband of a beautiful and wonderful woman. I am the father of two of the greatest kids on the planet. I am a father-in-law to a great young woman. And I am Papa to three very special grandchildren. In my spare time I am an active blogger and writer. And if there is any time left over, I work with small non-profit organizations and churches on the topics of change management, crisis intervention and leadership development.

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