Sharpen Your Ax to Develop the Best in You

Ecclesiastes 10:10 says, “If the ax is dull and its edges unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.”

Setting out to accomplish any goal without the necessary skills or tools is like trying to chop wood with a dull ax. You must overcompensate your efforts by applying more strength and muscle to accomplish the task, requiring additional time and energy. The duller the ax, the stronger the effort and the less efficiency involved.

Developing your leadership skills is critical at every level within any workplace or organization. Why? Because these aptitudes contribute to a healthy and effective workplace culture. In fact, 83% of organizations state the importance of cultivating leadership at all levels within the workplace hierarchy.

Yet, many also express their leaders are simply not ready to helm the organization. Despite the widespread availability of comprehensive leadership books and programs, people often lack the skills needed to lead an organization at any level.

These considerations bring me back to my military days. I initially did so well when tasked with an assignment to turn around inadequate conditions and boost morale amongst soldiers by helping them acquire new skills and abilities. Eventually accomplishing this goal, I was overjoyed to see the soldiers so proud of themselves. I went on to believe my next assignment would offer a chance to relax and relieve the pressures of my last one: only to find that I was embarking on a new challenge even more demanding than the last. With each new rank and level of responsibility came an even greater test. It was during these times that I realized the Army wanted me to excel and develop my skills at a higher echelon: with my superiors not only expecting elevated levels of proficiency and competency but also encouraging continuous learning and the application of related skills to accomplish any given mission. Hence, the Army was seemingly more interested in my leadership development than my ability to learn new tasks I’d only go on to forget months later.

There’s a difference between learning new skills and developing them as a leader within an organization—as new learning adds new skills to the toolbox that are further honed and utilized for their intended purpose. In essence, this helps leaders solve diverse problems facing any organization. Development inspires leaders to take on all challenges presented with the right mindset and a passion to train others to resolve problems, as well. This is even more true in the diverse and fast-paced world we live in today.

As leaders in the workplace (or even as parents in our homes), we need to sharpen our tools so they are ready to tackle any given challenge and ultimately summon the best return and reward for our efforts. With respect to leadership, this means developing related skills to influence those around you. As a parent, improving leadership aptitudes can bring everyone closer as a family and result in more congenial conditions at home.

To quote John Maxwell, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” As a leader, if you lack the skills needed to successfully execute this role, sharpen your ax through education, training, and professional development. Likewise, as a parent, sharpen your ax by developing effective communication strategies with your family members, improving your listening skills, and serving as a role model for those you love.

Dr. D

The Carolyle Destiny Group
(Tomorrow’s Destiny becomes Today Direction)