Fireworks and Steam Trains

Fireworks and Steam Trains (Celebrated or Banned?)

We were discussing the issue of fireworks and there are clearly different views on whether they are a wonderful celebratory tool or should be banned for the pain and suffering that can be experienced by nervous people and animals.

This took us to another discussion in terms of fireworks in the organisation or communities where we are involved and what causes them. It brought us to the conclusion that culture and conflict in organisations is usually created from the top. The leader sets the tone for the better or worse!

What is a fireworks leader?

The fireworks leader can really light up the organisation. They can be charismatic, high energy and create drive. They ignite action and passion and can really move a team forward. The downside of the firework leader is that they can also burn themselves out literally, or they can lose their energy and focus and start off on another trajectory. Often when they move on, they drop the team members who will no longer be part of their new goals.

What is the opposite of the fireworks leader?

The Leadership Tap’s article1 makes reference to the freight train; some of us know them as steam trains. So, we thought about what that metaphor conjured up for us. The steam train is a slower form of leader. They may take longer to warm up, need more input and connection (fuel) to keep them going as they are in it for the long haul. They slowly build their reputation through this connection and in doing so they build trust and security. They are more effective at building relationships and psychological safety; essential requirements for leadership today.

How do you get to benefit from the fireworks that ignite a team and the steam train that can carry the team through to its objectives, balancing the need for the tasks with the people. You may want to look at the following article:

At Chameleon Skills we work with people who work with people, why not talk to us about how we can enhance your ability to be a firework leader.

If you want to develop the leaders you need for the future of your organisation, contact us and we will partner with you to build their skills, competence and confidence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *