4 Leadership Lessons Learned Riding in a Hot Air Balloon

Hot Air Balloon PicSeveral years ago my wife and I got to ride in a hot air balloon. This was a great experience. It reminded me of some leadership principles that I learned over the years.

The Hotter it gets the Higher you Go

To go higher in a hot air balloon you have to heat up the air in the balloon. The hotter it gets the higher you go. If you want to go higher in your leadership you have to go through some hot times. When the heat is up in the organization or even on you. Leaders, organizations, teams tend to go higher when the heat is on. Don’t always try to put out the fires, sometimes it’s those fires that are causing you to accomplish your goals.

You get a better perspective

Leaders have a better perspective of what is going on. You can see the big picture. Remember, sometimes those you lead will not understand your decisions or direction because they don’t see what you see. Be decisive and confident in your leadership. People will follow those who can see beyond.

You have no choice but to trust those in the basket with you.

Once you’re up in the air you don’t get out of the basket or you will fall. So whoever you are in the basket with is whom you have to trust. Make sure you make good choices on whom to put in your basket. Be careful and selective!

If you want to get out—cool down

When it’s time to land stop heating things up. There are times in leadership when it’s time to stop the ride or rest. Don’t just quit or get out. You have to prepare to land and then land. The only way to land in a hot air balloon is to let the air in the balloon cool down. When you sense it is time for the team to shift to another project or end a certain season, let things begin to cool down and communicate to the team that you’re going to land. This is a great time for the team to get out of the basket if they want or prepare for the next flight.

Question: How do you handle it when things heat up around you?