Iron Sharpens Iron — If the Angle is Right

I was rather impressed with myself the other day.  My mom and mother-in-law both commented on how sharp my knives were.  They are incredible cooks and to have excellent cooks ask how I get my knives so sharp was gratifying.  It is simple, I sharpen the knife each time I use it and before I put it away.

My wife tried to sharpen the knives and at first she couldn’t seem to get them sharp.  It seemed that no matter how much she sharpened, the knife wasn’t getting sharp.  She showed me what she was doing and I said, oh your angle is wrong.   To sharpen a knife you first have to make sure the angle of the knife to the stone, or file is right.  Every stroke on one side of the blade must be matched with a stroke on the opposite side in the same direction.

If this procedure is not followed the outcome is opposite of what is intended.  The knife actually becomes dull. If the angle, or strokes are incorrect each time the knife is sharpened you could be undoing what has just been done.  Many times this happens in our leadership as well.  Great leaders want those who follow to be the sharpest knife in the drawer.  In order to see this happen there are three things to understand:

Iron sharpens Iron

Angles

A Leader needs to be aware of how he or she approaches people.  If you approach a friend, family member or colleague in the wrong way it can do more damage than not approaching them at all.   The wrong angle can actually make the knife duller than it was before sharpening.

 

Balance

Remember that each time you sharpen one side of the knife you need to sharpen the other side.  This is true in mentoring as well.  Balance is the key here.  If there is an area where you are being sharpened or you are sharpening make sure you are being positive in other areas as well.  Sharpening creates friction and knocks off the rough edges.  Too much sharpening in one area can create an imbalance.

Consistency

My knives are sharp not because I bought sharp knives.  It is because every time I use them I sharpen them before and after.  As a leader ask yourself, am I making those around me sharper and are they making me sharper?  Many leaders think if you hire or get the sharpest people around, you will be a success, not necessarily.  Just like knives get dull after much use, so do people.  Invest in good people at the beginning, but also invest in them through out life.  Build them up, spend time, critique and bless, allow for times of rest, relaxation, and renewal.

Keep sharp and keep sharpening!

 

Do you have anyone in your life who sharpens you and you sharpen?