Leadership Lessons from a Chicken Coop
Do you have fond memories of growing up? I hope you do. I have a ton of them. Growing up for me was quite the adventure. However, I also have some memories that are not even close to making the fond list. One in particular is cleaning out the chicken coop on my uncle’s farm. My older brother and I started working on my uncle’s farm around the age of ten. Due to our young age, we were not assigned too many task that required a high skill level to say the least. Unfortunately, chicken coop cleaning was not on that forbidden list. On a regular basis, I would be assigned the task of cleaning that chicken coop. To say I dreaded that chore would be one of the greatest understatements of all time. However, I learned a leadership skill that would stay with me for the rest of my life.
At this point you may be wondering, especially if you were not raised in the country, what made chicken coop cleaning so despised? I can answer that question in one phrase: unbearable stench. The aroma coming from a well fermented chicken coop could turn anyone’s iron skillet stomach into scrambled eggs. I just dreaded it. Then it hit me. The only time that chicken coop was bearable was when it was clean. Sitting there and pouting did not make the stench go away, plus it simply prolonged the agony. Every pitchfork of chicken manure out the door meant being one step closer to breathing some bearable air. Difficult tasks start the process of becoming bearable when you start working and stop the complaining. Becoming angry at my uncle never made the chicken coop more aromatically pleasing. Each pitchfork out the door did.
Everyone will face their own version of a chicken coop sooner or later. If you are a leader of anything or anyone, you will face difficult task with their own peculiar stench. Solution: get to work on it. The stench will not go away by mumbling and grumbling.
I have been in some form of leadership for more than 30 years now. Every opportunity comes attached to something that is not appealing and is difficult. What I have learned is this, ignoring it or putting it off never solves the problem. As a child, I had to muster up my own strength to get it done. But as a Christian, I know I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13) So, grab the right “pitchfork” for the job, and by the grace of God, start pitching towards a solution.