Mark LeBusque

What’s Your Leadership Screw

Last week I went in for surgery to clean up what the specialist and the surgeon referred to as a shitty, arthritic right knee that was full of ‘floaties’ such as bone fragments, cartilage and other outcomes and remnants of ACL reconstructive surgery way back in 1991. 

Around 6 years ago the ACL had been reabsorbed into the knee and as a result the structural integrity was being compromised and other parts of the joint were made to work harder and with wear and tear had got to a point where the constant pain was impacting on my physical and mental wellbeing. 

Upon looking at the x-rays with the surgeon (see image) where I had a opportunity to look at the screw holding a couple of the bones together I immediately said “is that screw doing anything useful for me?” 

His immediate response was “no, would you like me to remove it?” 

“absolu-fking-lutely” was my response. 

Curiosity got the better of me and I asked him why it was there initially and when had it gone from being useful to useless for me. 

It seems that it was useful for the early days to support and stabilise the knee joint and allow the ligament to graft under less tension than if it had not been there. That makes sense however I then shared with him it had caused me so much pain over the last 10-15 years when at times I had landed on it (usually diving playing cricket). 

It got me thinking about what other things in my life in leadership that could be represented by this screw? 

What was I hanging onto that at one point in time had served me well (and at times others) but was no longer the case? What was I not prepared to let go of or remove that was causing me and others some form of pain? What were my leadership screws? 

Here’s a list that came up for me: 

– Always wanting to be right – the smartest person in the room
– Always looking at others to blame rather than looking in my mirror and accepting my part in the mess
– Always competing rather than co-operating and collaborating with my peers 
– Always putting my needs in front of others – family, friends and work colleagues
– Always fighting for the spotlight, status, recognition even at the expense of those who had really done the work. 
– Always denying the ‘shitty comments’ about me from peers in a 360 review. 

I encourage you to spend a moment or two in reflection on what are some ‘leadership screws’ in your life that were once useful but it is time to remove in order to be of more use to yourself and others? 

I’m looking forward to no more acute knee pain now that screw has been removed……..