Anchor or Rudder?

February 13 2023
By: Shawn M. Galloway

Everyone needs to know and do their part for a vessel to navigate successfully. One part keeps the ship on course, another keeps it in place. Regardless of what is powering this ship, rudders keep it on the desired course or change the direction when necessary. The anchor prohibits progress forward, holding it in the current location.

Anchor or Rudder?

Leaders in an organization serve either as the rudders or anchors. Both are important. The rudder gives direction, and course corrects when necessary. The anchor prevents elements from moving the ship when it needs to hold or stop. It is dangerous to charge forward without the right resources and plan, and leaders should not thwart necessary progress because a new direction is unfamiliar or undesirable.

A leader can't always be a rudder, and they can't stay anchored to old thinking or practices either. Do your leaders have the capacity to serve as a rudder and anchor, and know when to switch?

"You do not move ahead by constantly looking in a rearview mirror. The past is a rudder to guide you, not an anchor to drag you. We must learn from the past but not live in the past." — Warren W. Wiersbe

"In order to realize the worth of the anchor we need to feel the stress of the storm." — Corrie Ten Boom

"Leaders need to understand how profoundly they affect people, how their optimism and pessimism are equally infectious, how directly they set the tone and spirit of everyone around them." — D. Michael

Abrashoff, It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.

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