For the boater’s out there… Why do you ever drop anchor? I suppose you can come up with many reasons…

I do not own a boat but have been in a few over time. The times I have been on a boat, and heard the classic “anchors away” or “drop anchor,” I knew something was about to happen. A few thoughts I have never wondered were: is the anchor large enough to take hold, or is the chain or rope long enough to reach the bottom. If either one of these two is not what they are supposed to be, then dropping an anchor does not carry the value of its words.


Now the only two reasons why I can think an anchor would need to be dropped is either to keep the boat in one place because you want to stop, or a storm is coming and you need to hold fast. Regardless of which reason, dropping an anchor has its effects on many around. Let’s look at a few implications (assuming the above premise is correct)…

Leaders whose leadership is anchored…

Creates a safe environment for others

When an anchor is dropped, everyone goes on about their business.  Nothing is amiss and everyone feels safe. People need to know that they can be themselves. Confident in performing their work and the freedom to know they can speak their mind. Their perspectives and point of view have value. Now that does not always mean that it will be accepted, but at least they are acknowledged.

Make decisions

To “drop anchor” you must decide. Anchored leaders make decisions. I can see it now, “Do you think we should drop here?” If this question keeps being asked, before you know it, you will be way off course. I am not promoting that there should not be some due diligence, but once there is, make a decision.

Know the lay of the land

A great leader does not “drop anchor” anywhere. They know their anchor weight and chain length. Their expectations are precisely what they need to be to succeed. Better yet, they communicate their expectations. Leaders are the ones who say, “Drop anchor.” To communicate effectively, a leader must know what is going on and where they are.

Anchored leadership is about sustaining success safely for all involved. Too many times we find leaders whose anchor is large enough but not enough chain or not large enough and too much chain. Either way, their “anchored leadership” never becomes “grounded,” and their leadership either drifts or is tossed.

Let your leadership be anchored.  Everyone around will be better for it.

©2019 J Clay Norton

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