Studying an Iceberg
Posted on July 2, 2015
The other day I tried to say a joke to someone, and it came out wrong. No one laughed and the moment quickly turned to awkward. So… let me set it up for you. What’s the difference between an iceberg and a clothes brush? …….. One crushes boats and the other brushes coats!
I know, it is super funny, right? Anyway, it got me to thinking about icebergs. So I decided to spend some time reading about them. This is a few fun facts that I have found that I wanted to pass along.
When a piece of iceberg ice melts, it makes a fizzing sound called “Bergie Seltzer”. 90% of icebergs seen off Newfoundland and Labrador come from the glaciers of western Greenland. The rest come from glaciers on islands in Canada’s Arctic area. Icebergs are created from pure, fresh water and snow. The ice on an iceberg is about 10% as strong as concrete. This is much harder than your freezer ice.
The interesting thing about icebergs is the amount of the massive chunk of ice that is below the surface. Typically only one-tenth of the volume of an iceberg is above water. Just imagine that for a moment. We see only a small part of what makes up the iceberg, the core part of the structure is below the surface.
When I thought about the iceberg, I realized the comparison that we could make with leadership. When you picture an iceberg, there are two key parts, the visible and the part below the surface, the invisible. I believe that when it comes to leadership, there are two primary components that make up the leader.
Leadership is more about what you do not see the leader do than what the leader does for others to see. Great leaders do not need to advertise their actions or their accomplishments. The part of the iceberg that is below the waterline is called a keel. The part of the iceberg that is above the waterline is called the tip. (Hence “the tip of the iceberg”) When it comes to leadership, the part that is not seen is the character. And just as with an iceberg, 90% of the leader is not seen.
The part of a leader that is above the waterline is called skill. I find it funny that most of the books that I read and the stuff that I talk about when it comes to leadership all focuses on the part that is above the waterline. This should probably be addressed by my editor.
My point today is simple, it is the character that makes up a leader. It is the stuff that is done when no one is looking, or done without being publicised.
This week’s experiment: How do you rate your character? Are you a person with integrity? Examine what is below your waterline.