“The most fruitful leadership lessons are not lying around on the ground at the bottom of the tree.”

Leadership lessons are learned with every leadership opportunity at every level. Too many want the title and position without paying the price, maintaining a spirit of humility, the key to great leadership.

Many young and/or immature leaders want the fruit of significant leadership influence without climbing the tree. Fruit that falls at your feet is usually rotten and passed over by real fruit pickers and tree climbers. It’s the same with leadership development.

If you get leadership influence any other way than climbing the leadership tree through blood, sweat and tears, it shows up often and in so many ways. Leadership seminars, workshops and MBA degrees are the climbing gear, not a substitute for the critical lessons you learn on your climb to the top.

Be like the snail who started his climb up the apple tree when snow was still on the ground. He passed by a worm sitting out the winter in a crevice. The worm said, “There’s no fruit up there.” The snail replied, “There will be by the time I get there.”

Where are you in your climb up the leadership tree?

Never go out on a limb and stay there. Keep climbing until you reach the top of your potential. Don’t be weary in your climb and certainly don’t be influenced by the “worms” who are satisfied feeding on the inferior fruit at the bottom of the tree, the place where all inferior leaders hang out.