Fringe [frinj] 3. An outer edge; margin; periphery: on the fringe of the art world. – Dictionary.com
What is it about the fringe that scares some of us and makes others come to life? For some it is where they find their identity, and others try to pretend it’s not there. What is the fringe?
The Fringe is a group of people, ideas, or actions that are at the outer edge.
The Fringe is that one person who always thinks totally different then you ever have.
The Fringe is that new technology that has the potential to take off but you’re scared to touch it.
The Fringe is the idea that’s out there about that industry you are in. You know that change is coming but you try to prevent it at all costs.
Do you know the Fringe? If you are a leader I hope you do. This is where movements come from. Where ideas are born. Where raw passion and energy collide and overcome great odds. The idea of the fringe leader is something I’m just now discovering and praying that I become one day.
What does a “Fringe Leader” look like? It can vary, but there are some important characteristics.
The Fringe Leader is always listening. They are not just talking to their middle management. They get down with those doing the work and listen. They ask questions. They ask “what’s coming?”, “what’s our culture?”, and “what do I need to know?”.
The Fringe Leader is willing to take a chance on that one idea. They understand how it will revoluntionize or subtly make a huge impact on what they are doing.
The Fringe Leader ask the outsider to join them, and allows them to have a voice. The Outsider is the one most don’t understand (and maybe the Leader doesn’t either). The Leader allows the outsider to speak from where they come from and allows them to disrupt what is happening. (Read disrupt as, dropping a bomb that changes everything, but for the good)
You may be a leader now, or maybe you are a leader in the making. One thing that’s important to remember is that as you grow in influence and leadership there will be times people aren’t always honest with you. Sometimes you aren’t privy to what’s going on at the fringe anymore.
And at that point is the most important time for us to become the Fringe Leader. We must be willing to humble ourselves and “what we know” and ask the right questions of the right people. We need to stop and reconnect ourselves to the outer edge of what’s happening to continue to lead well and lead those there with the passion and energy that they have.
Are you a Fringe Leader? How do you stay connected to those on the outer edges?