Leadership Nuggets

Leadership

I recently read through & discussed James Kouzes & Barry Posner’s book called The Truth About Leadership with a group of guys.  Here are some of my nuggets I took away from the book:

    • Before you can lead others, you have to lead yourself and believe that you can have a positive impact on others.
    • Before anyone is going to willingly follow you-or any other leader-he or she wants to know that you are honest, forward-thinking, inspiring and competent.
    • If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.
    • You cannot fully commit to something that isn’t important to you-no one can.
    • People won’t follow you, or even pay much attention to you, if you don’t have any strong beliefs.
    • Spend more time in the future. You have to carve out more time each week to peering into the distance and imagining what might be out there.
    • Looking backward can actually enable you to see farther than if you stare straight ahead.
    • The best leaders take actions that make people strong and capable. They make people feel that they can do more than they thought they could.
    • Often, people just lack a little courage and confidence. They blossom when they have a leader who believes in them and gives them support and encouragement
    • Tremendous energy is unleashed when constituents trust you!
    • To be a leader you need to make something happen. You need to feel a strong sense of commitment, believing that you can find something in whatever you are doing that is interesting, important, or worthwhile.
    • You can’t lose focus when there are lots of distractions all around. You can’t hop from one thing to the next without completing what you started. It’s called grit!
    • People are always watching you.
    • Learning agility…is the ability to reflect on experience and then engage in new behaviors based on those reflections.
    • If you want to be the best leader you can be, you will have to attend to your weaknesses.
    • Love enlarges lives. Love creates the desire to serve others and to see them grow and become their best.

I hope you can also learn from some of these quotes.  It may be a reminder or a new challenge.  We are all leaders to some degree whether at home with our families, at work, at church or in your community.  I’ve heard this many times and I believe it that everything rises and falls on leadership.  Lead On!

Six Guideposts for an Emotionally Healthy Life

wholehearted

Living an emotionally healthy life is incredibly freeing.  Yet it is very difficult to do because we all grow up learning unhealthy behaviors and unhealthy emotions.  Think of it like pieces of armor that we put on growing up, defense mechanisms, ways of handling conflict, how to treat other people, what we think about ourselves, others and God.

In order to get healthy here are a six guideposts that can help us all get healthier emotionally and live with freedom and joy.  Many of these guideposts come from researcher, author and speaker Brene’ Brown.

  1. Cultivate authenticity and let go of what other people think –   Authenticity is a choice and must be practiced every day.  It’s letting ourselves been seen for who we really are and also setting healthy boundaries in our lives.  It’s being able to say no in a kind way yet stay firm when pressured.  It’s choosing to have a hard conversation instead of stuffing it and letting resentment fill us up.  It’s paying attention to what we are feeling and why and dealing with the truth.  It’s speaking up instead of holding it in.  It’s taking our mask off and being our true self, imperfections and all.
  2. Cultivate self-compassion and let go of perfectionism – Perfectionism leads to frustration, anger and a host of other unhealthy emotions.  It also leads to negative self-talk and keeps you from moving forward in relationships and projects.  It can feed fear and keep us paralyzed.  To let go of perfectionism we need to be able to practice self-compassion or being kind to ourselves.  It’s allowing ourselves to deeply feel what we are currently going through and understanding that we are not alone in our struggles.  Others have gone through similar things and survived.  We must be able to love ourselves before we can love others.  It’s giving ourselves a break from having to be perfect and always doing the right thing.
  3. Cultivate a resilient spirit and let go of numbing behaviors – This involves knowing who we are and how we are wired.  It is the self-awareness to know what our numbing behaviors are and a willingness to get help to avoid going there.  It’s understanding our purpose in life and God’s plan for our lives.  When we grow spiritually it strengthens our spirit and allows us to bounce back much faster when troubles come.  It’s having a healthy outlet for venting frustrations and pain.  Allowing people close to us to know us and be vulnerable with them about what is happening.  numbing behaviors include things like spending hours on Facebook or social media, watching TV, video games, working.  It can be drinking alcohol, taking drugs, smoking or watching porn.  It can also be focusing on our phone and not being fully present with the people around us.
  4. Cultivate gratitude & joy and let go of scarcity & fear – It’s not just having an attitude of gratitude, but actually practicing gratitude.  Keeping a gratitude journal and actually telling others how grateful we are for them and the things we are grateful for.  It’s living with an eternal perspective and knowing we have a higher purpose in life.  It’s noticing the little things in life and being able to live in the moment and just be.  It is being comfortable in our own skin and not trying to be somebody we are not.  It’s having an abundance mentality, and not a scarcity mentality.  It’s being generous with our time, our money and possessions and our abilities by helping and serving others.
  5. Cultivate intuition and trusting faith and let go of the need for certainty – Certainty is not real but uncertainty is.  Our intuition comes from the experiences we have had in life.  To cultivate intuition we need to think about and learn from our experiences.  It’s also important to grow in our faith and keep searching for answers to life’s questions.  Yet it’s also being OK with not having all the answers.  Many people would rather be miserable and certain than emotionally healthy and uncertain.  One way to cultivate intuition and trusting faith to create time for silence and solitude.  Building time into our schedules to connect with God, feed our soul and nourish our minds.
  6. Cultivate creativity and let go of comparison – Every human being is creative, some people practice using it more than others.  Unused creativity turns into unhealthy emotions like anger, judgement, rage and depression.  When we start comparing ourselves to others our creativity goes down because of fear.  Often because of something someone said or did to us as a child we avoid being creative because we fear not being good enough.  When children get to be in the 4th and 5th grade their level of creativity goes way down because that is when their art begins to get graded and compared to others.  To cultivate creativity we need to start doing something we gave up or thought we were no good at.  Start drawing, painting, sculpting, writing, taking pictures, making videos.  Finding our creative side and exercising it will bring joy, freedom and energy into our lives.  Do something creative today.

Start pursuing an emotionally healthy life by cultivating the good and letting go of the bad.

Summer 2015 Reading List

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coffee-1600-1200-wallpaper

Reading is one of the most important things you can do to learn, grow and improve yourself.  I love to read and I try to read one or two books a month.  I also listen to pod casts, and audio books to keep feeding my mind good stuff.  As a leader this is vital to keep stretching and pushing yourself to get better.

So over the next several months I plan on doing a lot of reading.  I have carved out some extra time to allow for this by taking some vacation time and incorporating it into my regular work schedule.

Here are the books I am currently reading and several I plan on reading later:

Business Books:

Spiritual and Personal Growth:

Audio Books:

Just for Fun:

15 Leadership Tips

I found this in my leadership files and wanted to share this.  Not sure where I got it, but some great reminders for everyone that has influence and is leading other people.

15 Leadership Tips:

  1. In other words, for people to embrace and follow compassionate, honest, ethical, peaceful, and fair principles, they must see these qualities demonstrated by their leadership.
  2. A given type of leadership inevitably attracts the same type of followers. Put another way, a leadership cannot behave in any way that it asks its people not to.
  3. Prior to expecting anyone to follow, a leader first needs to demonstrate a vision and values worthy of a following.
  4. The suggestion that loyalty and a following can be built by simply asking or forcing people to be loyal is not any basis for effective leadership.
  5. That is to say – loyalty to leadership relies on the leader having a connection with and understanding of people’s needs and wishes and possibilities. Solutions to leadership challenges do not lie in the leader’s needs and wishes. Leadership solutions lie in the needs and wishes of the followers.
  6. It is not possible for a leader to understand and lead people when the leader’s head is high in the clouds or stuck firmly up his backside.
  7. Incidentally, leading is helping people achieve a shared vision, not telling people what to do.
  8. Leaders get lost because of isolation, delusion, arrogance, plain stupidity, etc., but above all because they become obsessed with imposing their authority, instead of truly leading.
  9. Always, when leaders say that the people are not following, it’s the leaders who are lost, not the people.
  10. People are a lot more clever than most leaders think.
  11. People have a much keener sense of truth than most leaders think.
  12. People quickly lose faith in a leader who behaves as if points 10 and 11 do not exist.
  13. People generally have the answers which elude the leaders – they just have better things to do than help the leader to lead – like getting on with their own lives.
  14. A leadership which screws up in a big way should come clean and admit their errors. People will generally forgive mistakes but they do not tolerate being treated like idiots by leaders.
  15. And on the question of mistakes, a mistake is an opportunity to be better, and to show remorse and a lesson learned.

Lead On

 

5 Elements of a Great Team

Great-Team-2

There has been a lot written about teams and team work.  Yet many companies struggle to have healthy, high functioning teams.  Most often that is the result of an unhealthy culture or misguided leadership.  There are some fundamental elements of great teams that allow organizations to get things done quickly with excellence.

  1. A Sense of Purpose – The great teams I’ve observed and served on have had a sense of purpose, they all knew where they were headed.  That sense of purpose allowed the team to want to be great not just average.  The first step in building a great team is to make sure everyone knows the big picture purpose of what they are trying to accomplish.  Does everyone know what a win looks like and are they celebrating the right things and changing the wrong things?
  2. Empowered – Great teams are given the ability to do their jobs and the decision making power to get things done.  They don’t have to check with the boss before every decision, because the boss trusts them and has given them their purpose and goals.  When a team is empowered and trusted great things can happen very quickly.  When they are told what to do and how to do it they tend to move slow and become average and apprehensive.
  3. Humble – Great teams might have superstars on the team but everyone knows the team is more important than any individual.  People are willing to defer to others if they have more experience and knowledge.  They also learn how to push back on ideas without attacking individuals.  The team is always trying to find the best and so everyone is open to feedback and evaluate everything together.
  4. Transparent & Honest – Great teams talk to each other and are honest with each other.  If they are on the same page as far as purpose and are clear on the objectives they can push each other and hold each other accountable.  This can only happen if they are also humble and trust each other.
  5. Cross functional and diverse – The great teams have different personalities, skills and strengths.  Team members know what each others strengths and skills are and allow people to work in their area of strength.  Great teams communicate about who should be involved in certain projects based on their skill and strengths and not on politics.  Team members understand what others are doing on the team and therefore can help each other if needed.

Teams are only as great as the leader.  Leaders that try to control and direct instead of casting vision and empowering tend to have average teams.  As a leader don’t get caught up in telling your team what to do.  Instead make sure they know their purpose and what the wins are.  Establish clear goals or outcomes and then allow your team to figure out how to get there.  If you can’t trust your team then you have the wrong team and need to find people you can trust.

As the leader you are there to coach along the way and not get involved in the how.  This means encouraging people, redirecting people, refocusing people and backing your team up even if they make some mistakes.  Building a great team takes great leadership.  If you have a very new team or inexperienced team you may have to spend more time with them and give them some of the how.  Getting your teams to great is a process, there is an ideal yet you need to work with reality.  Start with yourself as the leader and then your team members.  The better you lead the better your team becomes.

Lead On