Posts Tagged empower

Leadership Is Dangerous

Leadership_is_dangerouseMy good friend Joseph Lalonde released his free eBook a couple of weeks ago, LEADERSHIP IS DANGEROUS: Four Traps That a Leader Should Avoid.

Sometimes we become leaders by accident. It leaves us wondering what leadership means for us. To be honest, it can mean many different things. Leadership means:

You have followers: There are people who are watching what you do. They’re waiting for your next move so they can follow in your steps. You may not always see who your followers are but they’re out there [TweetMe]. They can be friends, family members, or complete strangers. Be on the lookout for who’s following after you.

Being a leader means you have responsibility: Did you ever read Spiderman growing up? Before Peter Parker’s uncle Ben dies, he says something to Peter. He uttered the words “With great power comes great responsibility.” [TweetMe] How does this relate to you? You’ve been given the power to lead others. You have influence over your followers. This gives you power. With this power comes great responsibility. Be sure to lead with this thought in mind.

Your choices no longer affect just you: That’s right. Your choices now affect others. Your followers may feel the repercussions of the choices you make [TweetMe]. The bad choices you make will reverberate through your organization. If you’re married, you know this. Every choice you make affects your spouse and children. No choice is separate from your leadership of the family.

Now you know what being a leader means. You’re attracting followers. You’re given great power but also have great responsibility. And your choices now affect more than yourself.

The choices you make affect everyone you touch and everything you do. There will be times when you believe no one is watching you. That’s a lie. Once you become a leader, someone will be watching you.

All you have to do is watch the news and you’ll see how our leaders are watched. Your steps will be scrutinized. Your decisions will be questioned. And eyes will be watching you.

This is why you, as a leader, need to be vigilant. Get a free copy of Joseph’s eBook here.


, , , , ,


5 Leadership Lessons Momma Taught Me

large__3009370044What is the greatest gift my mother gave me apart from life? I can confidently say she taught me what authentic leadership is. She is real. She loves all her kids. Her resilience is unmatched. Today, I dedicate Mother’s Day to my dear Mummy. I wish I could be near her to just give her a hug and say ‘thank you’.

Resilience builds leaders. My mother taught me the benefit of ‘hang in there’. She let me know that life will throw many curve balls at me. What would make the difference was how I dealt with them. A great faith is what my mother nurtured in my heart. Faith in God and people. That inherently, people have some good in them. As a leader, I will face many challenges and successes. I need to have the power to master both and not allow them to get to my head. I have to summon the “You get the best efforts from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within.” Bob Nelson

Leaders take control of circumstances. Make the best of whatever little you’ve got. Don’t not be driven by every idea, thought or trend that flies by you. Do good at all times and get the right things accomplished. Even when money was tight and she could not get us new cloths, my mother would make sure that what was on my back was clean and well-pressed. She reminded me what William A. Foster immortalized in his quote: “Quality is never an accident: It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution. It represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”

Love unreservedly. Leaders must show love and care at all times. Sometimes, it may be ‘tough’ love to help correct something that has gone astray. People “…don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” said Theodore Roosevelt. I was taught that love can move ‘mountains’. It cuts through pain, hurt, and hardships to bring forth joy and peace. I have seen my mother struggle through many things; lack of material wealth, discrimination, and much more. But the one thing she has never stopped doing is giving love from her heart.

Leaders have values to guide them. Values guide a person’s principles or standards of behavior as well as one’s judgment of what is important in life. Because my mother chose to take time and guide me in the right path, I became a better man. I can confidently take up my role as a father, husband and member of my community. “Values are critical guides for making decisions. When in doubt, they cut through the fog like a beacon in the night,” said Robert Townsend.

Integrity is a leader’s hallmark. When all else is stripped off, it is the the honesty and strong moral principles that will keep me afloat. Zig Ziglar frames this in a very real way. “The most important persuasion tool you have in your entire arsenal is integrity,” he said. Remember, people don’t  follow you because they have to, they follow you because the want to. If you don’t possess integrity, then you can’t attract men or women of high value to you. All you’ll end up with are ‘villains’ and ‘thieves’, people who rob you of your very humanity.

What lessons did you acquire from your mother? I encourage you to think through at least one …and write it down.

[photo credit: Vicki’s Nature via photopin cc]

, , , ,


Naked & Unashamed: Lead Forward

Today is a Good day to leapHow do you react in the face of adversity, especially when it is driven by something from your past that you fear to admit publicly? For most of us, leadership and being vulnerable are not cozy bedfellows.

During difficult times, or experiences, it is difficult to admit everything has completely broken down and the center does not hold anymore. Pride and a sense of self-preservation take over, and we grow a callous hedge around ourselves or sweep the dirt under the carpet.

Enemy Within. This is the cradle of the absolute dearth of intentional and character-based leaders. ‘Leaders’ are a dime a dozen at work, home and the political arena. Sanity, direction, hope, and mentor-ship are in short supply. Selfishness abounds with a vice-grip on our souls and drives us to the misplaced need to satisfy ourselves first with serving only a remote thought. Everything else, including children and spouse, become secondary.

This virus is driving the rot we experience all around us. The enemy within, one may muse, seems too large a dragon to slay. Like I did, it is possible not to appreciate the hurt your  family relations have exposed you to. That enemy is bitterness, anger, resentment and lack of forgiveness wrapped up in a tight package.

However, some of us are so wounded by our fathers, mothers, relatives or friends to appreciate that being vulnerable has the ability to make us stronger. We are too proud or afraid to admit that we are hurting, that we are mortally wounded and need urgent care. This places a titanium cap on our ability to lead effectively. We clam up in fear.

Writing “Down But Not Out: Becoming a Significant Leader at Home” was my way to deal with the wounds I had received from my father. As I pointed out in Leadership is a sacred trust, he was absent when I was a young, vulnerable boy growing up. It was the first step toward a grueling journey of forgiveness and freedom for a heart enslaved in bitterness.

Healing Wounds. If you intend to become a leader, and hope to take leadership to the next level, you’ll need to challenge your thinking to refine your direction. Forgiveness is the key to this new thinking. For without forgiveness, you remain a prisoner-of-war, in a jail where you cannot post bail or request for an appeal.

‘The spiritual life begins with the acceptance of the wounded self.’ Really? How can that be? The reason is simple: ‘Whatever is denied cannot be healed.’ But that’s the problem, you see. Most men deny their wound–deny it happened, deny that it hurt certainly deny that it’s shaping the way they live today.” John Eldredge, Wild at Heart.

For me, I had to start all over again. I debunked the myth that I am that ‘real’ man not vulnerable enough to accept that I carried with me a shipload of wounds. My macho image had to fall off if I was to live a life full of meaning.

Then the tears came, I could not hold them back. The painful wounds came back to me like an uncontrollable flood. I had expected the tears to bring with them a dark grey cloud from the past. Surprisingly, as the tears flowed, the darkness clouding my life began to dispel. My soul felt like it was bathing in a warm soothing flood. I sensed the healing had started. It was like a balm was soothing my deep, painful wounds.

The Law of the Lid. To raise the bar in my ability to lead, I had to pop my lid open. This is what John C. Maxwell refers to as ‘The Law of the Lid’ in his book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. He states “Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person’s level of effectiveness.” I was afraid to be vulnerable. I did not want others to know the pain that held me captive. This raging pain limited my ability to lead.

Only when I started to open up did I see my interaction at home, work, and social circles begin to be less stressful. I was finding more joy in helping others and proactively providing guidance and direction. I began to write. I was more relaxed and less snappy. I became more patient and tolerant to others.

Leaders embrace the challenges they face, yet all my life I ran away from my demons. When I confronted them, I got the courage to embrace my ability to deal with them. When I took leadership of my innermost soul, I led others with purpose and joy.

Take action…

  • Have you been holding onto hurts and inadequacies that hold back your ability to lead?
  • Are you afraid to be vulnerable before other people?
  • What steps will you put in place to re-think your current position in order to lead forward?

“Now is the time to start ripping open a cavernous, gaping hole! Because simply making ‘a dent’, just isn’t adequate.” Todd Nielsen, in Screw “Dents”… I’m Aiming for an Immense Gaping Hole!

photo credit: Effortless Vitality via photopin cc

, , , , , ,


Leadership is a sacred trust



[Excerpt from my new book soon in a bookstore near you…“Down But Not Out: Becoming a Significant Leader at Home.”]

The first seven years of my life were filled with enjoyment and unlimited possibilities. The future looked amazing. I could not wait to ‘grow’ up to scale the heights of Mt. Kenya and enjoy snow on top of it just five miles from my maternal grandparents’ house. To the south of home, there were wildebeests to race with as they performed their well-orchestrated annual migration in the Maasai Mara.

Life with my dad around was awesome. “When I grow up, I want to be like daddy,” I would blurt out without hesitation on being asked what I would like to become. And for dramatic effect, I would thrust out my rib-decked chest in a display of pride. I was that skinny!

My father was my pillar of refuge, the conqueror of anything that crossed his path. Life, I thought, was full of reckless abandon and a future as endless as far as the eye could see. Life was good. That was the powerhouse my father was to me.

Violent interruption. However, a long nightmare was brewing. Unbeknownst to me, my father was about to be violently torn away from me. He was transferred to a different workstation and had to move away to another town. This would take him away from his family. Sometimes, he would be away for up to eleven months every year. It was a bad dream that was to last for over two decades. For this long, I did anything to escape from a past dotted with dark times; times of struggle, pain, poverty, and need. I would pay anything, everything, to forget and totally obliterate this history.

For years, they would keep a family torn apart. Pain ran deep while dreams were shattered and lives devastated forever. A painful existence this became. No child should be allowed to block off a part of his or her life in a bid to find peace within. I was bitter with my father that he chose not to be more present at home for his family.

The depth of this bitterness became evident one day as I was reading the newspaper. For some weird reason, I paused on the obituary pages and wondered what my reaction would be if my fathers photo happened to be there. “I would not shed a tear,” I thought to myself without batting an eyelid. Then, a bolt of lightning jolted my heart while icy blood cut through my veins. This hit home so hard that I wanted to vomit violently!

If you can’t forgive, forget effective leadership. Nearly thirty years later, I chose to forgive my father. It had been a long arduous journey, but one I had to take if I was to live my life to its fullest. I realized that if I was to become a leader to my own family and beyond, I did not have any option but to forgive. But could I?

“The people you lead need to see that you’re not simply reacting to what’s happening around you, but that you’re making sure you’re ready to provide them with whatever support and opportunities they’ll need to succeed. This is why leadership today is less about what you know and more about the relationships you have with those you serve as [they] need to see that you have their backs as much as you expect them to have yours. It’s also why leadership is becoming harder to do well because it requires that we do more than simply maintaining the status quo, but that we seek out avenues and opportunities to improve things; to make things better both for those we lead and for those we impact through our actions,” notes Tanveer Naseer.

Then it happened. On the Christmas morning 2012, I called my father for the first time in years. I have no recollection of the last time I spent Christmas with my father. This time, I called just to wish him a Merry Christmas. And it felt good. My heart was not beating on overdrive. My breathing was normal. The chock-hold I had previously felt on my throat was gone! We had a very cordial conversation. For the first time in their lives, my children spoke to their grandfather. For the first time in his life, my father heard the voices of his two oldest grandchildren and that of his fourth grandchild. For the first time, he could wish his grandchildren a Merry Christmas. This is seven years after the birth of his first grandchild, my daughter.

At 12:11 am on the dawn of 1st January 2013, my cellphone rang. It was my dad on my first call of the year. He just wanted to wish me well in the year ahead.

True leadership brings restoration. Thirty years later, nearly to the dot, the healing began. For the first time in my life, I felt like could stop running and start living again. It was like blood supply was restored to some dead tissue in my body.

 “There is no need for wars or violence, under any circumstances. There are no problems that cannot be solved around a table, provided there is good will and reciprocal trust or even reciprocal fear.” Promo Levi, Auschwitz survivor, ‘The Drowned and the Saved’, 1986,

If leaders were ready to forgive others of any hurt or harm that had been directed at them, then restoration is an inevitable outcome. I can already feel the restoration building up from deep within me. Are you ready to forgive to surge forward? It is time for you to lead from within.

[photo credit: Brett Jordan via photopin cc]

, , , , ,


Your family brand influences your child’s personal brand

medium_4620813803Something different happens when parents take up intentional leadership at home. They set aside time for play, talk and reading. They cook, shop and dream as a team. They laugh, cry and reminisce together. They become one, a family with a common identity, though the characteristics of individual family members will vary.

Due to this tight bond, the family becomes the true ‘North’ especially during times of conflict or pain, as well as joy and celebration. As the individuals have developed a sense of identity, how they react can be clearly referenced to a particular brand. That family brand has a significant influence on how the children’s personal brands evolve over time… [TweetMe]

I explore this in its entirety on my guest vlog “Personal Branding Begins at Home” on Peter Sterlacci’s blog, BeYB… ‘Believe. Become. Be Your Brand’. It is also an excerpt from my upcoming book that explores the critical steps of bringing leadership back home.

About BeYB
Peter Sterlacci is the pioneer of personal branding in Japan. Building on his background in intercultural consulting & training and Certified by Reach, the global leader in personal branding, he works with on-the-move careerists in global companies in Japan. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSterlacci

photo credit: stefano principato via photopin cc

, , , , , , ,


Leaders Teach & Inspire

Lead, teach, inspireThe personal brand arsenal of any credible leader needs to have some key drivers. Of critical importance is the ability to teach and inspire followers and peers. If my vision doesn’t excite my followers, then my mission is just but a lame duck! This is explored in a guest blog “Leading through teaching and inspiration” on BeYB (Believe , Become, Be Your Brand).

So, what drives your personal brand? Will you add teaching and inspiring others to it? I urge you to give it a try…and take a deep dive into the classics. Leaders teach and inspire others to a higher level of meaningful existence.

About BeYB
Peter Sterlacci is the pioneer of personal branding in Japan. Building on his background in intercultural consulting & training and Certified by Reach, the global leader in personal branding, he works with on-the-move careerists in global companies in Japan. In a culture where “fitting in” is the norm, Peter uses a three-step process derived from his own passion for cycling to promote the mindset shift necessary for setting and reaching career goals in today’s economy. Tap into the value you provide to others and authentically build your visibility and credibility within your work teams and target audience.
Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSterlacci

, , , , , ,


Leadership reloaded – taking stock

“At some point in your life, you will face a situation where you are in a leadership position and dozens – maybe thousands or millions – look to you to lead. When that occurs, you won’t feel ready. But you have to lead anyway,” Oliver Van DeMille in A Thomas Jefferson Education.

Have you encountered a situation that left you feeling incapacitated? Like a deer caught in the headlights? You feel weak, scared, and lost? Many in leadership face this dilemma, especially when no solution or fix is at hand. You are coasting thinking all is well. Then wham! Shortly, you are sailing through the air full of dread of the landing. As the flying is in a vessel designed to be firmly grounded, a car.

If your leadership style ‘hands-off’, you guide your followers on what is required of them. It then becomes incumbent on them to get work done. You are only available if they encounter any challenges that require further guidance. The flipside is the ‘hands-on’ style, the micro-manager. Constantly, you look over your followers’ shoulders fearing they might deviate from your ‘perfect way’.

However, only a few are coming into the situation room.  Plans are not deployed to the letter and output falls behind schedule. They are frustrated and you are livid.

Lesson 1: It is time to shift gears, time to jettison the past. A change is required of your leadership. While some of your followers are happily executing their roles with minimum supervision, others will need very close monitoring. Leaders need to constantly re-calibrate their style to accommodate the prevailing environment.

Lesson 2: A crisis can get the leader in a whole lot of self-doubt. You may feel lonely and even have no one to turn to for help or advise. You will need to find a few people who become your ‘bouncing wall’. These are your accountability partners that help you check on your progress or lack thereof. They provide solid advise and, when needed, loving rebuke. If you are to succeed as a leader, you need to establish your personal ‘Board of Directors’.  Remember, it can be very lonely as a leader, and you need all the credible support you can find.

Lesson 3: Remember that leadership mostly operates like a bolt-action rifle. Bolt-action firearms are very popular for hunting as they are balanced, strong, rugged, reliable and accurate. Likewise, the leadership process is measured, targeted and carefully thought through. “Concentrate your energy, thoughts and capital exclusively upon the business in which you are engaged in,” Andrew Carnegie notes. When hunting, your prey keeps on shifting its position. It is incumbent on you to change your approach to be successful in leading.

Lesson 4: Finally, leadership is a journey, not the destination. Remember to invest in knowledge acquisition. A true leader maintains a ravenous hunger to learn, as this is the only way to ensure sustainable growth. Your followers will notice this and most probably embrace it too.

, , , , , ,


%d bloggers like this: