Posts Tagged leadership

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.

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Leadership is HOPE

medium_136578060I was walking by a boy who was munching away at a delicious doughnut topped with glossy chocolate goodness. What made me notice this five-year old were the “empty” signals that my stomach was beaming to my mind. Then I spotted him drop his paper napkin into an adjacent flowerbed.

As much as there was an urgent need to sort out my nagging hunger, I managed to suppress it and respond to a more pressing need. Right before me was an opportunity to help this youngster and guide him towards taking more responsibility in life. I stooped down to his level and gently asked him to pick up the paper napkin. But that was not all. I helped him to figure out what to do with the napkin, to find a rubbish bin.

What does this have to do with leadership? It is because leadership responds to HOPE, Honoring the Opportunity to spur People on to Excellence [TweetMe]. Hope is at the core of leadership as it provides the grounds for believing that something good may happen.

HONOR – Leaders need to fulfill an obligation or stick to an agreement [TweetMe]. This is regardless of how you feel, where you are, or whichever excuse that may creep into your mind. It may come at great personal cost, but a leader always keeps his word and sticks to a vision set. “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” Aristotle

OPPORTUNITY – Be present in time and place, as opportunity is a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something [TweetMe]. If you are too busy building the big vision, when will you be able to work with your team to realize that vision? “Leadership develops daily, not in a day,” notes John C. Maxwell in ’21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership’.

PEOPLE – Anyone who thinks they are a leader but has no followers is just taking a walk. For people to follow you, they must trust you and feel that you are adding value to them. They must have faith in your leadership. If they can’t feel your heart and see your intentions, you’ve lost them [TweetMe]. “The true test of a leader is whether his followers will adhere to his cause from their own volition, enduring the most arduous hardships without being forced to do so, and remaining steadfast in the moments of greatest peril.” Xenophon.

EXCELLENCE – The quality of being outstanding or extremely good is key to leadership. It means that you are in a state of constant learning and re-calibration; not only to better your leadership, but also to build other leaders around you. Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course [TweetMe]. If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. “Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” Colin Powell

If you are to succeed, you have to allow others’ skills, competence, and expertise to shine through. How are you doing this everyday?

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The Maple-Leaf Affair

medium_8086903740On a recent trip, I couldn’t help but notice a well-dressed elderly lady in a wheelchair. She was sipping at what I assume was a delicious coffee at Muggs & Bean, just outside the boarding gates at Cape Town International Airport in South Africa. I gathered she must be Canadian as her bag had a tag with the red maple leaf found on the Canadian flag.

I did not think much of it until well into our flight. Incidentally, the lady and her husband sat across the isle to my left. That is after I noticed that she was urgently pecking away at an iPad. It was the bold, red, fontsize-24 Arial typeface that grabbed my attention.

“Handling the wheelchair is becoming a challenge. The pain in the shoulders and fingers is getting worse. Need constant help to get around,” she typed out and continued, “Should check out hospice [she even typed out its name]… Prepare for death.”

What? Had I read that right, or was the recycled air in the aircraft cabin playing tricks on my travel-fatigued mind? All this time, her husband would read what she had typed out and patiently respond to her in a soft, loving voice.

This got me thinking of how short the time is to make any meaningful impact in our community [TweetMe]. Should I waste my time chasing my tail or those of others? Or should I build my dream and impact lives with the goodness that was so graciously extended to me by my Maker?

As a leader, the three parts of the maple leaf remind me I need to do the following inspired by Robin Sharma:

First, I must CAST AWAY FEAR OF FAILURE and grow the opportunities I come across [TweetMe]. Robin Sharma reminds me, “Your excuses are nothing more than the lies your fears have sold you.” This lady embraced her fears and talked about them.

Second, Even as I work at it, I need to CLAIM STRENGTH AND COURAGE from significant others and God. I need to remain accountable to accomplish what I set out to do. Robin says, “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.” Her husband was right there walking her through what must be a very difficult period in her life.

Finally, I must MOVE FORWARD WITH BOLDNESS that is the leader I was destined to be! [TweetMe] “Life is short. Be of use,” says Robin. This lady was courageous enough to accept her life’s situation.

My dream shall become my mantra. From today, I will actively remind myself to serve first. For it is in service that I grow my significance [TweetMe].

How are you growing your significance? What do you need to do to grow your service-leadership?

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Leadership is the WE in ME

medium_2557846393When selfishness is banished, that is, we cease to continuously place ourselves on a pedestal, then tables are turned. An “M” in me is immediately mirrored into the “W” in we. This brings people into our lives and with that the opportunity to lead and inspire hope. We begin to build a vision. “Part of our destiny is to claim the vastness of our vision.” Brendon Burchard

So, how do you grow your leadership by claiming the vastness of your vision? |TweetMe|

Presence/Persona: A leader can’t be accountable to no one. Make sure you have at lease two people you are completely open to and can question your actions at any time. Being available to critique means you are dependable. It communicates that you can be found when people are in need; when they are vulnerable and when they want to celebrate. Being accountable helps you to connect with people as you can readily step in and help.

Persistence: When you claim your vision, you live in the moment of decisive passion. You can’t hide from the truth in your heart. What happens in this state is magical, as you are filled with a determination and renewed commitment to stay on course. Persistence opens up the vaults to patience and work ethic. You then become one of those fortunate to invest in a rare commodity also known as life.

Prosperity: Investing in doing what is right is an expression of impact. Under intense pressure, you can only manifest what is in you. The quality of success in my life not only depends on the seeds I sow, but also in the quality of harvest I reap. Don’t worry, sow quality seeds and nurture them. The return will be there. Just be persistent in doing what is right, as opposed to doing the right thing that yields the bare minimum.

Position: Finally, leadership is about a legacy of hope, peace and unforgettable memories. Legacy is the ultimate yardstick of your position in life and community. Many measure prosperity on the premise of the value of the material possessions they have or own. I peg my position on the value of relationships I have cultivated. As mentioned in my previous blog post “When you are not in the room”, others determine your position, not you.

“The axe forgets but the tree remembers.” Shona Proverb |TweetMe|

A leader responds to presence, persistence, prosperity and position with three “Rs”; a Refusal to cease doing good, a Reason to remain even-keeled even in challenging times, and finally a Righteousness that transcends the deepest and widest divides of the heart.

Leaders are not judged by how much material gain they make as harshly as by the sacrifice of their choices, the seeds they cultivate, and the connectedness within their hearts to nurture more leaders. “Material possessions don’t hold bedside vigils when your end is near: they can’t cry with you in your pain or laugh at shared stories,” says Dr. Kevin Lehman.

That is legacy… And what will yours be? Shall we start now?

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When You Are Not in the Room…

medium_5061697780An interview that Bob Burg held with Fox Business Brand Correspondent Bruce Turkel got me thinking beyond branding. As a communication specialist, I was already drawn into the conversation on messaging and audiences. It was easy pickings for me, this is what I do for a living anyway.

However, nine minutes into the twenty-minute interview, Bruce “sucker-punched” me! Bob asked him to describe for the audience what a brand is. His response was one I have also given many times to others in my line of work. However, when I heard it from Bruce, it hit me like a run-away train!

“Branding is not a logo. A brand is not a tagline. A brand is not an ad, it’s not a brochure, it’s not a website,” began Bruce. “A brand encompasses every communication touch point between you and your audience… A brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. It’s what proceeds you when you walk into the room…”

I could not help but see some branding parallels to leadership. What do I leave in a roomful of people, and what proceeds me before I even show up? I thought of three things I need to respond to if my brand as a leader can stand the test of time: Reliability, Responsiveness and Responsibility [TweetMe].

Reliable – Great leaders are honest and can be relied upon to keep their word [TweetMe]. When plans are made together, it is expected of the leader to honor them. It doesn’t matter whether they are written or verbal, they should be fulfilled unless there are seriously extenuating circumstances.

Responsive – Empathy is a key characteristic of a true leader [TweetMe]. How do you respond to a crisis? Do you empathize with those you lead or do you come down on them ruthlessly? Do you show love them while still being firm? Leaders who are responsive do not only correct, they point towards the right direction and walk the path with the concerned party. They lead by example.

Responsible – A leader is not only responsible for those he or she leads, they are also responsible to take ownership of their shortcomings [TweetMe]. You can’t be a leader and pass the buck at the same time. When something goes wrong, be brave enough to take the bullet.

What other issues do you think guide your leadership brand? I would love to hear from you.

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

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Leaders Lean With the Bend

medium_1065832638A couple of rabbits chased by a pack of dogs dashed into a thicket and stood there for a moment, panting. “Well,” one said to the other, “do you think we should keep running or stay here until we outnumber them?” (Sarah Castle)

This got me thinking about our response to hardship or conflict. Nature dictates that we make one of two responses: fight or run.

However, I think leaders have a third response; innovate. They roll with the punches. They make sure that they are prepared to deal with the bends that they’ll frequently come across.

A leader will at one time in their life come to a fork on the road. It will be a time to make a very deliberate choice. As you lead, you will be faced with three choices: fight, run or innovate [TweetMe].

To INNOVATE, a leader must make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products.  It calls for moving out of your comfort zone. To remind myself how important this is, I always tell myself to burn the box. This way, there is no “safe” haven for me to run back to, as that is the state that I need to move from, one that is restraining me from doing bigger things.

Innovation leans with the bend. When riding a motorbike, it is crucial that you learn to lean into the bend to smoothly navigate through it. If you fight the bend, both  you and the bike will most probably come out second-best.

The same applies to your leadership. You need to understand where your followers are at and guide them safely through the bend. Help them understand and embrace your vision. Inspire them to learn what is needed to achieve the vision. Then together, both leader and follower lean into the bend [TweetMe].

You may chose to RUN away from the challenge. If you keep on running, chances are that you may tire out at some point and drop dead. The challenge you were running from in the first place will have had you! When you become stubborn and refuse to change, you will face imminent death of your dream or cause.

FIGHTING may be the compromise between innovation and retreating. You may end up expending more energy and resources in this state. Why not invest the same in innovative action that may end up as a win anyway?

Your leadership is the driving seat to your destiny [TweetMe].

Will you innovate, run or fight? Please share your thoughts and let’s engage and grow together.

photo credit: Patrick Mayon via photopin cc

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Rise up Titans!

de5d6297a3e847ce5b90e1649671565eA few days ago, I received and interesting email from a good friend. “I will give you a call in a bit about this post…” was all it said. No salutation or sign-off. He is a regular management columnist in the local Business Daily. “What had he noticed in my blog post?” I wondered. Being the optimist, I focused on the positive. I thought he has found life-changing inspiration in my thoughts.

Later in the evening, after a raucous exchange of pleasantries (he is a fun, loud chap) he blurted out, “I give you a 1 out of 10 for your blog post today!” What? Did I hear that right? So much for my optimism. Under normal circumstances, I would have become super-defensive. But I listened…

He took me through the emotions he underwent as he read my blog. The title had drawn him in, but something was missing in the content and he was yearning for more. Furthermore, he gave it to me straight up that my post was not up to the quality he expected of me. You know what? He was spot on!

I re-wrote the post to meet the need of one man. Was it necessary? Without a doubt it was. The reason I write is to fulfill a need. It is to share knowledge and inspire perspective to life, work and family. As I write, I strengthen my leadership and learn how to become a better follower.

A short while back, I attended a meeting with a difference. About a hundred men gathered together to engage in discussion around the meaning for their existence; spiritually, in society, at home and at work. There was a palpable buzz in the room. From the very onset, I had a feeling that something awesome was afoot.

For many men, it does not come naturally to us to meet and discuss intimate matters that affect our personal lives. We would rather discuss politics, sports, cars or women for hours on end than admit that we need help. Yet the cry for help was the clarion call in this meeting. Men coming together and saying, “I need help!”

So, what did I learn from these two experiences?

Leaders meet a need, not a target [TweetMe]. The need is a cry from the younger men for role models. They want to be led. They want to learn. They need hope. There is a need from the older folk. They have a deep craving to be significant, to matter. To lead is essential or very important for them to inspire future generations. When needs are met, a sense of belonging and stability is cultivated.

Leaders are pillars of unity. However, unity is broken when I participate in active/passive disobedience and refuse to take responsibility for my actions or calling. This happens when I am overwhelmed by fear or I am too lazy to commit to the task ahead. You can gauge a leader’s influence by his or her ability to instil unity in their followers regardless of the surrounding conditions.

Faithful people needed, must be ready to lead courageously. When I lead courageously, I begin to define the fellowship of where great initiatives spawn [TweetMe]. I need to take time to actively listen to others. To listen requires patience and time dedicated to it. Sometimes, listening is a dangerous adventure and I need all the courage to embrace criticism, rebuke or correction.

Leadership is complementary, not competitive. Who really pays the price in competition? How complementary are we as leaders to inspire hope in people? Do I give people faith in their capability that propels them forward in love? I read this interesting insight: “Faith is walking as you are. It is being stripped down to your own bare essentials and simply saying here I am.” Complementarity is when a leader has a healthy perspective of life and work. As Lolly Daskal says, “Losing perspective is being stuck in one single view of things and becoming distant from other views.”

When I choose to become a leader, I must be ready to pay the price [TweetMe]. The choices I make are driven by the values I hold. A leader can only be as effective as his or her deeds. I can’t expect to instigate meaningful change if I can’t live that change in the first place. For your influence to be followed, leaders have to pay at the door! I have to be the change that I wish to see in the world around me. I have to pay the price…

“I dream of men who take the next step instead of worrying about the next thousand steps,” T. Roosevelt.

Are you living to your full potential? List fears that are holding you back, and then determine the steps you will take to overcome those fears.

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