Sometimes we just need a little perspective. We may think things are difficult, even insurmountable at times, but consider for a moment what one of our country’s greatest leaders faced, then remind yourself that this courage lies within you as well, waiting to be discovered. For many people Lincoln will always stand as one of the utmost heroic figures in United States history.
But what most of us don’t know is that Lincoln’s life before his presidency was marked by one failure after another. He failed in many ventures; in business, in elections for Speaker of the House and to the state legislature, he lost a Congressional nomination, a land officer appointment, twice to the US Senate, and in a nomination for the Vice President. Finally, it was only after these eight sizeable failures that Lincoln was elected President of the United States. How many of us would have given up after so many defeats?
Many of the problems our country faces today pale in comparison to what Lincoln had to overcome as president. During his presidency, eleven states seceded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America. Americans may think the divisions between parties is great today, but think of this divide which Lincoln faced. Americans on both sides were literally killing each other.
The American casualties in the Civil War during Lincoln’s presidency were greater than the America casualties lost under all the other Presidents combined. Lincoln’s responsibilities were so immense, yet he managed to keep the country together so that we can still call our nation a united states.
Lincoln also dealt with depression without the luxury of modern medicine. Nevertheless he led by example. He is known to have been one of the kindest, good-hearted presidents in the history of our nation. In his second inaugural address, Lincoln said that there should be “malice toward none” and that he intended “to bind up the nation’s wounds.”
Indeed, we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for his great service to our country and for the heroic example of leadership he left for us. Clearly, our responsibilities do not match his, yet we can still meet our challenges with the fearless kind heart of President Lincoln.
We have all achieved merit in our own way. We might think it is insignificant, but somehow we learned to walk and talk, to get an education, and to overcome some memorable obstacles of our own over the years. Think about it for a moment and I am sure you will grin about at least one personal accomplishment. No matter how trivial it might seem in comparison to Abraham Lincoln’s, allow it to remind you that you too can find your own greatness within yourself if you put your mind to it.
It is estimated that our brains receive information through our senses that result in some four billion neuron impulses per second. Of these four billion pieces of information we are only consciously aware of about 2,000. That’s a mere 0.00005%.
It is happening to you right now. Possibly, until we mention it now, you were not even aware of the sense perception of your clothes on your skin. Or, aware of the noise in the background. Or, aware of all the multitude of objects just inside your peripheral vision. Until we mentioned them you were paying attention to something else.
If you had to be fully aware of all the information that you receive at all times you probably would be so overwhelmed you wouldn’t be able to function. Unwanted information is filtered out through a process of Deletion, Distortion and Generalization. This filtering process is driven largely by our beliefs of how things are at any given time.
Whilst this can be tremendously helpful in keeping you from being overwhelmed it can lead you into making assumptions about situations that might not serve you well; you can easily become a victim of the vagueness that you accept as fact.
To make matters worse, when you communicate with others you pass on your assumptions, with the additional assumption that the recipient makes the same assumptions. Your assumptions create gaps in your communication that you expect the other person to fill in with the SAME understanding. All too often because of your assumptions you do not deliver what is or was expected.
Here are some examples of vagueness. What assumptions are you making as you interpret them?
“Go and increase the morale in the team!”
“Make sure that they fully appreciate your efforts!”
“Spend more time on customer relations!”
Now try this: Being a Champion of Clarity
First off, to be a Champion of Clarity you have to recognize that communication is filled with assumption. A Champion of Clarity recognizes the pitfalls of assumption both as a speaker and as a listener.
As a listener they are very aware of the following phrase:
“The meaning of your communication is the response that you get!”
As such, a Champion of Clarity takes full responsibility for ensuring that their communication is thoroughly understood.
As a listener they recognize that they all too often interact with Victims of Vagueness, and they take steps to avoid relegating from a Champion of Clarity by ensuring that they fully understand the intention of the communication behind the words that they hear.
A good way to ensure proper understanding is getting sensory cues that provide evidence of the successful desired outcome.
In response to the vague statements above, a Champion of Clarity would ask something like:
“And when I have increased morale in the team, what will let you know that it has been done well?”
“What is it that will let them know that we put in effort in a way that should be recognized?”
“And when we are spending more time on customer relations, what will you see and hear?”
Give it some thought. Don’t be a Victim Of Vagueness, become a Champion Of Clarity.
Turning Your Wheels: 8 Steps Towards Becoming The Leader You Need To Be To Succeed!
An important part of success in life is the ability to lead. It is important that we not only be able to lead others but be willing to lead ourselves. No one succeeds in life by simply following others. Sometimes we simply must strike a bold new path for ourselves.
Being a good leader is more than simply being at the forefront of the crowd. A leader must act, and act skillfully. Too often in America, we simply accept that someone looks or sounds like a leader and too rarely do we actually look at the actions that leader performs — and that is the true test of leadership.
However, in order to become good leaders ourselves, we need to concentrate on solid and wise actions rather than simple appearances. The title of this article refers to eight steps, but do not think of these as progressive steps like so many recipes or instruction manuals describe. Instead, think of these as actions that you must take on a regular basis.
First, be alert to new potentials. “Reality” is not absolute but rather subject to constant change. Think about inventors, explorers, and agents of social change who have achieved greatness. Some might simply say that certain people are successful because they are lucky to be in the right place at the right time. Maybe so, but if they hadn’t had their eyes open for the opportunity, then it wouldn’t have mattered if they were in the right place.
Second, accept inspiration from wherever it comes; even your opponents. The wisest leaders constantly study their peers and their competition. In war, politics, and business we constantly see examples of this research and reconnaissance. Too many times though people concentrate on finding a weakness to exploit. If you want to be a leader of positive change don’t fall victim to this trend. Instead, if you find a weakness, make sure to avoid that pitfall yourself. If you find the strength then find a way to strengthen your own qualities to match.
Third, learn something new and promote in new ways every day. This means you must continually seek to expand your horizons, internally and externally. Feed your mind with new lessons and knowledge, but constantly expand your social horizons as well. Seek out and meet new people and immerse yourself in new social situations. You never know when these new experiences will help you in your leadership role.
Fourth, search for and find answers in subtle clues. Look beneath the surface and constantly question. This is an extension of the third step in that you are seeking new knowledge. But this also means that you will need to step off the traditional paths of knowledge. Don’t simply read books in the literary canon or the bestsellers list. Take seminars rather than classes as there is more room for questioning and debate. Seek out the unconventional thinkers, teachers, and writers. Stay thirsty for expanding your horizon.
Fifth, improvise if no existing solutions are available. No excuses. Necessity is the mother of invention. How do you know it won’t work if you’ve never tried it before? Remember, not all approaches need to come from the front. Look at your problem from all sides and systematically attempt different solutions in various combinations.
Six, make at least one person you care about happy every day. If you make it a point to be thoughtful and caring for one person every day then soon this thoughtful, caring behavior will become a habit and that habit will spread to the others around you. Making someone else happy also feeds your own personal happiness. Just imagine how much better the world would be if we all did a little bit more to spread happiness.
Seven, offer help, even if there’s no apparent advantage to you. This means more than writing a check. It means giving of your time and energy and yourself. Sometimes it will mean helping someone you don’t know and sometimes it can be a very personal action.
Finally, never let negativity be your last word on the subject. If your final words are negative than no matter how hopeful you may be about the potential of a project or action the lasting impression you give to others is one of negativity. Accentuate the positive and you are more likely to see a positive outcome.
If you follow these eight action steps not only you will be a better leader but also lead yourself to a more successful life. Start turning your wheels…
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“The miracle power that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance, under the promptings of a brave determined spirit.” – Mark Twain
Many motivational experts like to say that leaders are made, not born. We would argue the exact opposite.
We believe we are all natural born leaders, but have been deprogrammed along the way. As children, we were natural leaders – curious and humble, always hungry and thirsty for knowledge, with an incredibly vivid imagination; we knew exactly what we wanted, were persistent and determined in getting what we wanted, and had the ability to motivate, inspire, and influence everyone around us to help us in accomplishing our mission. So why is this so difficult to do as adults? What happened?
As children, over time, we got used to hearing, No, Don’t, and Can’t. No! Don’t do this. Don’t do that. You can’t do this. You can’t do that. No! Many of our parents told us to keep quiet and not disturb the adults by asking silly questions. This pattern continued into high school, with our teachers telling us what we could do and couldn’t do and what was possible.
Then many of us got hit with the big one, institutionalized formal education known as college or university. Unfortunately, the traditional educational system doesn’t teach students how to become leaders; it teaches students how to become polite order takers for the corporate world. Instead of learning to become creative, independent, self-reliant, and think for themselves, most people learn how to obey and intelligently follow rules to keep the corporate machine humming.
Developing the Leader in you to live your highest life, then, requires a process of unlearning by self-remembering and self-honoring. Being an effective leader again will require you to be brave and to unlock the door to your inner attic, where your childhood dreams lie, going inside to the heart. Based on our research in the area of human development and leadership, there are ten easy steps you can take to awaken the Leader in you and to rekindle your passion for greatness. They are:
1. Humility. Leadership starts with humility. To be a highly successful leader, you must first become humble and be willing to serve others. Nobody wants to follow someone who is arrogant. Be humble as a child, always curious, always hungry and thirsty for knowledge. For what is excellence but knowledge plus knowledge plus knowledge – always wanting to better yourself, always improving, always growing.
When you are humble, you become genuinely interested in people because you want to learn from them. And because you want to learn and to grow, you will be a far more effective listener, which is the #1 leadership communication tool. When people sense you are genuinely interested in them, and are really listening to them, they will naturally be interested in you and listen to what you have to say.
2. SWOT Yourself. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Although it’s a strategic management tool taught at Stanford and Harvard Business Schools and it’s used by large multinationals, it can just as effectively be used in your own professional development as a leader.
This is a useful key to gain access to self-knowledge, self-remembering, and self-honoring. Start by listing all your Strengths, including your accomplishments. Then write down all your Weaknesses and what needs to be improved. Make sure to include any doubts, anxieties, fears, and worries that you may have.
These are the demons and dragons guarding the door to your inner attic. By bringing them to conscious awareness you can begin to slay them. Then proceed by listing all the Opportunities you see available to you for using your strengths. Finally, write down all the Threats or Obstacles that are currently blocking you, or that you think you will encounter along the way to achieving your dreams.
3. Follow Your Bliss. Regardless of how busy you are, always take time to do what you love to do. Being an alive and vital person vitalizes others. When you are pursuing your passions, people around you cannot help but feel impassioned by your presence. This will make you a charismatic leader.
Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, be it writing, acting, painting, drawing, photography, sports, reading, dancing, networking, or working on entrepreneurial ventures, set aside time every week, ideally two or three hours a day, to pursue these activities. You’ll find the time if you try. If you were to video tape yourself for a day, you would be shocked to see how much time goes to waste!
4. Dream Big. If you want to be larger than life, you need a dream that’s larger than life. Small dreams won’t serve you or anyone else. It takes the same amount of time to dream small than it does to dream big. So be Big and be Bold! Write down your One Biggest Dream. The one that excites you the most!
Remember, don’t be small and realistic; be bold and unrealistic! Go for the Gold, the Pulitzer, the Nobel, the Oscar, the highest you can possibly achieve in your field. After you’ve written down your dream, list every single reason why you CAN achieve your dream instead of worrying about why you can’t.
5. Vision. Without a vision, you perish. If you can’t see yourself winning that award and feel the tears of triumph streaming down your face, it’s unlikely you will be able to lead yourself or others to victory. Visualize what it would be like to accomplish your dream. See it, smell it, taste it, hear it, feel it in your gut.
6. Perseverance. Victory belongs to those who want it the most and stay in it the longest. Now that you have a dream, make sure you take consistent action every day. I recommend doing at least 5 things every day that will move you closer to your dream.
7. Honor Your Word. Every time you break your word, you lose power. Successful leaders keep their word and their promises. You can accumulate all the toys and riches in the world, but you only have one reputation in life. Your word is gold. Honor it.
8. Get a Mentor. Find yourself a mentor. Preferably someone who has already achieved a high degree of success in your field. Don’t be afraid to ask. You’ve got nothing to lose. In addition to mentors, take time to study autobiographies of great leaders that you admire. Learn everything you can from their lives and model some of their successful behaviors.
9. Be Yourself. Use your relationships with mentors and your research on great leaders as models or reference points to work from, but never copy or imitate them like a parrot. Everyone has vastly different leadership styles. History books are filled with leaders who are soft-spoken, introverted, and quiet, all the way to the other extreme of being out- spoken, extroverted, and loud, and everything in between.
A quiet and simple Gandhi or a soft-spoken peanut farmer named Jimmy Carter, who became president of the United States and won a Nobel Peace Prize, have been just as effective world leaders as a loud and flamboyant Churchill, or the tough leadership style employed by The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher.
Be yourself, your best self, always competing against yourself and bettering yourself, and you will become a first rate YOU instead of a second rate somebody else.
10. Give. Finally, be a giver. Leaders are givers. By giving, you activate a universal law as sound as gravity; life gives to the giver, and takes from the taker. The more you give, the more you get. If you want more love, respect, support, and compassion, give love, give respect, give support, and give compassion.
Be a mentor to others. Give back to your community. As a leader, the only way to get what you want is by helping enough people get what they want first. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
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We’re often asked to come and give motivational speeches, yet what we actually thrive at the most is teach people how to become motivational leaders. That’s a far more productive endeavor.
The concept and application of motivation are misunderstood in most organizations. The motivational industry is based on a fundamental contradiction; because the focus of motivation is misplaced. After all, leaders (salespeople included) should be motivated. If they aren’t, they shouldn’t be leaders.
Here’s where the focus should be: not on the leaders themselves but on the people they lead. Can those leaders transfer their motivation to other people so those people are as motivated as they are about the challenges they face?
Furthermore: Can those people who “catch” the motivation of their leaders then go out and motivate others — and those others go out themselves and motivate still others … and on and on?
Finally, can people at each phase of this “cascading of cause leaders” translate motivation into action that achieves results — and not just average results but more results faster on a continual basis?
But there is another way of transforming your motivation to others that doesn’t take much explaining. It’s surprisingly simple, easy to use, and effective. Yet few leaders I’ve encountered use it, and those who use it, don’t use it well.
It’s the Way of the Question Mark. A “way” is a course of life one undertakes to advance in a particular discipline.
So it is with the Way of the Question Mark. It is not simply a technique; you’ll find it is actually a disciplined course of life. (We’ve been using it for years and are still a long way from mastering it. Because the question mark is often particularly appropriate in a highly charged emotional situation. However, in such situations, when strong emotions are getting the better of us, it takes practice and discipline to step back, gather our thoughts, and ask a question.)
Practicing the Way of the Question Mark can enhance your relationships with the people you lead so you get a lot more results as a leader.
From now on in all your leadership endeavors, make a conscious effort to put a question mark at what would otherwise be declarative sentences.
Asking the question rather than using a declarative is usually more effective because it gets people reflecting upon their situation. We can’t motivate anyone to do anything. They have to motivate themselves. And they best motivate themselves when they reflect on their character and their situation. The question prompts people to answer, and when they are answering, they may engage in such reflection. You may not like the answer; but often their answer, no matter what it is, is better in terms of advancing results than your declaration. Also, their answering the question may prompt them to think they have come up with a good idea. People are less enamored with your great ideas than they are of their ideas, even if those ideas are simply average.
For instance, your organization needs to have people go from point A to point B. A declaration leader might say, “Go from A to B.”
Practicing the Way, one might ask: “Tell me what you think about going from A to B?” or “What’s the best way for you to go from A to B?” or “Tell me how I can support you going from A to B?” or “How will you take leadership of others going from A to B?”
Mind you, we’re not talking about pandering to people’s whims. We’re talking motivation, motivating people to get more results faster on a continual basis. (In fact, you can’t order people to get more results faster continually. Only motivated people can do it.) We’re talking about challenging people to undertake extraordinary things, to be better than they think they are.
The question mark, as opposed to the simple declarative, opens up a world of results-producing possibilities. And it’s a world predicated on their choices.
Make the Way of the Question Mark your way. Discipline yourself to ask questions rather than make statements. You’ll start getting more results.
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“Leaders who don’t believe that results are limitless are selling their jobs and careers short. Here is a four-step process for manifesting a “results are limitless” mind-set.”
Results are limitless. That’s not a supposition. That’s a fact. Leaders who don’t believe that don’t understand the power of leadership to achieve great results. Leaders who believe it and live by their belief have an unmatched advantage over those leaders who don’t.
To begin to understand how and why results-are-results are limitless, consider these facts:
* In 1878, Jean Bouillaud, member of the French Academy of Sciences, said upon hearing a demonstration of Thomas Edison’s phonograph, “It is quite impossible that the noble organs of human speech could be replaced by ignoble, senseless metal.”
* In 1899, Charles H. Duell (Commissioner of U.S. Office of Patents.), urging President William McKinley to abolish his office, said: “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
* An 1909 article in the Scientific American stated, “The automobile has practically reached the limit of its development as suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.”
* Popular Mechanics stated in March 1949: “Where a calculator on the ENIAC is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps only weight 11/2 tons.”
The point isn’t that experts are wrong. Experts, we know, have been wrong countless times. The point isn’t that things change. That’s obvious. The point is this: BECAUSE THINGS CHANGE, RESULTS ARE LIMITLESS. IN OTHER WORDS, WHATEVER RESULTS YOU ARE ACHIEVING, YOU CAN ALWAYS ACHIEVE SOMETHING DIFFERENT OR MORE.
This may seem like a non sequitur. After all, leaders know that things change. But many leaders whom I have encountered don’t make the connection and fail to realize that results are limitless.
But there is a connection — a profound connection. And leaders who don’t make that connection, don’t live that connection, are giving short shrift to their leadership and the people they lead.
Living by the results-are-limitless credo can set you apart as a leader who consistently gets results, no matter what the challenge you face.
Start to take a small but well-defined step to manifest results-are-limitless leadership:
(1) Identify. Identify one thing you think is NOT BEING QUESTIONED. Make sure it is something people believe has “reached the limit of its development.” It may be a product or features of a product. It may be the way your organization is structured. It may be a successful engineering program.
(2) Question. Treat it as if it’s fundamental premise were false. Can you shoot holes in the logical reasons for its existence? If it ain’t broke, see what would happen if you break (change) it with one end in mind, achieving more results.
(3) Change. See if you can come up with answers that will lead either to replacing what you’re questioning or improving it.
(4) Continue. Don’t look at this as an academic assignment. It’s not homework. It’s the beginning of making the credo part of the DNA of your leadership.
Repeat: This as a leadership endeavor. Determine who are the cause leaders you need to make the change happen. Talk to them about how they would take leadership to affect that change. You should not only have “What if … ” discussions but more importantly, “Why not … “discussions.
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For 3 years we’ve taught professionals, leaders and business owners the importance of making work and learning meaningful and fun. We’ve given them reasons and ways to do it. We’ve written about it many times.
All of the things we have taught and techniques we have used are valuable and helpful.
And they aren’t enough.
The training techniques and ideas all focus on the learning process. And while the process is important; when we focus too closely on a process we can lose sight of the result.
It is like when you tell someone their form is wrong and ignore that they still outrun you by minutes on the mile. Or when you tell someone they hold the pen wrong when they write, but they still have beautiful handwriting. Or they seem to do something in an unconventional but successful way.
In all of these cases, the focus on process keeps our sight away from the desired result.
So it is with fun and learning.
Will our learning be deeper and more lasting (as well as more enjoyable) if we do things to make the process fun? Of course.
But as we already said, that isn’t enough.
If the person leading your training doesn’t understand why those techniques work, or believe that they will work, they will just be using the techniques and it will feel just like that to both the teacher and the student. It will be like putting a band-aid over a wound far too big; helpful perhaps, but not really a solution.
So what is the deeper connection?
The Deeper Connection Between Fun and Learning
It is simple. The result of learning is:
- New skills
- Greater confidence
- More security
The result of our learning something new is supposed to be fun.
This fact is largely why our techniques work. They are putting the process of learning in alignment with a deep human truth. When we learn we are expressing a deep human need and exercising our greatness. When we learn we are doing what we know subconsciously we are supposed to be doing. And when we put our actions in alignment with those needs, it makes us happy.
The result of learning is deep fun, enjoyment and satisfaction.
Too often we forget this, both as students and as teachers. Learning is fun.
Perhaps this article helps you understand why the best trainers seem to make the learning process fun and engaging. Perhaps now you understand why you use those types of ideas. Perhaps you even see ways you could teach coworkers, peers and your kids things more effectively.
We hope so.
But our real hope in sharing this article with you is that you think about your personal experiences and beliefs about learning.
This deeper connection between learning and fun matters to us; and not just because we might be teaching someone else – but because we are learners too.
And we’ll be more effective learners, more productive learners and more successful in our lives when we recapture the joy and yes, fun that inherently comes from learning new things.
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What separates those who succeed and those who live their lives feeling that things could have been better?
Ask any truly successful person why they achieved and they will all tell you they had a dream, a vision for their future. Those who are successful leaders have been able to share that dream with others with such conviction that they have convinced others to join them on their quest to achieve that dream.
Can anyone achieve their dream? Having a clear strategy can help you make your dream a reality. It isn’t rocket science, or magic. Take the following steps and fulfill your dream. Make it your reality.
The first step is to understand that in order to achieve success you must take action. Inertia is the most common reason for lack of success!
What is your dream? Your goals for the future? What do you want to achieve in your life in the next week? month? year? 5 years? What would you like people to remember you for after you have left this world?
Think big – challenge yourself. Reach for the stars!
Be clear about where you are now. Audit your strengths and areas for development
What needs to be done to eliminate the gap between your dream and the reality?
- Prioritize. Don’t just look for quick wins, consider those things which will have maximum long term impact. Build solid foundations, think of sustainability!
- Set challenging but realistic targets. Aim high.
- Communicate your vision, and keep doing so. Ensure that all stake holders understand and subscribe to the same vision.
- Who do you need to involve? How will you ensure they sign up to and stay committed to the vision?
- Think about the language you use, be sure to sound positive, if others think you are confident it can be achieved they will gain confidence too. Develop a “I can do it” mentality within your staff. For every problem there is a solution, encourage others to see themselves as problem solvers not problem givers.
- Create clear lines of communication which operate at every level and in all directions.
- Break each priority down into small achievable steps, involve your team. Who needs to do what by when? Set a timetable.
- Identify the roles and responsibilities for all staff; ensure that staff take ownership of their work.
- Ensure that people are appropriately trained and that training is constantly updated.
- Build in the monitoring and review process from the start so you can evaluate performance and be prepared to adjust as necessary. (By creating a culture of development rather than blame huge potential will be released.)
- Celebrate success! and remember to thank people for their contribution, give credit where it due and be generous with it.
- Develop professional honesty within your staff, constructive feed back can be invaluable.
Finally leave your ego behind as it will simply get in the way of your success.
This article is designed to provide valuable guidance for you — entrepreneurs, executives and business leaders – involved in mindfully leading the strategic direction of your lives and businesses.
For all of us, emotional intelligence encompasses five basic areas of mastery. They are:
- Knowing your feelings and using them to make life decisions you can live with.
- Being able to manage your emotional life without being hijacked by it — not being paralyzed by depression or worry, or swept away by anger.
- Persisting in the face of setbacks and channeling your impulses in order to pursue your goals.
- Empathy — reading other people’s emotions without having to be told what they are feeling.
- Handling feelings in relationships with skill and harmony – being able to articulate the unspoken pulse of a group, for example.
The scope of these skills means there is indeed room for all of us to learn, grow, and improve. There is a lot to learn here. Learning about emotional intelligence, learning about the tools for energy efficiency; that’s only the beginning. It’s like reading all the books on flying and small plane piloting. You then have the theory mastered, but you have no hands-on practice. It’s only with practice that we gain mastery of anything. That’s true of our feelings and emotions too!
How do you address so many broad areas?
- Assessment Tools are a great way to learn to identify your emotions.
- Energy Efficiency Tools are invaluable in helping you tap into inner wisdom and resources to manage your emotions and understand what the best choices are when you are making life decisions.
- Persistence can be learned. In fact, providing challenges to children, to give them an opportunity to develop persistence and perseverance, is intrinsic to many cultures. Goal-Setting and the 6 Most-Important-Things List are just two tools you can apply immediately.
- Developing empathy is powerful in critical business situations like sales calls, closings, your management style, etc. Using your energy efficiency tools will allow you to pay attention to your instincts in this area instead of second-guessing yourself.
- Once you learn to be the leader and custodian of your feelings, it becomes an easy habit to apply in any business or personal relationship.
Mastery of all the basics does not occur overnight. But with practice it comes very quickly – just like learning to ride a bicycle. Once you experience how it’s “supposed to work”, how energy efficiency is “supposed to feel”, it’s easier and easier to reestablish in a variety of circumstances. That’s where mastery is achieved. That’s where you and everyone in your business benefit from your mastery.
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This short article will show you why taking delight in the people you lead is a powerful, albeit seldom used, leadership tool. However, delight should be manifested only when three principles are put into play.
Leadership entails getting results, and getting results entails human relationships. The more closely the people and the leader bond, the more results will usually accrue.
However, most leaders and the people they lead look at those relationships as a one-way street: charismatic leaders being commonly defined by sentiments bestowed on them from the people. But great leadership is really a two-way street, also involving sentiments going from the leader to the people…
We never know how good we are as leaders until we are delighting in the people we lead and, through that delight, leading them to get continually better results while they become continually better as leaders and as people.
To use this tool properly, three things must be kept in mind.
1. Delight must happen within the context of high results-expectations. In your delight, don’t be hampered by the bigotry of low expectations. Delight in your people not just for what they want to do but what you challenge them to do. After all, leadership is not about having people do what they already want to do. If they already did what they wanted, you wouldn’t be needed as a leader. Leadership is about having people do what they may not want or feel able to do and be committed to doing it.
2. Delight must be truthful. Don’t try to manipulate people through your delight. When the circumstances call for it, you must be able to be brutally honest. Honesty is a leadership lesson: have people see themselves as they should and need to be seen, not as they want to be seen. If your honesty helps your people become better at what they do, it is eventually accepted and even welcomed.
3. Delight must be practical. Always link the delight you find in your people with lessons learned in accomplishing jobs, missions and best practices that came from the lessons. Your delight isn’t meant to have people feel good about themselves alone but to motivate them to take actions to be continually better. In that striving to be better and, getting better in the striving, you and your people will bond. Clearly, there will be challenges along the way; but through it all, there is, in the back of most minds at least, the compulsion not to let a good leader down — and not to let each other down.
You may not have thought about delight as a leadership tool, but it is one of the most effective because it goes right to the heart of getting results through the strengthening of right relationships. Keep these three factors in mind when expressing your delight, and your leadership will be blessed daily with new opportunities.
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