Leadership (or lack thereof or lack of knowledge on the subject) has become a significant topic in many recent discussions that I have been involved in. With the impending retirement of many leaders in business, church, government, economic development, and not‐for‐profit organizations (to mention a few), the subject deserves much discussion and training for those that will accept upcoming leadership roles. This will be my focus this year – teaching, training, passing on thoughts and ideas to help with this upcoming trend.
I have been reading the Maxwell Daily Reader for the past couple of years. It is written as a short daily insight into leadership and influencing those that you come in contact with. Pick up a copy of the book. I believe that young and well‐seasoned individuals that read through this will glean much knowledge.
- You have to start small and work up to it (leadership). St. Francis of Assisi said, “Start doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”.
- Don’t try to conquer the world until you’ve taken care of your backyard.
- Leadership rises and falls on communication. Be consistent, be clear and be courteous in your communication. Because you are a leader, your communication sets the tone for your interactions with people. The best leaders invite and encourage participation, and this should be a top‐down approach.
- Discernment is the ability to find the root of the matter, and it relies on intuition and rational thought (common sense). Your gut feeling should not be ignored, but that isn’t enough to make a decision. Discernment enables you to use both your gut and your head to find the best option.
- Character – What a person does when no one is looking – Jeff Banning. When Martin Luther King Jr. said he looked forward to the day when all Americans would be judged solely “by the content of their character,” he was talking about a person’s essential qualities. Essential Qualities / Character are what make good leaders.
- “The Law of Influence” – the true measure of leadership is influence. The proof of leadership is found in the followers. Why do some people become leaders and others don’t, there are several factors: character/who they are, relationships/who they know, knowledge/what they know, intuition/what they feel, experience where they’ve been, past success/what they’ve done, and ability/what they can do.
- “He who thinks he leads but has no followers is only taking a walk” – leadership proverb.
- Point out people’s strengths, not their weaknesses.
- Power of Focusing – what are your strengths, and do you utilize them and continue to improve them? Set your priorities and focus on your strengths.
- Being a good leader is navigating through the process. Good leaders draw on past experience, discern the cost before making a decision, listen and study multiple resources, and make sure that the decision enacted represents both faith and fact. One of the Bible verses I live by is Hebrews 11:1 – “Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.” At some point in your leadership decisions, it takes not only knowledge but a lot of faith.
- Leaders tell their team how important they are and keep them updated on the contributions that they have accomplished. Tell your teammates how valuable their input and efforts are. Also, be personable about your feelings as to why they are valuable to you personally.
- John Wooden said focus on the journey, not the destination. Remember what happens in you, not what happens to you, is what is most important. You can control your attitude, but you really have no control over others and their actions. The majority of fear and stress that people experience in life is from things that they can do nothing about. Don’t let that happen to you. Focus on things that you can do something about.
- Manage your attitude. If you are positive and cheerful, you will find that your attitude will be transformed to being positive. If you take responsibility for your attitude, then you can make your attitude your greatest asset. It can become the difference‐maker in your life, opening doors and helping you overcome any obstacle.
- The Law of Connection – The stronger the relationship you form with people, the greater the connection you forge. Good communication, knowing your audience, living your message, focusing on these relationships, believing in them, and offering direction and hope are just some of the characteristics of good leaders and leadership.