Today I am sending out the synopsis of a leadership presentation I did for the Chamber of Commerce a few weeks ago. Some people asked for it, and I hope it can be useful to others as well. A non-leader (which is most people) will tell you why they can’t do something; a leader will tell you how they are going to do it. There are always obstacles. A leader can see ways to overcome those obstacles and get past them, usually looking well into the future. I believe in things — what I am doing, what I care about — and these beliefs challenge me to step up and move forward. It demands that I do. When you believe in something, have a passion about it, it makes it much easier to do the work and pay the price to make it happen. Find what you believe in. Is it your family and the money you need to pay the bills? Is it your cause? Is it your clients, your customers, your faith? Leadership flaws:
- Character — Great will be the fall, not if, but when.
- Procrastinating — Waiting for a problem until it gets too big to fix without greater damage
- Not making a decision — Waiting for a problem to fix itself, sometimes works, most often doesn’t
- Control — Squashes the possibilities, the unknown outcome, the people you need for your own success
- Pride — About you instead of the cause, business, clients, etc., a recipe for eventual failure and unhappiness for all
LISTEN . . . TO EVERYONE. Ask your employees, coworkers, clients, family, spouse how you can help them be successful. I believe complex leadership principles and structures are almost worthless. Simple is best. If everybody can’t understand it, they can’t do it. It only adds frustration. Random thoughts about leadership:
- Rest. Tired people make bad decisions, or no decisions.
- Without leadership, we default to maintenance; maintenance defaults to decline.
- Leaders are always beginning something new, but they can finish what they start.
- Leaders begin their vision with a clear examination of reality.
- Leaders don’t let following the process become how they define success.
- Leaders understand success as defined by successful relationships.
- No one can be a successful leader until they learn to be a successful follower.
- If you are a boss, would you want to work for you?
- Are your behaviors and values at peace with each other?
- In a culture that defines personal value by success, we often learn the most about ourselves by failure.
- Never move ahead faster than your followers can follow.
- Design your business around the community; don’t make the mistake of trying to reach clients and customers that don’t exist. In our case, build the church around the community, yet centered in Christ and his mission.
- Permission giving can be an effective form of leadership.
- When you spend your energy on your complainers, you often have no energy for your builders.
- Passion about something changes what we do far more quickly than knowledge about it.
- To achieve success, you must first define it.
Tips for leaders my age: Where do you add the most value? Surround yourself with younger leaders. Take the spotlight off yourself. Stay current, stay curious, stay passionate. Develop new, different, fresh challenges. Every year in leadership requires another day off in the next year to refresh and recharge, just the opposite of what most leaders think and do. Elevate those coming up behind you; don’t be afraid of those who want to take your place. They don’t, they just want to have a place.