Do you know the Christmas story of three wise men from the east who followed a star to find the baby Jesus? The star they saw guided them to their destination. They were determined to get there because they had important gifts to present to Jesus. They wanted to make the journey. They followed a certain star, and delivered their gifts! Leaders also have very important gifts to deliver: gifts of good leadership to colleagues and followers who depend on that leadership to guide, support, and encourage them. The model of determination, commitment, and generosity that the wise men displayed is a motivating example for leaders to emulate year-round.
Choose the “best” response you can when you’re under pressure. Intentionally respond with the “best” in character. It pays off. Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible…” What do you believe about the importance of integrity and behaviors that flow from it? How do you know what best leadership is? There are three characters of response that always fall in the “best” category. Choose these three values when responding to any situation, and you’re on track for a better result.
Oh, the driving zeal of many leaders! Little rest seems normal—but what are the consequences when the leader’s passionate pursuit precludes appropriate rest? How can rest seem important when the need is pressing? Maybe this is the day you’re supposed to be honest with yourself about rest. After all, you’re reading this!
In our fast paced world where one may expect immediate and plentiful results, it is tempting to participate in this frenzy in the name of leadership. Energy runs high, motivation is strong, and a desire to succeed may dominate the leadership persona. Fatigue, exhaustion, and burnout may be “badges of honor” for those who abandon themselves to work. But does this type of obsession, without rest and care for one’s personal being, call for rewarding—or rebuking? Author Esther Schubert notes that leaders who give of themselves without appropriate rest say they “…sometimes feel like Garrison Keillor’s Catholic church in rural Minnesota—Our Lady of Perpetual Responsibility.”
George Bernard Shaw observed, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Don’t take for granted that your good intentions are clear! As we close out the second week of 2015, let’s pause to think about how well we are expressing our good intentions to those we lead.
Good Leaders Care
Good leaders care for others. We may think it’s a “given” that those we lead know our good intentions and perceive that we care about them. And, we may also assume that they, as employees or direct reports, care for colleagues and customers as well. No matter how strongly we believe that we are caring leaders or how well we think we communicate that idea—the message changes in significant ways as it journeys from our intentions to the recipients. It is transformed through the perceptions of each person to the point that in some cases our communication may not seem to relay care at all.
The show tune “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music is a popular holiday song penned in 1959 and still going strong! The song is about focusing on positive things in the midst of difficult times. Positive leadership focuses on positive truths when dealing with difficulty and adapting to a changing business environment. This year presented ample opportunities to practice positive leadership. Continued economic uncertainly stretched positive leaders in many industries to think of new ways to approach personnel management, productivity, sales, and innovation. Here are three of my favorite essentials for positive leadership in 2014. Continue reading
It seems that some leaders just think about themselves. Maybe you’ve experienced a leader—a boss, a committee chairman, or a dominant colleague—who seemed to care very little about you; his or her behavior was inconvenient, annoying, unprofessional or unethical. Think about this: Who was that leader serving? The person in the mirror, or someone else?
When you go through a typical day, is your personal leadership like looking in a mirror all day—constantly concerned with yourself, looking out for your best interest above others’? Or, are you looking out a “window” to focus on others? Does your personal leadership keep bringing you back to self-preservation and self-promotion? Or, does it help you think about ways to address others’ needs and concerns? Continue reading
Ahh, the aroma of her cookies in the oven was extraordinary! I didn’t get to see my grandmother very often, but I remember her chocolate chip cookies as a highlight of our visits to her home. The whole place felt cozy and inviting, and I felt like a special guest as she finished the last batch of the old fashioned recipe and served them warm. What a lasting and delightful memory!
There are behaviors in leadership that elicit “good feelings,” like grandmother’s cookies. Is there a leader that you enjoy working for or with—just because you like the way you feel when you work together? Continue reading