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.
Why do you approach your work a certain way? Why do co-workers approach work in ways that seem counter-productive to you? Our approach to work is guided by our personal priorities. Each person has priorities that rise to the forefront in thinking and behavior.
We find it easier to work with co-workers who share our priorities. After all, “they get it!” We may find it challenging and sometimes unpleasant to work with colleagues whose priorities differ from our own: “They just don’t get it!” If we had a way to better communicate our priorities to others and to better respond to the priorities of our co-workers, it would make our workplaces better! Communication would flow more freely and helpfully, productivity would increase, and people would be more fulfilled in their work. All of this would most certainly lead to a better financial bottom line. So let’s take a look at how to communicate better so that our workplaces and work outcomes are improved.
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.
Do you live for 5 p.m. when “work” is over and “life” resumes? Think again. Life happens at work, and more so than ever. Americans spend more time—living and breathing at work—than any other people on our planet. According to International Labor Organization research, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.” Financial advisor G.E. Miller reveals: “The U.S. is the most overworked developed nation in the world.” Facing the overwork reality, can we make business, or work, worth living? Our work investment of hours upon hours ought to be valuable and rewarding. But how?
Vivid autumn colors will soon burst forth across the Midwestern United States. Are you amazed by the shades of changing leaves, fall sunsets, and the harvest moon? But there’s more: it’s the season when nature dies around us. We see the grass turn brown; trees lose their leaves, and flowers dry up. It’s a transition to a barren time, a season when living things are dormant until spring brings life giving warmth and rain. Without the autumn death and the winter barrenness, the spring would not be filled with new life. Always welcomed as a time of new beginnings, fresh starts, and life; spring could not exist without the true beauty of autumn. This is nature’s illustration of the fundamental principle of death and dormancy in order to bring newness and life; it’s paramount for leaders. So then, leaders must die before they lead well? In a way, yes.
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.”
At WellSpirit we believe everyone has ability to pursue their vision, goals and dreams effectively. How that ability is developed is unique to each person. That’s why we approach coaching with a personally tailored mapping system and evaluation sequence to help you articulate what matters most to you; then facilitate concrete “next steps” that are relevant immediately, accomplishing measurable momentum towards results.
Want Success? Be Teachable
In leadership coaching, it is not unusual for a leader seeking guidance to say, “I can’t believe I’m asking about this issue. You’d think I could figure this out!” This is the fallacy: a leader should automatically know exactly what to decide/do/say in all situations. But here’s the thing: leaders don’t achieve success as isolated people who think they know it all. Every leader has limited knowledge. Consequently, there are moments when all leaders do not know immediately what is best for a particular challenge. Education and experience can prepare leaders well for leadership challenges. However, outcomes depend on how leaders use what they know along with what they are currently learning in each situation and how they relate with the people involved. This requires being teachable, inviting communication, and asking for strategic guidance.