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.”
The email inbox was overflowing…again. Many messages to sort, responses to formulate, possible challenges to face. But right in the middle there was a rare jewel…a message of encouragement from a colleague. What a refreshing and positive boost! Leaders who take the time to serve others through positive encouragement are actually sharing joy—speaking out of their own well-being to uplift another.
Every one of us is a leader—we lead ourselves every day! Yes, leading the “self” is one leadership role that is inescapable. Not surprisingly, before you can effectively lead others, you must lead yourself. What is self-leadership? What can you do today to improve your self-leadership?
How many decisions do you make each day? According to studies of the human brain, the average adult makes over 30,000 decisions or choices daily! The choices range from almost automatic responses to conscious decisions over which one may labor. About 200 daily decisions are food related. University researcher Kathleen Vohs, PhD reports, “…simply the act of choosing can cause mental fatigue.” Studies of people who made many decisions early in the day show that the brain taxed with abundant decision-making will not perform as well in decision-making or other areas, like simple math, by the afternoon. Mental acuity will decrease until rejuvenation occurs. Nevertheless, it is unrealistic to think one can “call it a day” at noon! Even if mental ability is decreased, it’s still one’s responsibility to function for extended hours almost every day. How then can one make good choices leading to good outcomes—consistently? Willpower!
Our guest leadership expert for today’s edition of Leaders Alive! is Andrew Bryant co-author of Self Leadership: How to Become a More Successful, Efficient, and Effective Leader from the Inside Out. Join us today at 5:00 PM CDT on WJOB 1230 AM.
Self-leadership is the ability to influence yourself to think and behave in ways that are consistent with who you are and are conducive to the pursuit of goals and experiences that are important and relevant to you. Self-leadership requires (and helps you to get) that you have an idea of where you are going, so that everything else— your thoughts and actions— can serve that (or those) objective( s). With a toolbox composed of carefully designed strategies to keep you on track, self-leadership puts you on the path to live a more purposeful and fulfilling life, liberated from vain pursuits and worries, focusing on the one person whom you can really change in life— you— and by doing so, becoming someone who can influence others. Self-leadership is important for individuals because it allows them to live more authentic and fulfilling lives; it is also important to organizations because self-leaders are more motivated, productive, and creative (quoted from the Preface).
Self-leadership in Action
By Andrew Bryant
Self-leadership is at its simplest – the ability to influence yourself to achieve your objectives; and yet since writing the book Self Leadership with Dr. Ana Kazan (Mc Graw-Hill 2012) I have come to realize there are multiple self-leadership actions and applications.
Authenticity is a leadership requirement and a powerful factor when it comes to building trust. Self-leadership explains how you can develop your authenticity. When you are authentic, you are the author of your own life; this means you know what’s important to you (values) and what you want to achieve (intentions) and make choices in alignment with your values and intentions. Because the self-leader is aware of what’s important to them, and has healthy self-esteem and confidence, they can speak up.
Leaders and love go together. As a leader, do you love your followers?
Love is Critical to Successful Leadership
Love may seem like a “soft” concept because it is not a tangible skill. To the contrary, love is a strong, influential, and powerful aspect of leadership. Expressed in a variety of ways, depending on the circumstances, it is a key to successful leadership. A former player for football coach Vince Lombardi shared this sentiment about him: “I have never been so loved by someone outside my family. We all knew he would do anything for us…anything. We would go through walls for this man.” Coach Lombardi balanced his drive to win with unmistakable love. In doing this, Lombardi earned the right to drive his players hard. When you practice love, you are taking actions, which result in positive influences in peoples’ lives.
Leaders Follow: It’s about Leadership Development
The best leaders are also the best followers. This is true because becoming a leader is a developmental journey. Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges in their book Lead Like Jesus propose that leaders should follow a logical development from one level of leadership to the next. Good leadership starts with learning to lead oneself. The next level is one-on-one leadership. Then, the leader is ready to lead a team. Mastery of team leadership prepares the leader for organizational leadership. The largest scope of leadership influences society and culture. Sometimes people observe that a leader is “in over his or her head.” This situation can happen when a leader skipped a leadership level or failed to master the level of leadership that preceded the current role.