There has been a long running discussion about what Leadership is:
Some would feel that it is the ability of the few-given at birth by some choice of a raffle wheel.
Some would suggest that if your parents took you under their wing at an exceptionally early age and gave you special training and mentoring then you would automatically show leadership traits.
Still others would say that anyone could learn to apply the skills of Leadership to their life and apply them in their day to day activities.
Interestingly there is probably some truth in all of these, however, none of them are the only way.
Yes your genes, your DNA, your experience in a past life, (if you want to go there) may have certainly started you out well equipped for a life of Leadership ability.
Your parent early on in life could similarly have given great example, introduced you too the correct role models, encouraged you in the skills that go to make a great Leader.
However, even if both of these were missing, the ability to become a Leader is not lost. There are countless examples of people in history who had absolutely none of the first category of being born a leader, nor the second category of being mentored as one. Yet became important critical Leaders in their neighborhood, their business, their country.
What they did have was the desire to be the best person that they could be. The willingness to do whatever was necessary to be that person. The discipline it would take to keep working at being the best they could be, even when it was a hard task.
All of this is motivated by a desire to be an objective person. One who cares for others and desires to nurture them and also the desire to serve. All genuine Leaders are out to serve their fellow humans in the belief that this will bring about the best outcomes.
There are skills in learning how to implement the art of leadership. There are really not very hard at all. However, the desire to implement them has to be there.
Are you truly serious about becoming the Leader that you have the potential to be. Let me know. I may be able to help you. The results could be astronomical.
In the list of traits of great leaders that Facebook friends suggested another was “Unwavering Vision”.
I agree wholeheartedly with this suggestion, I will add a little rider later.
In conventional coaching language, Goals would come close to covering this. However, there is more to unwavering vision than just goal setting.
This is all about having such strong vision, such strong goals that the focus never strays from where one is going.
The image that pops into my head is that of a GPS system. You set the destination to which you are heading, then the GPS begins and continues to issue directives that are totally focused on getting you from where you are to where you want to go.
In fact it is so unwavering that if you err slightly the voice will let you know and begin issuing directives to bring you back on track.
A great Leader needs to be absolutely sure of where they want to go. This may require a large amount of interaction with all the key stakeholders, a large amount of research, checking out all the possibilities and options, fine tuning choices till finally a single choice has surfaced as the goal for which to strive.
Another issue which many overlook is the need to know where you are starting the journey from. Until that is known, there is no way of setting the GPS, of plotting the course. The two critical things that go hand in hand are where are you starting from and where are you heading to.
Unless you know both the GPS cannot be set, the journey cannot be defined and created step by step.
To have unwavering Vision it needs to be defined and there needs to be a surety that this is truly where you need and want to be heading. Unless there is that surety, that certainty, then there may definitely be a lack of commitment.
It is very hard to follow a leader who is forever changing their mind about where they are heading.
One comment I said I would come back to is the only downside about “unwavering”.
What happens if somewhere along the way their arises an awareness that this is not the correct direction, that the goal needs to be redefined.
It is useless putting time and effort into a goal, if it becomes obvious that it is no longer the correct goal.
Steven Covey’s “wrong forest” comment in his Seven Habits book illustrates this. If you are heading in the wrong direction them working harder, working longer will not get you there.
In my model there is a constant requirement of checking in to see that the direction we are going is truly still where we want to go.
Part of this is feedback, part is regular assessments, another part is truly listening to all comments and assessing their validity in relation to vision defined and actual vision required.
All effort was initially invested in defining the vision, however as new light is shone on the vision it is more than possible, after discussion and consideration, that the vision may need to be redefined.
As long as there is a proviso for revisiting the original vision, checking to be sure it truly represents where you want to go and being humble enough to admit you got it wrong and being willing to redefine it, then “Unwavering Vision” is truly a powerful trait of great leaders.
How well have you defined where you want your life, your business to head? How well have you assessed and defined exactly where you are at this moment?
Unless you have seriously worked on both of these equally, you may have issues of wasting a whole lot of time, energy and money heading down a dead end track.
If you haven’t then your leadership is being called into doubt. Be sure you have done what is needed so that you can lead with Unwavering vision.
Call me if you need to do some work on this. 61 (0 in Oz)419 701 608
During last week I watch the DVD of “Robin Hood”.
I had put off getting this DVD because I ad heard doubtful comments about it.
They were wrong.
It was a powerful movie with a great deal of memorable occasions in it.
Even more though it characterized a variety of Leadership styles.
I have chosen the trait of integrity as this was a common theme.
According to the first definition I found on Google, Integrity is “The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.”
Wikipedia says this is hard to define because moral principles are subjective.
However there are some generalisations of the definition. In western society there is a broad understanding of what moral principles and moral uprightness requires.
In Robin Hood, Robin himself, answers King Richard, the Lion heart, honestly when asked, the King reneges on his promise, Honesty and keeping one’s word are truly a part of integrity. In this incided, Richard did not show integrity.
King John, Richard’s brother who inherited the throne is even more lacking in integrity.
The character of Robin Hood is painted as showing great integrity.
1. Going out of his way to keep the promises that he has chosen to make.
2. Being a person who sees the injustice, greed and inconsistency of many of the players who come from the side of politics, religion and royalty.
3. Being a person who is compassionate and understands what it is like to suffer.
4. Being someone who does not use his power primarily for his own purposes, but for the good of all. He did use subterfuge to get back to England, however, he attached it to a promise that he made to get the crown home. Profit is acceptable as long as no one is disenfranchised.
5. He does not take advantage of Marion, even though he has been virtually given permission to.
It seems that it could be said that the whole story has been written to contrast the integrity of the political and Royalty of the 11th Century BCE with Robin Hood’s integrity.
I believe the picture has done this well. Like Braveheart from a Scottish perspective. These movies portray aspects of history that could have been completely different if the powers that be had shown a much greater level of integrity in the way they dispensed the Law and Justice.
To me I believe that Integrity come high up on the list of traits, very close to actually be number one.
What are your thoughts? Let me know.
Following on from last weeks post on the first trait of a great Leader. Today’s trait is passion.
All great leaders show an incredible belief, a drive that is overpowering. Their motivation is unstoppable. They eat sleep and breath their major focus. They are passionate.
There is an awareness that “there is no way the world could exist without this”.
Passion does not emanate from left hemisphere thinking, it is not logical, analytical, structured or controlled. Rather it has a high emotional drive associated with it.
This kind of drive defies logic. The logical mind has a great deal of challenge dealing with anything that is passionate. We ask, “how can someone be so driven that they would override standard rules”? “Why would someone work 18 hours a day on some silly project”? How come someone would be willing to keep changing the way things are done in the search for their dream”?
Passion drives us on when we have reached the point of giving up on a project, yet somehow still keep working on it with a renewed vigor.
Passion has us continue to work through the challenges of a project when, no matter how many hurdles we have jumped, we are always ready and enthusiastic to jump the next one and the next one, knowing that sooner or later we will reach our goal. We will achieve.
The journey to achieve the impossible has been inspired by passion. Interestingly enough, if the passion is great enough, somehow, the impossible becomes attainable.
Without passion there is a temptation to give up so much sooner. Somehow, the limitations are accepted much easier if there is no passion in the mix.
The passion to achieve an Olympic medal can drive an athlete to achieve above and beyond the realm of usual achievement.
You are a Leader. How passionate are you? Do you inspire both yourself and those you lead to look within and achieve above and beyond the standard response?
Do you inspire those you lead to look deep within themselves and find that extra that they were unaware was there?
The beauty of this is that when trait two, passion, is linked with trait one, humility, we can see that the great leader is so totally focused on task at hand that there is no ego drive involved, the total energy focus is on empowerment, not on self aggrandizement.
Passion powerfully focused nurtures others, it encourages others, it excites others, the dream is caught, owned and acted upon.
Passion is contagious.
How passionate are you about the tasks you are involved in. If not, as Zig Ziglar said, “Maybe you need a check up from the neck up”. Maybe you need a coach who will work with you to assist you to find and name you passion?
Drop me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org
The other week I posted a question on Facebook asking what people believed were the traits of a good leader.
I received six responses which was great.
They were: humility, passion, unwavering vision, integrity, ability to lead and inclusiveness.
Each of these has very good value.
The first one mentioned is humility.
One of the biggest challenges for people working in an organization is to have a manager, an overseer, a leader who is so caught up with looking good, impressing their next level of management, needing to affirm that they know it all.
Especially when they know for certain that the decisions the person is making are totally focused in the wrong direction.
It is a bit like watching the majority of politicians of all persuasions and from most countries, so caught up in looking good, sounding definitive, appearing in control, creating assurance, yet as the observer, it being so easy to see through the bluff, through the BS, the waffle, the half truths spoken in hope, the “fingers crossed” proclamations that rely on no-one calling them to task. Their inability to admit to making a mistake.
A bit like proclaiming that black is white and then when someone categorically points out that black is black and white is white, stating that they never really meant that black was white and how they had been misrepresented.
Elusive in their dealings with the truth!
I would place this trait of humility high on the agenda. When someone is humble, there is an honesty about them. There is no BS. What you see is what you get.
If there is a stuff up, then the humble leader will acknowledge what has gone wrong. If there is misunderstanding then the humble leader will be totally open to re-expressing the concern so all understand.
Humility stands high on the requirement list for a leader. As a leader where do you stand on that specific trait? Can you in all honesty admit to being humble?
Probably for the first time this year I actually watched a game of Rugby League.
People have been talking about how Darren Lockyer, who plays for the Brisbane Broncos, truly is a great footballer.
This may be true, however, the greatest awareness that even though he is a great player, he is an even greater leader.
As I watched, I became aware that he is a low key leader, there did not appear to be any need to gain support for his leadership style, rather, he committed 100% to the task in hand and trusted everyone else in the team, they appeared to rise to the occasion inspired by his trust and belief in them.
He appears to understand himself exceptionally well, with a real control of his emotions. No show of emotion at all. No matter what mistakes his players may have made he appeared to be constantly affirming them to get up and move on. “No use crying over spilt milk”, so to speak. There appeared to be nothing in the way of rebuke.
Urging? yes. Empowering? yes. Totally in the present moment with the whole team. The sort of magic that freed his team members to know they are part of something bigger than themselves, yet at the same time be able to make independent decisions that would benefit the whole.
This awareness came to a head when he sustained an injury to his face. He lay dazed for a moment, then sat up assessing what had happened. He could be seen testing his bite and holding his cheek. he then runs, slowly to begin with, increasing in speed by the moment, to get back into the game. Once back he gets straight into the job in hand, affirming to the rest of the team that it was business as usual.
There was no show of anger, frustration, despair or even sadness. No, it was an objective assessment, a decision, then back into it.
The game reach full time as a draw. Extra time was called with a first to score being the winner process.
It was interesting as there seemed to be a “Leadership by Osmosis” process in place. The belief in the team players to know exactly what to do paid off as they positioned themselves to give Darren a shot at field goal. He took it and scored.
They won the game.
The servant leader style of leadership where’ “this is not about me” awareness was shown is massively empowering.
It created such a belief among the players that they all worked totally as individuals, yet totally as one. Each giving themselves to the total good.
I could not help think about so many businesses that could do well to exemplify this style of leadership.
Businesses that cannot work out what it is that does not bring out the best in their workers. That cannot see that the Boss, the Leader is the one who sets the tone.
That if the Boss, CEO, Manager does not show that they care deeply for each and every member of their organisation, ahead of caring for themselves, then the organisation will struggle with apathy, lack of commitment and higher than usual turn over of staff.
It was a great experience to see this example of how to run a successful business using a great leadership style being played out in a game. And being played out so obviously to me.
Checkout your organisation or business. If it is not running like a well oiled machine then checkout your leadership style. That will be what is creating the difference.
The great awareness is that you can change your style, “If you want to”.
So if you want to but don’t quite know where to start, email me, no matter where you are. I would love to be part of your journey.
How well can you answer the question: “Who are you?”
Not: Who would you like to be?
Not: Who do you think you are?
Not: who do I want everyone to think I am?
No: Who are YOU?
Objectively — What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What is you “shown” side and your “shadow” side?
Each of my clients-before I see them for the first time is asked to do two personality assessment. DISC and Enneagram. The reason why these two and not the many others is another future post.
They give me an in depth awareness of how–through a series of questions that you answer– you are seeing the world at this moment.
They do not define you. All they do is tell me how things are at this moment. 12 months ago or in 12 months time the result could be different.
I then get you to look at the summary of awareness that your answers have suggested is you at this moment and ask you in what you have read:
How much do you recognize of you and are happy with?
How much do you recognize of you and are not happy with?
How much would you like to recognize but can’t?
How much do you not recognize and are glad that you can’t?
This is the process of getting to know “who you are”.
In “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves“, the queen had a magic mirror that she was able to ask about who was the most beautiful in the land. It usually answered that she was but once Snow White was old enough it gave her the honest answer. Her step daughter, Snow White was.
How willing are you to allow your mirror to talk back to you and give you an honest answer?
If you asked it: How good a listener am I? How caring am I? How open to ideas am I? How easily do I lose my temper? How arrogant am I?
Would you be open to the answer that the mirror would give you?
To be a good leader one needs to listen to the mirror.
All Leaders definitely need a mirror. Someone to help them to come to terms with what the rest of the world sees when it looks at them.
As a coach I facilitate, for leaders, this process, as the starting off point for learning truly how to be a good leader.
If I may be so blunt as to ask this question: “Do you truly know who YOU are?
If you can’t answer in all honesty yes, then we need to talk.
Drop me an email. Respond to this post. Don’t waste any time.
The rest of the world sees you as you are. You are the only one who may not.
Get some certainty that you are projecting to the world the message that you say you are projecting.
Make sure who you think you are is how others actually see you.
At the risk of seeming as though I had caught Religion. I would like to suggest that many ideal Leaders I am aware of from material I have read are people like Jesus, Buddha, Nelson Mandela, Victor Frankl, Martin Luther King Jnr,
All people who have been able to come to terms with who they truly are. The BS aspect of their lives has been put aside. They are totally honest about who they are, what you see is what you get. There are no games played, they are totally transparent. No agendas.
This attribute is spiritual, it is to do with ones essence. The very fiber of a persons being.
When one is willing to be totally open and vulnerable, all pretense, out of the way, then the ground work has been laid to get incredible movement i whatever organisation on is in.
There is a downside to this as there are a large number of people within organisations who have a vested interest. Their cards are held close to their chest rather than laid openly on the table. One never knows what is going on in this groups head. They are a closed book, rather than an open book. They have too much to lose by being open and vulnerable.
Forgetting about this group, who will hold growth back due to hidden agenda, let us move onward with those who are open to finding the best solution, no matter what.
There are many of them, however, they are sometimes conspicuous by their apparent absence. Apparently absent because the ones who make the biggest noise are up front.
There is a quote that says, “Self praise is no recommendation”, yet we are massively influenced by those who make the loudest noise, who demand our attention, who proclaim loudly that they are the answer to our concerns.
The onslaught is so loud that it drowns out or ability to think for ourselves, it is so well languaged, in NLP terms, that it is extremely hard to refute. Yet if we can get away from the pressure and ask ourselves about the innocence of the comments we may see that the BS meter is running at 100%.
Truly spiritual leaders are those who have no agenda, no registration on the BS meter. They are those who truly have the well being and good of others as their highest ideal.
To me, the only way to do this is to be able to cut through our own BS. To stop fooling ourselves that our ego drive is in other peoples best interest.
When I can genuinely care for someone else by being 100% committed to listening to them and seriously hearing what they are saying. Then assist them to work out what they truly would see as best for themselves. Then I have become a spiritually focused person, truly seeking the good, not caught up in agendas.
The Jesus’s, the Buddha’s, the Nelson Mandela’s, stayed focused on what was truly best for all. The love that issued forth so that there was no judgement, no agendas, only acceptance, allowed them to be open to the best possible answer available.
A true Leader is in exactly the same position, There is no agenda, the good of the organisation, whilst balanced with the good of all those who have an interest in the organisation, is their highest value, this is found by listening, being open, meditating to step outside of ones own agendas.
I heard of a study where the difference in leadership was denoted by the depth of interaction that occurred between all the players. The 1990’s MBWA process. (Management by Walking About). Talking to all the key stakeholders, eliciting their perception, hearing what they thought and felt, and then taking action that represented that variety of input.
The more comfortable one is with oneself. The more open one can be to getting feedback about how they have been received. The more willing one is to listening to other peoples perceptions about what is going on. Then the more one is truly in touch with ones inner peace.
This is what being spiritual as a Leader is.
There was a time in my life when I truly believed that all I had to do as a leader was to have the answer to the questions I was being asked. What do I do here? Go and do such and such!. End of story. I even thought that as long as I kept people happy with directions as to how to do life then they would appreciate me.
I came unstuck early in life when at 12 years old, I attempted to tell the kids around my area, (I lived in a large block of flats with a lot of open space and numerous families surrounding our flats), as they gathered to play cricket on our disused tennis court how they would do it, guess what, they all knew better, even though I knew my idea was better than theirs and it was their solution to their issue.
It was suddenly back to the drawing board. I had not even found out if they had a problem with how they would play their game. (I always volunteered to keep the score), So what is it that I could do to help? Maybe if I asked what was the issue.
So I did. They told me what was going on. I asked some questions around what I heard. They answered those questions, I thought and asked more questions.
Obviously I had thought I knew what their issue was and got it wrong. So I needed to find what their issue was and as I wasn’t able to second guess it, then I needed to put a far greater effort in having them define it for me.
That process was a lot slower and a lot more frustrating, however it was a lot more successful. It achieved what I had not been able to achieve.
I could work at giving people the answer to their problem, as I saw it, or I could seek to find just what the problem was that they had.
Funny, in so many case I have now been involved in, the answer was the same. What then was the difference?
I was a bit of a slow learner, however, I finally realised that the person who had the issue seemed to feel happier when they came up with the answer themselves. They also seemed far more committed to making it work whenthey believed it was their solution. So I learned to let them and in fact complemented them when the Ah ha moment arrived.
This was the beginning of my journey. When I realised that people responded better to their own contemplations of the problem that to my telling them what they needed to do.
Some 50 years later I found that this is the essence of coaching. The consultant and sometimes the therapist come in and tell one how to run the business, how to solve the problem, basically how my answers will deal with your issue, even though I have no idea what the real issues are.
Rather, the question asks, tell me about your issue? How is it truly an issue for you? It then goes on to ask questions about how else is it an issue for you, searching to find how this issue can truly cause you a problem.
It then searches for how, you may consider, the problem could be dealt with. Challenging the client to stretch at finding possible responses to the issue. looking at those responses and contemplating the value of each considered response.
By a process of elimination and brainstorming, somewhere, the real answer to the issue appears to turn up, out of nowhere.
It didn’t turn up out of nowhere really. I turned up within the process of searching ones own data base and being willing to be open to the searching process.
Rather than be driven by the fear of not knowing what to do. There was an openness, a vulnerability, to allow oneself to be in a searching role but not yet have an awareness of what the answer may look like.
This is the creative role, the leadership role. To be willing to sit within the space of not knowing. Not needing to answer any questions. Just being open to the realisation that the answer will arrive, as long as we are faithful to the process and to trust it, letting go of any desire to control the outcome.
Sometimes very hard to sit there and shut-up when others started solving the problem that I believed I was the one who had the answer to it.
My response. Let it happen, after checking if there were ways I might be able to be involved.
I had achieved the miracle. I now saw a Leader in a different light. A new role, to facilitate, empower, stretch people to come up with their own solutions.
Interesting when this happened, I could actually take a breather because I was no longer needed to be the person who had to have all the answers. I could delegate to others and forget about the issue until they reported in later.
One of the last businesses that I led was one where we were all leaders, sharing the roles, bouncing ideas off each other, all coming up with ideas, all taking responsibility for where we were heading. It was really quite fun.
I have sat painfully observing so many Leaders both in business and government.
My observation is that they believe the process of Leadership is just being able to strongly claim that they have the answer and tell people to follow it.
There is little consideration as to what other peoples point of view may be, except to rubbish it because it is not like theirs.
The polarity style of Leadership appeared to work somewhere in the past. On deeper study of history it probably only worked because those who were pushing thier particular point of view, riding rough-shod over large numbers, were also writing the history.
As long as I tell the story about what happened, I can explain how those silly people who did not follow orders, ended up being removed.
In 1969, I was dismissed from my role as assistant priest in a Queensland Parish when I disagreed with the authority who told me I needed a haircut. I and numerous others did not believe I did, or that it was the authorities role to dictate that.
That is minor compared to the narrow minded and bigoted beliefs that influence so much of the leadership directions of government and business officials.
Here we are, in a time in history, where we consider that so many people are exhibiting enlighten behaviour, contemplating others best interests, working for the good of humanity. Whilst we are experiencing such incredibly strong influences of negative influence.
United States of America houses of government unable to work an intelligent response to the financial crisis that years of turning a blind eye, (on both sides), has created.
All sides so strongly claiming their perception is right and therefore any other perception must be wrong. No one seems willing to point out and no one seems to want to listen anyway, that a perception is just that, a perception. They are only individual subjective points of view, forged in the initial cradle in which we were nurtured, habits of history.
Yet we are seduced by the person who comes on strongest with their definitive belief in their perception. Somehow we are attracted to the one who speaks in a god-like manner with great surety.
With my study of Logic at high school I saw that when what were called the Logical fallacies were used in debates, somehow, people were able to be convinced of the rightness of a issue, even though on fuller examination the presentation was seen to be fallacious.
I have more recently seen presenters of the ilk of Tony Robbins and Christopher Howard, just to mention a couple amongst many, bring a whole room into rapport and then sell to the people in that room, things they may have not purchased when not in rapport. NLP can be used a tool for good, it can also be used a manipulative tool.
However, we a willing to sit mesmerised by the highly definitive leader who tells us exactly what we need and, interestingly enough, we will accept, without question in many instances, exactly what he tells us. Even we disagree, we will only express our disagreement to the TV or radio, not out in public.
I have just found an article on Wellbeing Magazine’s Web site entitled Narcissism . Rather interesting as it is looking at a similar area of interest.
My main focus, as a person who works with businesses and individuals who are searching for how they can grow their business through growing their Leadership, is to get these organisations or individuals to search just what is true Leadership.
Is it to get people to follow, along the lines of the “Pied Piper of Hamelin“, blindly in whatever direction we want them to go. Or is it more. Or could it be more.
I believe true leadership is to empower ownership of the project by all the key stakeholders in such a way that they are working as a team to produce whatever they are all involved in producing in a most effective and efficient way, gaining as much input from all players so that it is truly democratic, that is 100% acceptable, as opposed to political democratic which is 50.1% acceptable.
What kind of leaders are you? Do you manage to get all the ducks to line up and fit into the direction in which you want people to go? Or are you open to looking at a variety of options with an open mind, searching, working at finding the best possible action, at this moment, to go with, whilst keeping open the possibility that new awareness’s may arise.
Ask yourself the question. What kind of Leader am I? and the question that asks, can I do it better? How open are you to looking at your Leadership style?
Message me if you wish to go further in your search to be the best you can be in the Leadership arena.