Great Leadership Is Not For The Faint Hearted

"All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership."
John Kenneth Galbraith, U.S. economist, "The Age of Uncertainty"

 

 

The illusion of outstanding leadership is it looks easy. Yet behind the scenes, leaders grapple with complex scenarios, unclear situations, undefined possibilities, and regular risks. It is not an easy job....and it is a very satisfying job for those who are willing to put in the hard work, effort, and personal growth necessary to define new roads forward. Leaders who shine have the ability to step into the tension to understand a situation and let go of "what is the right way" and search for the "best way". They have a honed skill to not focus on who is "right or wrong" but to focus on what is the path forward that creates a new flow for all involved.

To do this it requires the core...

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Impactful Leadership

"Some people strengthen our society just by being the kind of people they are." John W. Gardner

Perhaps the most challenging exercise of authentic leadership is the coming home to self. To remember that embracing yourself, having confidence in your way of learning, and being are enough. When a leader is in the strength of who they are and are true to their nature they thrive and are able to make significant impacts with their work just by being themselves.

The only thing that gets in the way of all of this is ego. The ability to be self aware and self manage allows leaders to constantly stretch, grow and adapt.

“The Tao Te Ching says,
When I let go of what I am,
I become what I might be.
When I let go of what I have,
I receive what I need.
Have you ever struggled to find work or love,
only to find them after you have given up?
This is the paradox of letting go.
Let go, in order to achieve. ” – M. M. Morrissey

Each day leaders have the ability to impact others in a way...

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Creating Strategy in Leadership

“What do you want to achieve or avoid? The answers to this question are objectives.
How will you go about achieving your desire results? The answer to this you can call strategy.” William E. Rothschild

The ability to have a vision and build a strategy to move into the vision is one of the core necessities of leadership. Often I am asked can this be taught or is it born. And it turns out it is neither. It is a commitment to "step out of the day to day" and look objectively and with new eyes at the world around you. This ability is what builds strong and vibrant leaders and like wise organizations.

For leaders who spend time gaining new experiences, trying new hobbies, learning new concepts and skills outside their day-to-day, and practices putting themselves in others shoes....strategy is easy and fun. These leaders provide bold and strong growth.

For leaders who tend to stay with like minded people, are surrounded by people who do not question or explore their thinking,...

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Vitality of Leadership

“There is a vitality,
a life force,
an energy,
a quickening,
that is translated through you into action,
and because there is only one of you in all time,
this expression is unique.”

Martha Graham

Leadership is made up of many components that have been studied by the greats. One of the key components is physical vitality and stamina. When you see positive leaders which energize an organization and have the keen ability to influence people .....you see an "aliveness" that captures the minds and spirits of others.

So does this mean you have to be fit like Lance Armstrong or Serena Williams?

No. It does mean that you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle to make sure you are engaged and energized in role as a leader. An equal part of vitality is having passion and finding the pieces in your role that create excitement, energy and aliveness which translates well into your organization.

Related: Goal Review as a Leader

Key Attributes of a Leader

Here are key attributes of leaders...

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When To Release Control of Things in Leadership

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Every executive who moves into their personal best of leadership has the ability to shed control to the appropriate people. This is a difficult and important focus especially when shifts in economy and market require organizations to shift. While it may be important to rightsize and downsize it is imperative that this not be the control mechanism you use to lead or guide a team or company. The key to growth is to grow.... in order to do that it takes the ability to let go of old actions and move into the right activities to grow your organization.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

Related: Vision Planning as a Leader

Indicators it is time to let go:

No one can do it as well...

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When to Let Go as a Leader

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Every executive who moves into their personal best of leadership has the ability to shed control to the appropriate people. This is a difficult and important focus especially when shifts in economy and market require organizations to shift. While it may be important to rightsize and downsize it is imperative that this not be the control mechanism you use to lead or guide a team or company. The key to growth is to grow.... in order to do that it takes the ability to let go of old actions and move into the right activities to grow your organization.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

Related: The Do's and Don'ts of Commitment

Indicators it is time to let go:

No one can do it as...

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Quality Growth as a Leader Needs Creativity

"There are two ways of being creative. One can sing and dance. Or one can create an environment in which singers and dancers flourish."
Warren G. Bennis

There is no growth even in nature without planting new seeds. Successful leaders understand the common sense truth nature offers daily. If you want your team, organization and company to grow you have to create a cycle of new ideas, good environment, good management, and good marketing. Simple....yet somehow gets complicated with interesting notions.

Fear is the primary impediment of creativity and strong growth. Deming wrote of this with his point number eight "obligation of management" was to drive fear out of the organization. Fear of being fired, reprisals, losing status, or being different weakens the growth cycle of a company. Deming believed that quality, innovation, and creativity all required risk taking and the willingness to speak up.

How to grow the company as a Leader

Related: 5 Accountability Practices You Need as a...

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Clear Leadership

"The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective."
Warren G. Bennis

In a world where short term results are the measurement of success and the long term vision is not clear.....you lose the heart, talent and creativity of people.

To be a manager means to focus on "the tactics" of getting short term results. To be a leader means to move out the noise, problems and everyday fears so you and your team are moving to a better future.

This seems easy and it is quite hard because there are so many daily distractions and emergencies to pull you from that focus.

How to move into Leadership

Related: 8 Questions to Ask to Create Alignment

The easiest way to begin to move to leadership vs daily blocking and tackling is to:

*Allow others to do their job

*Know mistakes are learning opportunities

*You can't do everything

*Have "one clear focus" that will take yourself and your team to a better place

*Inspire those around you

*Keep the "one clear focus" for your team and...

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Constant Choice in Leadership

"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice." Wayne Dyer

This is one of the simplest statements and it is the hardest. The impact of this recession will be felt for a long time. The hard and easy part of being a leader during this time ....is to continue to be a leader in the face uncertainty and to maintain your motivation to move in a direction which may be unclear yet "feels right".

Feelings are taboo to speak of in leadership, business and organizations.....yet they are 'the secret sauce' of great leaders and are the source of our drive, the energy which moves us from common execution to uncommon excellence. It is the source which powers impactful leadership.

The important skill to learn is to differentiate between feeling and emotion. One is a source of great wisdom and truth and the later is to act out.

Feelings & Emotions in Leadership

Related: How to Move Past Analysis Paralysis

Here are some options to gaining clarity on your...

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Stepping Forward in Leadership

"Don't try, just be." Bobbie Goheen

Odd words for they seem in direct conflict with Yoda, who we all know is one wise gnome. And the truth of it is that the ability to move in the direction of your dreams and aspirations is directly related to your abilty to move, to make, to do...etc.

What gets in the way is the over thinking, over analyzing, over questioning...all which ulitmately fosters doubt and doubt inherently brings stasis.

Listening in Leadership is Key

Related: 4 Questions to Ask to Build Your Team

The ability to stay true to your nature, your call, your voice is the greatest practice you can have. Learning how to listen and follow is difficult because there is so much noise, fear, uncertainty and doubt about which holds all greatness back.

The practice "of being" requires making regular choices which are in alignment with you, listening to the inner critic with compassion, and staying true to the thrum which allows you to create in a way which is supportive of you and...

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