In an interview, comedian Joan Rivers was asked how she stayed so thin and trim and the interviewer said, “Do you do a lot of exercising?” “Oh, my Lord no,” said Rivers. “If God had intended me to bend over, He would have put diamonds on the ground.”
When actress and screen writer, Mae West, was asked about dieting she said, “I never worry about diets. The only carrots I’m interested in are the carats in a diamond.”
Hungarian born American film and stage actress, Zsa Zsa Gabor said that she never hated a man enough to give him back his diamonds. And she received diamonds from 9 husbands.
Diamonds have been considered precious for centuries. Geologists say diamonds were formed billions of years ago deep inside the earth by tremendous heat and pressure. They have literally been around since the beginning of time and they will last through eternity. As the title to a popular James Bond movie states, Diamonds Are Forever, literally.
Even though they have been around forever, diamonds are rare and they are hard to find. They come to the surface of the earth during volcanic eruptions in a bluish substance called kimberlite.
To find these rough diamonds, you can search in the marshes, ponds, streams and lakes near volcanos that have erupted, or you can dig deep mines to find rough diamonds still inside the earth. However, you have to process about 22 to 100 tons of kimberlite to find one diamond. This makes a diamond very precious.
Each stone is unique and it takes a skilled technician to cut and polish the rough stone into the beautiful diamond that sells for thousands, even millions of dollars.
Application for the Charismatic Leader
Charismatic and savvy business leaders are rare. They are hard to find. Charismatic leaders are unique, each having their own facets of strength. They are precious because of the value they add to organizations. They become skilled technicians as they form, develop, and polish people into productive teams.
The four qualities of diamond you can put into your life to become a more charismatic leader are:
1. Diamond Hardness: Diamond is the hardest natural substance in nature. It is four times harder than the next hardest substance. It can cut through any other natural substance so it is used extensively in industry for drilling and polishing.
As a charismatic leader: When I ask you to emulate the hardness of diamonds, I DO NOT want you to be hard to get along with, I DO NOT want you to be hard on people; I DO NOT want you to be hard on yourself.
I do want you to equate the hardness of a diamond with being HARDY – self-determining and self-reliant. And TOUGH – tough enough not to fracture and break from the economic pressures faced in organizations today; tough enough to tell the truth; tough enough to cut through problems to solutions.
2. Diamond Clarity: Diamond has greater clarity or transparency than any other solid or liquid substance. The greater clarity in a diamond, the greater the value.
As a charismatic leader: We are going to translate this into clarity of purpose. The clearer you are on the goals of your organization, your own department or team, the greater impact you’ll have on daily productivity because work will be tied directly to results. Daily efforts bring you and your employees closer to successfully executing your organizational stewardship.
Clarity for your organization, department, unit or team comes from goals setting and time management processes. Do not feel this work is insignificant but give it the time it deserves.
3. Diamond Melting Point: Diamond has the highest melting point of any natural substance: 6422 degrees Fahrenheit.
As a charismatic leader: When it comes to relationships, have a high melting point and give others the benefit of a doubt. Work to raise the melting point of discussions and disagreements. Model for your employees the ability to Pause, Think, and then ACT. Not the reverse order: Act (often inappropriately), then pause and think. Your goal is to replace meltdowns with dialog.
4. Diamond Conductivity: Diamond conducts heat better than anything – five times better than the second best element that conducts heat, silver.
As a charismatic leader: The “heat” you need to conduct is positive energy and a belief in the future. On a daily basis I encourage you to be the conductor of optimism and hope. If you can be a positive leader, you will be as a beacon of light in the darkness.
These four qualities of the element diamond are fundamental for you to emulate in your leadership career. Master them, and your employees will WANT to follow you as they give you discretionary effort, a prize to be cherished by any leader.
About the author:
Karla Brandau is CEO of Workplace Power Institute. The Workplace Power Institute helps organizations be more competitive in the global marketplace by removing blocks to organizational productivity and improving collaboration. For more program information visit the web site: www.WorkplacePowerInstitute.com.
In an interview, comedian Joan Rivers was asked how she stayed so thin and trim and the interviewer said, “Do you do a lot of exercising?” “Oh, my Lord no,” said Rivers. “If God had intended me to bend over, He would have put diamonds on the ground.” Read More >Karla Brandau, Workplace Power Institute Articles
What if servant leadership had not been initially labeled servant leadership? How many times has this been pondered as this value-laden leadership concept evolved? And why does the name itself present an impediment for implementation, empirical researching, and overall comprehension? Could we not argue that the oxymoronic implication the terminology suggests has hindered the spirited and necessary debate within leadership, management and organizational behavioral circles, both academic and anecdotal, to nearly subjugate this important leadership theory to others such as transformational or authentic leadership?
This brief essay is not intended to offer substantiated results of exhaustive research that are based on testing terminologies and definitions in an effort to “poll”, if you will, labels that might be less controversial. But when most – at least in my experience – conversations about servant leadership begin with an obligatory and extensive discussion on the terminology itself rather than on the characteristics of the theory, it causes me to wonder what if our beloved founder, Mr. Greenleaf, had selected another term. Of course one could make the argument that a conversation on the definition of the term aids the overall explanation of the theory. But I will leave that debate for another day.
So what is it specifically about the term servant leadership that creates a barrier to further understanding? I believe that the challenges are primarily three-fold: the contradiction inherent in the term, the religious connotations that are implied and the lack of operational clarity offered by the theory’s title. I offer the suggestion that a slight adjustment to the theory terminology e.g. the name of it could open the door to further acceptance within the wider community.
Servant and its entomological cousin, service, by its very definition imply assuming an inferior position to a master or leader. Those who are either in positions of leadership or those who aggressively seek these offices (which causes its own set of servant leadership implementation issues) are immediately disengaged when they encounter passive terminology. How can one effectively and efficiently lead while taking an inferior posture. Moving past this initial barrier may be accomplished if the individual is able to transform servant into supporting or, better yet, into stewardship rather than focusing on the more stereotypical passive role of a servant.
Issues of faith are complicated within a standard corporate environment. Not only does their exist an intangible quality to one’s belief system that varies greatly across the world but also there are human resource and legal implications that have to be seriously considered which makes the discussion of religion taboo within most situations. The frequent use of the term servant within religious circles as well as the well-used example of Jesus Christ as the pinnacle of servant leadership has given the impression to many that servant leadership is strictly a faith based approach to leadership and may work in those arenas but not in a serious business environment.
Compounding this issue is the servant leadership community itself. There have been many academic programs that have emerged that teach servant leadership and have attempted to define the theory for future research. Many of these “centers” have emerged at faith-based institutions that teach the subject within a biblical context. Certainly there are moral parallels within servant leadership that align well with religious instructions but until the servant leadership community matures past “do these things because they are the right thing to do” and into demonstrating compelling, measurable increases in output; the theory will continue to remain primarily anecdotal.
Finally, the term does not provide implicit instructions on how to implement the style. Authentic leadership means to lead authentically. Transformational leadership means to lead by transforming. When our hypothetical corporate leader stumbles across servant leadership, although those of us within the subculture know that it means to lead by serving, to the CEO this immediately brings up connotations of inferiority which brings us back to square one of this essay. What if servant leadership was not called servant leadership?
I ask this question merely to generate conversation on a clear hindrance to the development of this wonderful leadership concept. Is it possible to alter the labeling terminology to open up the concept to further research or is the fact that the term “servant” being in the definition give the theory strength and separation from other value-laden leadership approaches? What other terms could be applied to allow the theory to gain more widespread recognition?
About the author:
JJ Musgrove is currently the Director of Donor Services, Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley in Columbus, Georgia. He joined the community foundation’s staff in April of 2011 after serving for six and a half years as the executive director of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in the same city. He has a bachelor of arts in theatre from Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, and a masters of arts in theatre from the University of Central Missouri. He is currently enrolled in the masters of organizational leadership, servant leadership track at Columbus State University. He is a featured speaker on arts administration, nonprofit leadership and fundraising, and value-laden leadership theories. He is a member of the Greenleaf Center on servant leadership and serves on the panels of the Columbus Cultural Arts Alliance and the Georgia Council for the Arts.
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
What if servant leadership had not been initially labeled servant leadership? How many times has this been pondered as this value-laden leadership concept evolved? And why does the name itself present an impediment for implementation, empirical researching, and overall comprehension? Read More >JJ Musgrove Articles
"Great moments are born from great opportunities," said the late Herb Brooks, one of the world's most famous hockey coaches.
Brooks certainly seized opportunity during his career. He agreed to coach the 1980 U.S. Olympic team that beat the "unbeatable" Soviet Union in Lake Placid, New York during the famous "Miracle on Ice" game on the way to winning the gold medal. It was a modern-day "David vs. Goliath" matchup. Many coaches would refuse such an overwhelmingly difficult job. In fact, several did.
But Brooks saw opportunity in the monumental challenge of leading a bunch of young, amateur, college all-stars against the essentially professional players of the Soviet Union and other European hockey powers.
That opportunity paid off, to say the least.
Whether you're talking about sports, business or any other subject matter, seeking, finding and capitalizing on opportunity are among the most important things a professional must do.
There's one big problem with opportunity, however. It is often hard to find and even harder to harness.
"We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations," said Charles Swindoll, an American religious author.
I agree wholeheartedly with Swindoll's characterization. The best opportunities are often hidden. They are often located in places we least expect to find them and are presented by people we least expect to provide them.
That reminds me of the old story that sales managers like to share with their young trainees: "On his way back from a three-day fishing trip, a multi-millionaire visits the showroom of an upscale, luxury car dealer. The salespersons, seeing an unshaven, disheveled, poorly dressed man, essentially ignore him. Offended, the multi-millionaire buys a top-of-the-line model the next day from a direct competitor." There are a lot of ways to tell that classic missed-sales-opportunity story, but they all sound something like that.
If opportunity is so important to our success, and so difficult to find and recognize, we need to focus more of our energy on it. Unless you're naturally good at it, finding and capitalizing on opportunity needs to be a deliberate focus:
Open your eyes and ears - we can no longer afford to be indifferent, or even worse, oblivious to the world around us. Be on the lookout for ideas that could lead to new opportunities. Even more important than eyes and ears, keep your mind open too. Many of us miss opportunities, because they don't fit into our pre-existing paradigms.
Remember that all people count - sometimes we get so obsessed with the "right" people, we miss out on valuable opportunities from people, who on the surface, can do seemingly nothing for us.
Fight through the fear - one of the biggest reasons we miss out on extraordinary opportunities is because we are too afraid to leap. Herb Brooks wasn't too afraid to leap; we shouldn't be either.
Let your creative juices flow - the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Albert Szent-Gyorgi once said, "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought." The more creative you are, the more opportunity you will discover. See the world in a different way, and doing things like nobody else, and just watch the opportunities that manifest.
Take risks - As the old saying goes, "nothing risked, nothing gained." Unless you take a chance and do something new, you'll keep running into the same old opportunities.
Work really hard - "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work," said the great inventor Thomas Edison.
Set meaningful goals - make those goals specific too. The more you clarify what you really want, the quicker you will recognize it when it shows up.
Find quiet time - many people have found great opportunities, because they prayed for them or spent time meditating about them. Such activity creates focus in your mind, and a focused mind is a powerful mind.
Believe - visualize success and tell yourself that good things will come. A positive mind is more receptive to hidden opportunity.
Prepare - as the old Boy Scout motto says, "be prepared." You never know when the perfect opportunity will open up. If you're not prepared, you might not act on it quickly enough. In his autobiography, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he believes in "relentless preparation." He constantly prepares for crisis, so he will perform properly. Same thing applies to opportunity.
About the author:
Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques.You can learn more and follow his "Business Motivation Blog" at www.JeffBeals.com
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
It's mind boggling, to say the least. If you took all the accumulated knowledge in the history of the world and put it into a pile, you'd have an enormous pile. But 3 years later, you could put another pile of the same size next to the first one, and it would consist of all the new knowledge that has accumulated in just those 3 years.
#1 Information explosion
New knowledge breeds new knowledge. One idea leads to another idea and another ten ideas. Knowledge doesn't just grow; it multiplies.
No one knew that better than the world-famous, Nobel-winning physicist Dr. Albert Einstein. While teaching at Princeton, he was walking back to his office after giving his students their final exam. As he walked along, he was accompanied by his teaching assistant who asked, Dr. Einstein, wasn't that the same exam you gave last year?"
Einstein said, "Yeah, the same exam." But his assistant wondered, "How could you give the same exam 2 years in a row?" Einstein answered, "Well, the answers have changed."
How true. Information explosion brings new knowledge, new answers, and even new words. Perhaps you've heard some of the newest words floating around some organizations these days. They include:
*BLAMESTORMING: Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed, how a project failed, and who was responsible.
*ASSMOSIS: The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by kissing up to the boss rather than working hard.
*CUBE FARM: An office filled with cubicles.
*PRAIRIE DOGGING: When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on.
*MOUSE POTATO: The on-line, wired generation's answer to the couch potato.
*STRESS PUPPY: A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.
*SWIPEOUT: An ATM or credit card that has been rendered useless because the magnetic strip is worn away from extensive use.
*XEROX SUBSIDY: Euphemism for swiping free photocopies from one's workplace.
*PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE: The fine art of whacking the heck out of an electronic device to get it to work again.
*OHNOSECOND: That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake, such as hitting "Send" on an e-mail by mistake.
So yes, information explosion is driving change, but most people are woefully unprepared. They're not keeping up or even trying to keep up with the information that will be critical to their personal and professional success. According to the American Booksellers Association, 80% of American families did not buy or read a single book last year. And 58% of American adults never read another book after they finish high school, including 42% of college grads. Apparently, books are widely distributed and evenly ignored.
It makes no sense to me. If you're going to survive and thrive in the midst of information explosion, you must make a commitment to knowledge acquisition. Knowledge is the raw material of success. And knowledge ... turned into skill ... is one of the ways you can cope with change and succeed in change.
Contrary to popular opinion, ignorance is not bliss. As the Haitian proverb states, "Ignorance doesn't kill you but it makes you sweat a lot." And lose a lot.
But there's no need for that. Information is everywhere. Take advantage of it. Read books and educational articles. Listen to motivational recordings. Go to seminars. The top 10% in any field ALWAYS do that, and they do it on a consistent, regular basis. As Benjamin Franklin said, "We are all born ignorant, but you have to work hard to stay that way."
Another major driving force in our world of change is...
# 2. Technology
It wasn't too many years ago people used to brag about being computer illiterate. They would pronounce, somewhat proudly, they didn't even know how to turn on a computer. And people around them would nod and smile. But now, if you were to say you didn't know how to turn on a computer, people would no longer nod and smile. They will look at you with pity.
If you're going to make it in these changing times, you must understand two things about technology. First, it's coming out faster and faster. According to Gordon Moore's law, the speed of information processing doubles every 2 years as the cost drops in half. And his law has proven to be right for 45 years.
Just look at these examples to see how the pace of technology is increasing.
TECHNOLOGY YEAR INVENTED YEAR MANUFACTURED NUMBER OF YEARS FROM CONCEPTION TO PRODUCTION
Florescent light 1852-1934 = 82 years
Ball point pen 1888-1938 = 50 years
Television 1907-1936 = 29 years
Transistor 1940-1950 = 10 years
Computer 1946-1954 = 8 years
Nuclear fission 1941-1945 = 4 years
Of course, these days, the time between conception and production may be a matter of months or weeks instead of years. The pace of new technology is RAPIDLY increasing.
The second thing you must understand about technology is the fact that it is always resisted ... at first. As the great engineer Charles Kettering observed, "Everybody is naturally negative to anything outside his own experience."
Almost every technological advance has some aspects to it that are unintelligible to the ordinary mind. And what people do not understand ... they deride out of ignorance or oppose out of fear.
Your only salvation is to keep up with the new technology and adopt those technologies that make sense in your career or your personal life. That's why my professional group ... called Master Speakers International ... spends a few hours every year sharing the new technologies we've learned and recommend to one another.
Despite the initial resistance that always comes with new technologies, there is some good news. Once you learn to use the new technology, you almost never want to go back to the old way of doing things.
I remember that when I was conducting seminars for the Safeway food stores years ago. As you may remember, grocery employees used to put a price sticker on every item in the store, and the cashier had to manually key in every price for every item at the check-out counter. The process was time consuming and the margin of error was high.
Then the bar code scanning system entered the grocery stores in the mid 1980's. It allowed the cashier to simply scan the grocery items across an instrument panel that automatically decoded and accurately recorded the prices. At first, the cashiers were skeptical. They were afraid of the new "cash registers."
But after their initial fear disappeared, the cashiers loved the new technology. There were fewer mistakes, and they could check out many more customers in a given period of time. Today, if the scanners were taken away and if the old cash registers were re-installed, the cashiers would not be happy.
The point is ... people forget the fear of change as soon as they realize the benefit of change.
Finally, the third driving force in change is...
# 3. Competition
It's everywhere. In fact competition is fiercer today than ever before in human history. Every business has to somehow or other compete with every other business on the face of the Earth.
With the explosion of information and technology, there just aren't that many ignorant, uninformed customers or prospective customers left anymore. Just about everybody knows what everything costs, or they can find out who sells it cheaper and delivers it faster somewhere else in the world. And just about everybody knows the difference between quality and a lack of quality, and they want quality.
But even those two things ... cost and quality ... are no longer good enough to stay competitive.
When I surveyed thousands of American managers years ago, I asked them what they thought was the key to success in the future of their business. They all said "quality". A short time later, while I was teaching in Japan, I asked the same question of Japanese managers. They all said "innovation". From their point of view, quality was a given; quality was the minimum requirement to even be in business.But it would take innovation to stay in business in such a highly competitive world. I think they were right.
You've got to innovate ... which means you've got to keep on changing things to satisfy your customer... who wants a safer car, a more energy-efficient home, a faster computer, a more colorful cell phone, and a million new other products. The competition is providing those things, so you have to as well.
It's no longer safe to be a slow lion or a plodding gazelle. As the story goes, every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up and knows he must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. And every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up and knows he has to run faster than the slowest member of the herd to live that day. So it doesn't matter if you're a lion or a gazelle, when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.
Action: Design your own plan for your own continuing education so you stay on top of change rather than beneath it.
About the author:
2011 Reprinted with permission from Dr. Alan Zimmerman, a full-time professional speaker who specializes in attitude, motivation, and leadership programs that pay off. For more information on his programs ... or to receive your own free subscription to the 'Tuesday Tip' ... go to http://www.drzimmerman.com/
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
It’s mind boggling, to say the least. If you took all the accumulated knowledge in the history of the world and put it into a pile, you’d have an enormous pile. But 3 years later, you could put another pile of the same size next to the first one, and it would consist of all the new knowledge that has accumulated in just those 3 years.Alan Zimmerman, CSP, CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame Articles
There is tremendous opportunity and satisfaction as a leader in developing others. By effectively developing the people around us, we elicit excellence in a number of impactful and far-reaching ways. Developing others is an important function of effective leadership.
The first benefit, obviously, is to the person being developed. When we help someone expand their skill set and knowledge base, we make them more valuable and more versatile, which in turn, instills a sense of pride. Instilling pride in work and workmanship is a cornerstone of the foundation for eliciting excellence. In addition, we demonstrate our belief in them, their abilities, and their potential. This in turn nurtures loyalty and responsiveness towards you.
The next way that developing people elicits excellence is the impact on our team. When individual members of a team grow their abilities and stretch themselves, they in turn inspire others to do the same. Even though you may not have personally worked with each member of your team (although hopefully you will at some point), the people you developed act as examples of what is possible, which if you have the right people on your team, will act to motivate others to take the initiative to improve themselves for the betterment of their future and the benefit of the organization.
The third manner in which developing others brings forth excellence lies within us. By mastering the art of developing people, we become more skilled in our communication abilities, more effective in our leadership, and more leveraged in our efforts. All of these benefits act to make us more productive, more creative and more confident, thereby eliciting excellence.
Given the impact and far-reaching implications of developing others, it is critical to master this important function. At the heart of this effort lies the leadership style of "coaching". Adopting a "coach-like" attitude and manner is the fastest and most effective means of developing others.
What does a coaching style of leadership look like? Being "coach-like" embodies a number of competencies and strategies, all of which interlock and work in conjunction with one another. The first concept to acknowledge is the power of asking rather than telling. Many of us, in an effort to help someone "get it right" (and in the name of expediency), tell others what to do and how to do it. And while this does get the work done, it does little to develop the other person, their skill set, and their confidence.
The alternative, "coach-like" approach, is to ask. Instead of starting off by telling them what to do, ask them what they would do and how they would do it. This strategy serves a number of very important functions. Firstly, it demonstrates that you have an interest in what they have to say. When you listen to what someone is telling you, it acts as a sign of respect. It demonstrates that you value what they have to say. The next benefit of asking is that their answers will give you a sense of how they think. The answers will reveal their level of insight and judgment, and will illustrate their problem-solving abilities. And lastly, listening to the answers to your questions will provide clues as to how best to help them develop. It helps you understand which aspects of development they need help and guidance with.
When you choose to develop people this way, it creates the opportunity to mentor them, rather than to simply "train" them. Training is good for technical matters and knowledge acquisition, but if you also want to develop someone's judgment, you need to share your insights, improve their thought processes, help them understand better ways to approach problem-solving, and basically give them the benefit of your experience.
In addition to adopting a coach-like approach with people, practicing effective delegation is essential. Effective delegation consists of choosing the right tasks to delegate, choosing the right people to delegate to, delegating in such a way that the person grows from the experience, and making sure the work gets done accurately and in a timely manner.
In a nutshell, here is what all of that means...
"Choosing the right task to delegate" - Generally, any task which doesn't require judgment is a good task to delegate. Also, if one of your goals is to develop a person's judgment, then choose a non-crucial task requiring some judgment.
"Choosing the right people" - The right person to delegate to is dependent upon their present skill set, their level of self-confidence, their openness to growth, and their level of ambition. Clearly, choosing the right people is an art rather than a science.
"Helping the person grow from the experience" - The success of this is contingent upon using a coach-like approach when delegating. Once you've clearly explained what needs to get done, ask questions to not only ascertain whether they understand what's required, but also to see their thinking process as it pertains to the task at hand.
"Ensuring an accurate and timely completion" - It is essential to let someone know when a task is to be completed and to hold them accountable for its completion. The more important the task, the more critical it becomes to provide ongoing feedback with course corrections. This, of course, will ensure that the work is completed in a timely and accurate fashion, but also demonstrates your integrity by following through on the things you said were important to you.
By effectively developing others, you elevate everyone. As people grow and stretch, their value and their sense of pride expand, which in turn, elicits excellence from them and the entire organization.
About the author:
Michael Beck is a Business Strategist and Executive Coach. For more articles on leadership, personal effectiveness and personal productivity, please visit www.michaeljbeck.com.
There is tremendous opportunity and satisfaction as a leader in developing others. By effectively developing the people around us, we elicit excellence in a number of impactful and far-reaching ways. Developing others is an important function of effective leadership. Read More >Michael Beck Articles
Greg L. Thomas wrote this book deliberately to remind his readers of what principled-living is all about. I am reminded almost daily of the poor decisions made by others who unbelievably feel the correct way to treat others is through lying, cheating, corruption or deception. This is done by many individuals simply to move ahead in this world. Living by honest and ethical principles seems to be an out-dated way of personal conduct that was once an expected part of our culture. Sadly, intentionally hurting our fellow man has become socially acceptable in today’s modern world and our organizations. To many, the end results now justify the means… by whatever means are possible to gain an advantage.
The dictionary states that a “principle,” is an accepted or professed rule of action, or conduct. For example, a person of good moral principles accepts those morals as personally valuable, or a rule of conduct. This is exactly how Greg L Thomas describes the 12 Principles in his book. They are endorsed as “accepted professional conduct,” with positive results by using good moral principles.
As you read this book, you will discover the one clear undeniable fact… these principles are meant for each of us to live by if we truly want to become successful. We cannot expect others to follow us without first living by the principles ourselves, hence the name in the title, “personal leadership.” As the author describes in the book, personal leadership is about making yourself a better person by growing from the inside out and not allowing outside circumstances to determine who you are, or how you should live. By changing yourself first, you will have the moral right to coach and expect others to change and grow as individuals. I was truly captivated and intrigued throughout the whole book because Thomas uses many personal examples from his own life, as well as examples of past historical leaders to show how the principles apply. He discusses their struggles and how by living the 12 Principles they were able to overcome difficult obstacles. I even learned some interesting history about the ethics of my American forefathers!
Greg L Thomas gives you a blueprint on how to apply, (in order), all twelve principles. Pay particular attention to principles number ten and twelve. Principle ten is titled, “Know Thyself” and Thomas asks us to candidly take an inventory within ourselves. He encourages us to truly understand who we are on the inside, not who we think we are. Only by honestly answering this question and correcting any of our deficiencies, will we be able to live a life without duplicity. You will need to read the book in its original chapter order to appreciate why principle twelve is so powerful. You will soon discover… when reading this final principle why the other eleven principles are so deeply rooted within it, and the author.
I would not be exaggerating when I say that I felt Thomas’s passion as I read each individual principle and understood why they are so important to him. The enthusiasm comes through because he uses them himself to practice personal leadership. The last chapter was cleverly written because he demonstrates how much more powerful the first eleven principles can be when principle twelve is applied. As I mentioned earlier, the definition of personal leadership is about making yourself a better person, and inspiring others around you to become greater as well. Thomas writes this book to let the reader know how he has grown to become a “servant” leader”, and to outline how you too can become a dynamic leader of others as well. The question remains… can these principles be learned in the business world? I believe if we stop the “quick fixes” or the selfish “give me what I want” attitude that so many possess today, we can make our organizations, and our world a better place to live. Greg L Thomas hit a homerun with this book and I for one will continue to practice and teach these valuable principles of personal leadership.
Making Life’s Puzzle Pieces Fit
Using The Twelve Principles of Personal Leadership
Xlibris - 2009 (150 pages hardback)
Author Greg L. Thomas
weLEAD Rating – highly recommended
Greg L. Thomas wrote this book deliberately to remind his readers of what principled-living is all about. I am reminded almost daily of the poor decisions made by others who unbelievably feel the correct way to treat others is through lying, cheating, corruption or deception. Read More >Ken Altenbach Articles
Could your management team be creating unnecessary employee issues that are leading to:
-Low employee engagement
-Low employee morale
-Poor customer service
-The need for voluminous policy and procedure manuals to ensure that the manager follows the rules, and
While not so comfortable to ask, and even more challenging to be accountable for, here are 7 key questions to help you determine if your management is causing the above common concerns:
1) Does every member of your management team know (internalize) the company’s Mission/Purpose and Vision (ideal future state)?
2) Can every member of your management team describe the company Values, (that is, the key ways in which you go about your work, such as excellence in customer service, innovation, teamwork, respect…)?
3) And, can every member of the management team give some examples of how the company values are demonstrated on a day-to-day basis?
4) Do you have a succession plan – that is, an approach for and/or development of high potential/successor candidates?
5) Do new people promoted to or hired for a management position clearly demonstrate the company values?
6) Do you have an effective way to transition new managers into their positions (or do you just assume the transition will happen)?
7) And, do you remove poor and ineffective managers quickly?
If you said “NO” to any of the questions above then you likely have employee issues as a result of your management problems.
When Addressing Employee Issues, Ensure You Have Sound Management First
How can you improve your business when you have employee issues and conflicts getting in your way of running an effective, productive and efficient organization? First, change your approach and take a macro view. That is, understand that often, employee issues are symptoms of inconsistent or failing management.
Your strongest assets and your key resources are your employees. (Yes, even stronger than your brand. Brand creates awareness and a promise. But it’s the employees that deliver on that promise.) And, while painful to acknowledge, it is the most talented employees that leave first.
If you want to improve your business, you must start with your managers. These are the people who are the direct link to your front line employees. These managers include:
Yet unfortunately, the role and impact of the direct supervisors are often overlooked when senior management or business owners contemplate improvement questions such as:
1) How can we improve morale?
2) What’s a good compensation system?
3) How can we recruit and retain better employees?
4) How do we improve our customer service?
Simply stated, as long as you do not deal with supervisor/manager competency and impact, you cannot effectively deal with any of the questions raised above. It’s like trying to come up with a model to explain how our solar system works using the earth as the center of the system. It just won’t work, no matter how hard you try. Replace the earth with the sun and it works beautifully. Money spent to improve the effects of management is wasted unless it’s spent to address poor management first.
Five Required Steps to Identifying and Addressing the Issue of Poor Management
First, get senior executives to function as an aligned team and to translate this team’s vision to promote (by demonstration not lip service) the stated values of the business. Remember, employees watch their leadership team for cues on how to behave and how to manage. They look to managers to see what’s acceptable and what is not!
Carefully select employees for management positions. This means you need to have a succession plan that incorporates a management development plan for high potential candidates.
Support the transition from employee to manager. Not all newly promoted managers will be ready for their new role. In fact, in many organizations, it’s possible that most aren’t yet ready for prime time but are needed there. (A good coach or mentor can be very valuable in these situations.)
Define the standard of performance required of all your managers. Provide needed support to help your managers understand your standards and meet them. If they don’t (or won’t) after suitable support and development, replace them. Understand that “what you permit you promote”. Tolerating poor managers and poor manager behavior is the same as condoning it. And that is the way employees will perceive it.
Then, insure your managers/supervisors are responsible for performance management and instilling employee accountability using these four fundamentals with their employees:
-Clarifying expectations of their role individually and within context to the larger organization
-Providing adequate training and development for them to do their job (identify and address skills, knowledge and resource gaps)
-Provide consistent feedback on their performance, expressly positive/ recognition based, and of course, addressing concerns or deficiencies (in which case you start over at A, though focusing on the concern/issue and what is needed/expected…)
-And, be consistent with upholding consequences. Similar to tolerating poor managers, unwilling or persistent underperforming employees will quickly compromise your overall results.
Service excellence, cost-effective performance and innovation, start with engaged employees. And employees leave their organizations most often because of a bad boss and a poor-working relationship. If you believe that your employees are not engaged to the extent you want them to be, don’t start with employee remediation efforts. Start first, with the leaders and the managers. If employees don’t have a good boss and working experience with them, save your money; as nothing else will work, at least for very long. It may be the most difficult place to start, but it will be the most effective for long-term ROI.
About the authors:
Sara LaForest and Tony Kubica are management consultants with more than 50+ years of combined experience in helping organizations improve their business performance simply by improving the leadership effectiveness of top management. You can find out more about their work at http://www.kubicalaforestconsulting.com
Could your management team be creating unnecessary employee issues that are leading to:
-Low employee engagement
-Low employee morale
-Poor productivity Read More >
Very likely the result of my military background, I confess to being very demanding of the leadership structure within a business or organization. Part of this is because I have seen and experienced the incredible things we can accomplish with just the slightest smattering of leadership and part because I have seen and experienced the disastrous effect of our being unwilling to lead. In writing this I would tell you that the last sentence here initially included “or unable” to lead, but that is something I am not sure I have ever run across. It is nearly always a case of our being unwilling. I believe all of us have the capacity and ability to lead if we so choose. Most of us choose not to lead.
According to William Deresiewicz in „Solitude and Leadership‟ “What we don‟t have, in other words, are thinkers. People who can formulate a new direction: for the country, for a corporation or a college, for the Army –a new way of doing things, a new way of looking at things. People, in other words, with vision.” He talks about our being complacent, the beneficiary of wealth and power earned under earlier generations and maintaining the status quo being our prevailing priority.
In another generation John Kennedy might have talked about the difficulty of getting to the moon as a reason not to go, rather than committing our nation to the attempt when he said “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our
energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling
to postpone, and one which we intend to win…”
I would confess to believing in people and though this has gotten me in trouble more than once over the years, I have found that most people respond to your belief and confidence by working hard to accomplish the things you would ask of them, particularly if you are doing something way outside the norm and actually training your people and setting them up for success. Though training is inconvenient and a hassle, that I am willing to pay out good money to make sure my people are trained actually communicates my commitment to them, and even allows me to make demands toward our taking on more difficult tasks and even in our expecting reasonable levels of quality.
Training creates an expectation of competence, leadership makes sure those expectations become our new reality. What‟s not to like about that? The other side of that coin is staff members who haven‟t a clue of what we expect beyond the periodic temper tantrum we throw when somebody crosses that invisible line we have set up with some misstep or misbehavior and worst of all in this is that at the end of the acrimony, rather than taking the opportunity to let our staff members know what our actual expectations are or what went wrong, we storm off in a huff. Now that‟s what I call leadership and setting a good example! I am guessing that if our Mom had witnessed this we would be standing in a corner somewhere. Nobody likes a bully and our people deserve better than our anger and frustration. The very worst part in this is that as leaders we are responsible for where we are and for what we are or are not doing. Turn that frustration to a sense of accomplishment and lead your people to a better place.
I don't care if you are red, round and weigh five hundred pounds, if you are occupying a leadership position, a position that would require you to oversee the performance of other staff members, you are tasked with and accountable for getting your people to do the things they are supposed to do and at a level of quality that will assure their success and the success of the business or organization. I don‟t care if you are a talking head or if you don‟t know a crankshaft from a connecting rod, staff members are responsible for tasks, leaders are responsible for success. I would go one further by saying that along with that success, as a leader you are responsible for the welfare, morale and attitude of your team members. If performance is bad or productivity is low, that is on you. If team members are not hitting their goals, if they are confused or uncaring about the expectations you have set, it would be very easy to blame them, but poor performance rests squarely with the leadership and that means you. Our people cannot read our mind and cannot possibly know our expectations if we have not talked to them and if we have not done something toward demanding better. No more than a football coach can blame his team for a loss, we as leaders cannot point fingers and blame our people when they fail. A pattern of failure is a symptom of poor or nonexistent leadership. If you do not plan for and set expectations for excellence, you are by default setting expectations for mediocrity or even failure. Excellence never just happens.
Right from the start if it is all about you, you have missed the opportunity that leadership offers and made mission accomplishment nothing more than an extension of your ego. A young soldier in a foxhole, just like your administrative assistant or the young cashier out front on the counter, all need to know and understand what is in it for them and feel that their contribution means something and that it is important to the team‟s success. Why would anyone waste their time or put themselves at risk if they don‟t feel a connection to the mission or goal? And if we have communicated their efforts are insignificant or unimportant, we have all but said that they don‟t matter. In professional sports, in military operations and in the projects and tasks you take on in your business or organization, leadership has the opportunity to set individual and team goals and in this, define success. If you are forgetting this important step, if you are failing to set expectations toward excellence, you are solely responsible when failure comes „a calling. And though you will be sorely tempted to blame somebody, it is you that asked for nothing toward extraordinary. Your team gave you exactly what you had asked for; a half-assed effort with no expectations for quality and no time set aside for excellence. And out on the other side of this I am wondering what our customers are seeing and hearing and experiencing. I can promise you that if there are no expectations for excellence behind the counter, there is nothing spectacular going on out in front of it. Customers can go anywhere to be treated poorly and if you and your people are not giving customers a great reason to come back, why would they? Only leadership and high expectations can go beyond the norm and deliver the extraordinary. Remember that when business is slow and when you look up one day and note that you have not seen a lot of the good customers you had made over the years. Somehow they have wandered off and you are left wondering why.
Douglas MacArthur, as he bids farewell to West Point and the Corps of Cadets, defines the mission, sets a very high standard for performance and an immediate urgency toward success. As he passes the torch to the next generation of military leaders, he leaves no confusion as to what their priority needs to be and his fidelity to them and to the cause. “And through all this welter of change and development your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purpose, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishments; but you are the ones who are trained to fight…. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory always I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.
Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps. I bid you farewell.”
You are the leader. Who have you inspired to greatness today?
About the author:
Brian Canning is a regular contributor to weLEAD and a business analyst working in the federal sector. For the past thirty years he has worked in the automotive repair industry, most recently as a leadership and management coach with the Automotive Training Institute in Savage, Maryland. After serving as a tank commander with the 1st Armored Division in Europe, he started his career as a Goodyear service manager in suburban Washington D.C., moving on to oversee several stores and later a sales region. He also has been a retail sales manager for a large auto parts distributor, run a large fleet operation and headed a large multi-state sales territory for an independent manufacturer of auto parts. His passions are history, leadership and writing.
Very likely the result of my military background, I confess to being very demanding of the leadership structure within a business or organization. Part of this is because I have seen and experienced the incredible things we can accomplish with just the slightest smattering of leadership and part because I have seen and experienced the disastrous effect of our being unwilling to lead. Read More >Brian Canning Articles
One Leader's Perspective
I was preparing to present a Sunday morning leadership seminar recently and someone from the audience came up to me and asked a thought-provoking question. He quizzed me by asking abruptly, “Where have all the leaders gone?” At first I was puzzled so I asked him if he could expand on his question. His reply was blunt. “Yes, he said, why don’t we have leaders in the world like we used to?” After a brief discussion, he stated, ”I guess since we don’t have leadership in the world anymore the only thing left is to just talk about it!” His statements are a reflection of what many people believe today. It seems to many that we don’t have the quality or quantity of leaders today as we did in the past. Is this really true?
To answer this question we must first ask and answer another question, “Just what is a leader?” A common myth is that leaders are individuals who are either powerful, prominent, charismatic or have legions of followers. This is simply not true. Yes, it is true that some individuals who have the above mentioned qualities are leaders, but some of the most effective leaders do not have any of them. Frankly, having served in various management positions for over 20 years has taught me that many organizational CEO’s and presidents couldn’t lead a group of people out of a well lit room! The perception of “where have all the leaders gone” exists because the labels of “leader” or “leadership” are so often misused and misapplied. The reality is that most leaders are not in formal positions of power. A loose definition of the word “leader” can delude you about leadership. For example, we might say that a policeman can lead a prisoner to jail. In this case, the policeman is not a leader but a captor. The policeman and prisoner do not share the same goal. The policeman is demonstrating coercion and power, not leadership. Real leaders almost never have a need to coerce or intimidate others in order to accomplish a mission together. Leadership and power are two entirely different terms. Some leaders do have formal positions of power but the majority do not.
So just what is leadership? Here is my own formal definition. Leadership is the ability to articulate a vision, to embrace the values of that vision, and nurture a positive environment whereeveryone can reach the organization’s goals and their own personal needs. This means that leaders effectively combine individuals and resources together to accomplish things that would be virtually impossible to achieve alone! It does not require power, prominence, charisma or dozens of followers to be a leader. Leadership is a value-based philosophy, not a collection of tricks, tips, gestures and the right words during a time of need. Leadership authority James O’Toole reminds us that a leader’s vision becomes the follower’s vision “because it is built on a foundation of their needs and aspirations. They see in the vision what they desire, and they embrace it as their own.” He continues that, “There are no contingencies here; the only course for the leader is to build a vision that followers are able to adopt as their own because it is their own”.
What effect has our modern culture had on leadership? It has had a profound effect especially within our western democracies. Allow me to provide an example in the arena of political leadership. The basic framework of a democratic culture is a pride of individualism and personal independence. Our powerful electronic media also plays a significant role in how we react to or judge those in leadership positions. Before World War II, leaders were primarily respected by the media and were presented with a positive image in spite of their flaws. Today, the reverse is true as the media now often focuses on leaders flaws in order to promote a negative image. As a result, many individuals are now more skeptical and resistant toward anyone who attempts to offer new ideas or a new direction. Because of this deepening rooted culture, leaders are not as respected or even acknowledged as they were in the past. This is true not only in the political arena but in all areas of leadership.
Indeed, our democratic principles and media influence have had a powerful effect on leadership in the last 50 years. In reality, most of us in the western world don’t really seem to want ongoing leadership in our society! We feel threatened or confined by others attempting to lead us to new paths or ideas. If we are honest with ourselves, what we want is “leadership on demand”. We want to be able to call on leaders during times of crisis and then watch them ride off into the sunset when the crisis is over. We appear to want leadership only whenwe want it and on our terms. At our convenience, we now live in a civilization of instant coffee, instant breakfast, and instant communication. We now expect instant leadership, but apparently only at the times we want it.
Perhaps the most profound example of this was at the end of World War II. Winston Churchill had demonstrated an astounding example of leadership for the British people as prime minister. His indomitable spirit and oratory excellence had inspired his people with a vision of endurance and victory over the German empire. For a period of time, before the United State entered the war, Churchill’s leadership galvanized the will of the British people to stand alone against Nazi tyranny. Few would question Churchill’s leadership abilities, especially at a time when they were needed the most. Yet, what happened immediately after the war? In the first post-war election of 1945 Churchill was removed as British prime minister as his Conservative party gained only 213 seats in a Parliament of 640. Churchill was the same leader he had always been! But the British people wanted to put the war and its leader behind them. They no longer wanted his kind of leadership after the war. Instead, they chose to support a Labour platform of economic and social reform.
Another reason there may appear to be a dearth of leadership today is demonstrated by a “bumper sticker” I have seen. It states very clearly…”LEAD… Follow…or get out of the way!” (Actually, it wasn’t put as nicely as I worded it here). In order for anyone to lead, there must be followers. Leaders and followers need each other. If there are no followers, or potential followers don’t care, all the leadership skills that anyone can possibly exhibit, will be in vain. (I will discuss the important qualities of followership in next months weLEAD article entitled, “Where have all the followers gone?”) But, as the “bumper sticker” implies, there is an important third category. It is neither leadership nor followership but that of the uncommittedobserver. This third category is a growing force in our modern culture and makes leadership more difficult than ever before. The observer is typically not interested in a mission or a vision, but in maintaining a distance from leaders and followers. From a leadership perspective, this detachment saps the potential creative resources and ideas available from the observer. Often, their lack of support or commitment may inadvertently create resistance against all efforts at leadership.
I maintain that leadership is as available as ever. The real problem is that followers are fewer and often less committed because our modern western civilization has persuaded many to become uncommitted observers. Some have also become observers because of negative past experiences they witnessed when they attempted to follow a leader! What does this mean for a leader? It means the leader must work harder than ever before to inspire, motivate and encourage larger numbers of observers to make a personal commitment and become followers. This can only be done when a leader demonstrates integrity, self-sacrifice, dedication and respect for the observer as well as their own followers. As author Garry Wills comments, “Followers judge leaders. Only if the leaders pass that test do they have any impact.” More than any time in history, the role of being a leader is more complex and challenging.
Where have all the leaders gone? They haven’t really gone anywhere. Many are still with us and a new generation of leaders has accepted the torch from the past generation. However, the overwhelming majority of them are not prominent individuals and you will not see them on the evening news or read about them in the evening newspaper. But be assured of this, every day a million random acts of leadership are demonstrated in our homes, schools, shop floors, office buildings, government institutions, community projects and religious organizations. Sadly, these accomplishments go unnoticed and under-appreciated because of all the problems that also exist in these same institutions and within our society. Most of these individuals are not in positions of power or great influence. But within their own environments, departments, groups or sectors they are working hard to articulate a vision, and leading others to meet the organization’s needs and their own follower’s needs.
Effective leaders are still with us, facing greater resistance and more challenges than ever. They are not gone, but are attempting to be agents of change in a complex world that usually offers little recognition to them. Next month, we will discuss the essential qualities of followership.
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author:
Greg has over 20 years of sales and marketing experience within the electrical distribution industry. Some of his positions have included being a National Sales Manager, National Marketing Manager and for the past 9 years that of Regional Sales Manager. He also has extensive experience in public speaking and has written articles for various publications. In August of 2000, Greg completed his studies for a Master of Arts degree in Leadership from Bellevue University. He is the founder of weLEAD Incorporated.
O'Toole, James. (1995). Leading Change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers
Wills, Garry, (1994). Certain Trumpets – The Call of Leaders. NY: Simon & Schuster
One Leader’s Perspective
I was preparing to present a Sunday morning leadership seminar recently and someone from the audience came up to me and asked a thought-provoking question. He quizzed me by asking abruptly, “Where have all the leaders gone?” At first I was puzzled so I asked him if he could expand on his question. Read More >Greg L.Thomas Articles
Leaders provide their team with the tools, advice and encouragement to tackle and solve problems. People flourish when they feel respected and secure in their roles. People who feel they have permission to solve problems become more creative and are able to overcome insurmountable difficulties.
Leaders are agents of change when old ideas no longer work and new ones are needed!
• The way to overcome resistance to needed change is to first engage with other’s attitudes or mindset before the change is introduced. When a leader has first worked to create a fresh positive environment of “creative thinking”, we prepare others to support rather than resist needed changes.
Leaders & Followers
• Both exist with each other. Leaders are also followers in some areas while followers are leaders in certain areas.
• Neither can function without the other. Leaders need followers and followers need leaders.
• Both are conditioned by their thinking process and individual behavior.
Common Leadership Mistake
A common mistake of leaders is to launch an idea or mission before spending enough time developing support and overcoming resistance. This may require the time needed to educate and build consensus with the followers. If this is not done first… resistance will slow or derail the mission.
Four levels of leadership participation
Good leaders recognize there are four levels of participation in decision making and will use all four depending on the circumstances and time available to make a decision. A leader who uses only one or two of these levels may be prone to poor decision-making.
• Autocratic decisions: Decision is made alone without asking for opinions or suggestions of people. Followers have no direct influence on the decision. Will cause alienation of followers if used often! Considered the most effective in crisis or emergency situations.
• Consultation: Followers are asked their ideas and opinions, then the decision is made alone after seriously considering their concerns and suggestions.
• Joint Decision: Leader meets with others to discuss problem and make decision together. The leader has no more influence over the decision than any other participant.
• Delegation: Leaders give an individual or group the authority and responsibility for making a decision. Leader usually specifies the limits in which the decision must fall.
Continuum of Decision Procedures
• Autocratic – no influence by others
• Consultation – little influence
• Joint Decision – equal influence
• Delegation – high influence
Benefits Of Allowing Greater Influence By Others
• Increase the quality of decision because others have information and knowledge the leader lacks.
• Greater influence = greater commitment by others. Provides a sense of ownership.
• Develop decision-making skills of other by giving them experience to analyze problems and evaluate solutions.
• Encourages “team building” and conflict resolution among participants.
• Encourage others to express their concerns.
• Describe a proposal as tentative.
• Record ideas and suggestions
• Look for ways to build on ideas and suggestions.
• Be tactful in expressing a concern about an idea or suggestion
• Listen to dissenting views without getting defensive or visibly angry.
• Try to utilize suggestions and address the concerns of others instead of ignoring them.
• Show genuine appreciation for others.
• Use symbols to build teamwork and pride.
Leaders provide their team with the tools, advice and encouragement to tackle and solve problems. People flourish when they feel respected and secure in their roles. People who feel they have permission to solve problems become more creative and are able to overcome insurmountable difficulties. Read More >Greg L.Thomas Articles