We have just been though one of the greatest financial crisis in the history of the world. The world goes further into debt. Companies struggle to be profitable. We continue to see the bickering of politicians and watch the business-as-usual with our governments. The wars in foreign countries continue. We continue to watch the further disintegration of the family system and family values. And through all of this, one asks “Where are the leaders?” What is leadership? Who is a leader?
Regardless of our position in life, all of us can and should be leaders. So what is leadership? “Leadership is the ability to decide what is to be done, and then get others to want to do it.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower
Leaders accomplish things by leading. That is, by guiding and helping other people. Dictators issue orders, using fear and punishment to command compliance. Leaders shape people’s opinions and win their enthusiasm, using every available opportunity to send out their message (VISION) and win supporters (Noel Tichy, The Leadership Engine). Dictators break people down to feel inadequate, incapable, and don’t know much about the value people and their power.
What makes a leader? A leader has VISION about what needs to be done. He/she makes changes and helps others to make changes in order to see the VISION through completion.
What is your VISION about leadership? What is the vision that you have about leading your family, in your community, in your employment, in your religious organization, or in your own personal development? As we talk about vision and change, there are a number of tools that can be used to help lead others towards change:
· Situational Leadership by Paul Hersey & Ken Blanchard (1984)
· The Coach by Steven Stowell & Matt Starcevich (1987)
o Be Supportive
o Define the Topic and Needs
o Establish Impact
o Initiate a Plan
o Get a Commitment
o Confront Excuses / Resistance
o Clarify Consequences
o Don’t Give Up
· The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (1989)
o Be Proactive
o Begin with the End in Mind
o Put First Things First
o Think Win/Win
o Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood
o Sharpen the Saw
· Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman (1995)
o Social Skill/Team Builders
· E’s of Excellence by Curtis Reese (2000)
o Ethic (Work hard and Smart)
o Ego (Strong Ambition to Win)
o Empathy (Meet their needs)
o Empower (Help them to Help Themselves)
o Enthusiasm (Full of Energy)
o Education (Continue to Learn)
o Exercise (Stay Healthy)
o Execute (Put your Plan into Action)
Let’s take a closer look at Curtis Reese’s E’s of Excellence and what they means. What can you take away from one or more of these areas so that you can be a better leader as you travel down the path of continuous improvement.
o How committed are we to the task or job at hand when we are at work?
o Do we go beyond company demands?
o Why do our services provide value to our customers?
o Do we work beyond the mark, within the norm or outside the box?
· EGO / AMBITION
o I want to provide the very best service because I want to drive results.
o I want to be a top performer because it is who I am.
o Our services are better because we value our cusomter
o I have quiet confidence because I believe that success is a journey, not a destination.
o What are my customers’ needs and how can I help them fulfill those needs?
o How does my customer, family member, religious leader, community leader, view the situation.
o How and in what way do our products/services satisfy our customers’ needs.
o I am aware that a statue has never been set-up to honor a critic and understand the metaphor.
o Allow others to help you accomplish your goals
o Compliment everyone around you; make them feel good about their contribution.
o Realize that the sole advantage of power is the ability to do more good.
o Empower your people to make your organization’s services even better by sharing ideas.
o Be a general student and always learn.
o Knowledge is POWER!
o The glory of God is intelligence.
o When you stop learning, you stop life itself.
o Don’t learn for the sake of learning, let your knowledge lead to action
o Teach and share your skills with someone else.
o Enthusiasm, Energy, and Emotion can all have positive effects on what you do and on the people you come in contact with.
o Even your dog can feel your energy level; be aware of the effect you have on others.
o No one wants to get a “Kick In The Pants,” but it will raise their level of focus and attention.
o Clear your mind of the word “CAN’T.”
o Your most important asset is your health. What do you do to protect your health?
o You buy insurance to cover all your material possessions
o You need a healthy diet and exercise for both the body and the soul.
o Live your goals and make your dreams become reality.
o There are three kinds of people: those who wonder what happened, those who watch what happens, and those who make things happen. What kind of person are you? What about the people you lead?
Each one of us has the ability to look like a leader and act like a leader just by making minor improvements in our leadership skills each day. James Michener, author of “The Tales of the South Pacific,” wrote; “The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leading others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.”