Thursday, September 29, 2011

Servant Leadership

"Leadership comes in small acts as well as bold strokes"
Carly Fiorina

Not only do leaders need to have vision and courage, but one characteristic often overlooked is the ability to serve others. One of Coach John Wooden's favorite books is entitled The Servant by  James Hunter. It is the story of John Daily, a businessman whose outwardly successful life is spiraling out of control.  He is failing miserably in each of his leadership roles as boss, husband, father and coach.  To get his life back on track, he reluctantly attends a weeklong leadership retreat at a remote Benedictine monastery. To his surprise, the monk leading the seminar is a former business executive and Wall Street legend.  Taking John under his wing, the monk guides him to the realization that is simple and yet profound: the true foundation of leadership is not power, but authority which is built on relationships, love, service, sacrifice and truly caring for those around you.  

Think about the people in your life that have had profound influence on your life and career.  Chances are they are people that have loved you and have truly cared about you as person first.  Their main objective is to find ways to help you succeed. 

The formula is simple, once they succeed everything falls into place around you.  The art of leadership is not to get your employees to think more of you, but rather to get them to think more of themselves.

Leadership - Part 3

21.     Leaders should always aim high, going after things that will make a difference rather than seeking the safe path of mediocrity.

22.     The leader teaches by example rather than by lecturing others on how they ought to be.

23.     By being selfless, the leader enhances self.

24.     When leaders become superstars, the teacher outshines the teaching.

25.     The leader does not take all the credit for what happens and has no need for fame.  A moderate ego demonstrates wisdom

26.     If you measure success in terms of praise and criticism your anxiety will be endless.

27.     To become more profound, give up your selfishness.  Let go of your efforts to be perfect or rich or secure or admired.  Such efforts only limit you.

28.     When I give up trying to impress the group, I become very impressive.  The less I make myself, the more I am.

29.     The flashy leader lacks stability.  Trying to rush matters gets you nowhere.  Trying to appear brilliant is not enlightened.  Insecure leaders try to promote themselves.  Impotent leaders capitalize on their position.  Too much force will backfire.  Constant interventions and instigations will not make a good group.  They will spoil a group.   Force will cost you the support of the members.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thoughts on Leadership - Part 2

“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

11.     We must never build pyramids in our own honor.  We must not fall victim to pompous, self-serving practices.

12.     Beware of the treacherous person who pledges loyalty in public then spreads discontent in private. Make every effort to identify and remove them.  Leaders are often betrayed by those they trust most.

13.     Do not delegate an assignment and then attempt to manage it yourself-you will make an enemy of the overruled subordinates.

14.     Worthy leaders accept full responsibility for all assignments-even those they have delegated to their subordinates.

15.     A wise leader expands his influence and ability to serve the company only through the art of delegation.

16.     Know that your most worthy efforts will be scorned by your peers, for it is they who suffer most when you excel.

17.     Regardless of the conditions under which a former leader departs, the new leader should neither encourage nor tolerate disrespectful talk of him.  Speaking ill will not change past events or serve to further understanding.  It will most certainly tarnish the stature of a new leader.

18.     As a leader who achieves greater success, the jealousy others feel for him intensifies.

19.     Good workers normally achieve what their leaders expect from them.

20.     Leaders should remember that hospitality, warmth, and courtesy will captivate even the most oppressive foe.

Thoughts on Leadership- Part 1

Over the years, I have read many books on Leadership.  Over the next few days, I will post some notes I have compiled from these readings.  John F. Kennedy once said, "Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other."  Simply, when you stop learning, you stop growing.

1.      No leader is exempt from criticism, and his humility will nowhere be seen more clearly than in the manner in which he accepts and reacts to it.

2.      Anyone who steps into the arena of leadership must be prepared to pay a price.  True leadership exacts a heavy toll on the whole person and the more effective the leadership, the higher the price!  The leader must soon face the fact that he will be the target of critical darts.  Unpleasant though it may sound, you haven’t really led until you have become familiar with the stinging barbs of the critic.  Good leaders must have the thick skin.

3.      Every leader must develop the ability to measure the value or worth of criticism.  He has to determine the source and the motive, and he has to listen with discernment.  Sometimes the best course of action is to respond to criticism and learn from it.  Other times, he must be completely ignored.

4.      It is impossible to lead anyone without facing opposition.

5.      It is essential to face opposition in prayer.

6.      Few people can live in the lap of luxury and maintain their spiritual, emotional, and moral equilibrium.  Sudden elevation often disturbs balance, which leads to pride and a sense of self-sufficiency and then, a fall.  It’s ironic, but more of us can hang tough through a demotion than through a promotion.

7.      The man who is impatient with weakness will be defective in his leadership.  The evidence of our strength lies not in streaking ahead but in a willingness to adapt our stride to the slower pace of our weaker brethren, while not forfeiting our lead.  If we run too far ahead, we lose our power to influence.

8.      No matter how strong a leader you are, you will experience times when the cutting remarks really hurt.

9.      You must be determined to apply massive common sense in solving complex problems.

10.     You must be willing to accept the simple fact that you have flaws and will need to work every day to become a better leader than you were yesterday.