Loving the Life of a Leader

Do you love the life of a leader?  No, not the power mistakenly associated with the position.  And not the money mistakenly envied with the title.  To love the life of the leader you must love your life as a leader.  From the CEO, to a member of an executive leadership team, or those who lead in the trenches by influence and excellence, leadership involves responsibility and, at times, hardship.

By managing personnel and implementing policies and procedures, leaders earn their living by making difficult decisions.  Sometimes those decisions are not appreciated.  Often times they are not understood.  Leaders who work to build individuals and teams live in the tension of risk and reward.  I regularly meet with leaders dealing with what seems to be a poor ROI.

With finances and personnel, get rich schemes do not work.  Leading demands consistent investment and patience to see ROI over time.  Loving the life of a leader requires living with the assurance that most people can and want to develop.  Developing people requires constant awareness of their progress on assigned tasks. Making the investment will make you richer.

Have you leveraged time and energy into people, hoping to see great ROI?  Be passionate, patient, and persistent as you track return.  Loving the life of the leader requires knowing the majority of your investments in people will produce positive returns.  Do you fret that your investments are not growing fast enough?  Or do you love the life of a leader, knowing that building people is a process?

Leadership 150: Lessons from 1861 | Mark Persall

Dead men tell no tales.  Really?  Have you ever read the Gettysburg Address?  The leadership of President Lincoln still tells tales.  In Lincoln on Leadership, Donald Phillips gives excellent advice on how to lead in difficult times.  However daunting your leadership future seems, learn from a man who conquered civil war.

  1.  Invest time and money in the ins and outs of human nature.  Leaders need to know why people do what they do.  You must also learn to project behavioral responses.
  2.  Refrain from dictatorial leadership.  People follow dictators out of fear, not respect.  Dictatorial leadership cannot be sustained.
  3.  Seek casual contact with direct reports.  Spending time on their territory affirms their value to the organization while allowing you to gain necessary information.
  4. Set goals and values that motivate your organization to action.  Effective leaders have a vision for the future; complete with goals and actions plans.  Excellent leaders develop people to embrace organizational goals.
  5. Organizations take on the personality of the top leader.  Whatever adjectives are used to describe the senior leader can also describe the organization.  Once a personality weakness is exposed, what the leader does in moderation will be practiced in excess among the team.  Character development starts with senior leaders.

Effective leadership requires constantly learning and adjusting to meet the needs of the moment with implications to the future.  What personality traits affirm your leadership?  Which ones challenge your leadership?

Secure Leadership in Insecure Times | Mark Persall

The 4:00 am wake up for the first flight home came really early.  But I was already awake thinking; thinking about the myriad of conversations I had this week with senior leaders in a company I consult with.  As one always looking for themes the theme of the week was insecurity.  What is not detectable in a five minute conversation is readily apparent after several interactions.

Continue reading

10 Things That Hold You Back from Outrageous Success – by Dumb Little Man

Success is something most of us want, but all too frequently never attain.  Start your week with this brief post from the “Dumb Little Man” blog.

If I could show you how you can become an outrageous success, would you be interested?You see, human beings are naturally happy when everything negative is removed. It’s like trying to hold a beach ball underwater. As soon as you let go, it pops back up to the surface.

via 10 Things That Hold You Back from Outrageous Success – by Dumb Little Man.

The Overlap of Work Life and Personal Life | Matthew Green

“Separate your personal life from your work life” or “ Leave everything at the door when you come to work”; phrases often used in the business world.  It may sound good to compartmentalize, but a dangerous practice even when possible to implement. Working with people there will always be an overlap between personal and professional life. Continue reading

Leading at a Distance: The Challenge of Communicating

One great challenge every leader in the future will have to confront is leading at a distance.  The rise of video conferencing and virtual teaming make this a real challenge, and probably one that will only grow more important in the future.

Some years ago I was supervising a team that was located in another country.  My boss made a request of me which required a rapid communication with the team leader.  This was before the wide spread use of Instant Messaging, and phoning was not, at least in that instance, a realistic possibility.

Nevertheless, I initiated contact via email, only to be blindsided by the team leader’s response.

The response from the team leader was not just tepid; it was borderline insubordinate.
Continue reading