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?

Seeing The Next Leaders: They Are Right in Your Midst

There is a story in the Bible about the choosing of David to be the second king over Israel.  In the story, the prophet Samuel visits David’s father, and essentially begins a “training academy” from among David’s brothers.  Only one of the sons was missing, and that was David.  He was young; he was not old enough, not strong enough, not equipped.  At least that was the human perspective.  But in the economy of God, David was the one rightly equipped (or perhaps at that point being equipped) to become the king.

Sometimes the next set of leaders needed by your company or your non-profit or your school is right in the middle of your existing group of employees/volunteers.

But are you seeing them?  Are you even looking?

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.

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Why Cooperation is Not Enough

When my now adult daughters were children at home, I thought the key to overcoming sibling rivalry was cooperation.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  A battle of the wills preceded cooperation.  Who will succumb first?  Cooperation happened when one or the other acquiesced.

Coaching teams of ministry and business professionals towards fulfilling a common goal brought a breakthrough, personally and professionally.  Inevitably cooperation was seen as compromise.  What is the lowest common denominator that we can agree to?  Cooperation held both parties back.  Negotiators talk people into cooperating.  Leaders lead people into collaborating. Continue reading

Moving from Conflict to Success: A Primer

Fight or flight?  What is your default setting to conflict?  It is interesting to see the behavior of individuals and teams when conflict is present.  Patrick Lencioni’s best seller  “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” examine the origins of conflict and how to overcome it.  How do you get a team moving in the right direction…the same direction? Continue reading

4 Ways to Increase Productivity

Refueling inflight has become common practice for large payload aircraft.  When the purpose of the flight is to carry significant weight the aircraft sacrifices fuel weight for cargo.  Being able to refuel inflight saves time.  The plane can go longer distances.

Most senior leaders I know awake each day with a large payload to carry.  And usually they need to go for long periods of time.  Back to back meetings are common place.  Lunch breaks are replaced with lunch meetings.  As a leader, you need to learn to refuel inflight.  A few things I have learned when carrying a large payload:

1.   Take a power nap.  Fifteen minutes is perfect for me.  I am in good company.  At the height of WWII, Winston Churchill took a daily nap.  It refreshed his mind, relaxed his body, and allowed him to carry a significant load.

2.   Take a brisk walk.  One mile works for me.  Another fifteen minutes well spent.  It increases your heart rate, gets your blood pumping, and stimulates your brain.

3.   Sudoku.  I like to spend fifteen minutes in focused mental stimulation.  When you get stuck on a task, disengage your mind from that which is causing you to stick, and redirect your energy to another problem solving activity.  When you return to the task, you will be amazed at the fresh ideas you will generate.

4.   Read an article and take notes.  Guess how long?  Fifteen minutes.  I subscribe to Success magazine and recommend it for leaders.  The printed copy takes me away from my computer. Turning away from the immediate and reading not only refreshes you, it allows you to learn a new idea or reinforce a skill-set.

Up to an hour a day in “controlled distractions” can be an investment in productivity.  You do not need to do all of these everyday.  See which ones work best for you and incorporate them into your day.  You will find yourself getting more done in less time.  No need to completely land the plane.  Learn the secret of inflight refueling.

Elusive Mental Rest

The two most common responses to the question: What do you do when you do not get enough rest are: “I will make it up in the weekend,” and “You can sleep when you are dead.”  Sadly, neither are true.

I recently was confronted with the question, “Is the pace we are going worth the price we are paying?”  From my vantage point I would have to say, “No, it is not!” Continue reading

Turning Mistakes into Productivity – Matthew Green

This contribution to Leadership4:TheFuture is from Matthew Green.

The word mistake often evokes negative thoughts and feelings. People tend to think that to make a mistake is to have failed.  The failing occurs once this thought has taken root in our minds. Instead of viewing mistakes as something negative or as some form of failure it is important to view mistakes for what they really are, a learning moment. Continue reading