Thursday, April 1, 2010

Are You A Leader?

Did you think I'd left you?  I guess you might say I've had a case of writer's block but it really was more an issue of distractions.  I apologize.  I won't let it happen again.  I'm working on myself (as I've said before) and that is a very important point about what I want to write about today - leadership. 

I've been thinking alot about this lately and reading many articles, listening to CDs, reading books and generally contemplating about just what leadership is.  Obviously, there's an extreme amount of information out there for anybody to see and study if they want to be a leader.

Just a few examples (and links - for your reading enjoyment):

Darren Hardy, Publisher and Editorial Director of SUCCESS Magazine states that someone is a leader . . ."when he or she is willing to do what others are not, even when -- and maybe most especially when -- the right thing to do might not be what's popular."   He says:  Leaders are doers.  Leaders . . . . lead.   The Unpopular View of Leadership

John C. Maxwell, America's foremost expert on leadership, best-selling author, speaker and founder of EQUIP, a nonprofit that has trained more than 5 million leaders in 126 countries, has much to say about the subject.  He avows that time management (actually an oxymoron - it's really self-management) is the most important aspect of leadership:  "Nothing separates successful people from unsuccessful people more than how they use their time."  He also says leaders see the vision of their dream clearly, have a strategy on what it will take to get there, and have prioritized the steps it will take to make it happen.

Mel Robbins, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, speaks of a "leadership gene".  I don't think we are born with one (the gene) but, if we lead, we will do it on purpose and by effort.  She says, "Leadership is . . . taking the lead."  (Back to doing what others are not willing to do.)  Robbins writes, "A true leader leaves the bathroom cleaner than they found it."  Maybe a little humorous, but extremely true.   The Leadership Gene

Chris Widener, best-selling author, tv co-host, and candidate for U.S. Senator for the state of Washington, says that, "Leadership is influence."  On this topic, he quoted John Maxwell who said, "If you think you are a leader and no one is following you - you're not really a leader, you're just taking a walk."

Perhaps my favorite is Robin Sharma, litigation lawyer turned leadership coach, when he says, "You cannot lead others until you have first learned to lead yourself."   Robin Sharma Leads Without A Title   He quotes actor Steve Martin, who, when asked how a person could be as well-known as he is, replied, "Be so good at what you do that people cannot ignore you."  Robin's dad told him, "When you were born, you cried while the world rejoiced.  Live your life so that, when you die, the world will cry while you rejoice."  I love that!  Sharma states that "the world is in a crises of leadership."  I do not believe truer words have ever been spoken - of the time we live in.  He encourages "leadership at all levels:"  being a leader in whatever position of life you are in by giving it your all: adding value, cutting costs, "wowing" the customer and being innovative.  He admits that leadership is not without its struggles and difficulties.  BUT!  He says, "Your next level of excellence is hidden behind your next level of resistance." and "You really don't grow unless you grow closer to your areas of discomfort."   If you don't fall (fail), you're not getting better.

My question is: what does personal leadership entail?  I think leaders are learners.  I think leaders know how to follow and what it is to follow.  Leaders listen.  (They don't have five mouths and no ears.)  Leaders are examples . . . . of good habits.  (Actually the opposite is also true but I'm talking about good leadership.)  Leaders take risks - calculated ones - they consider the cost.  Leaders are always striving for excellence in their personal lives so that they can affect the lives of others.  Leaders are servants.  Leaders realize that the authority arrow (downward on the organizational chart) is also a responsibility arrow (upward) and that submission is a two-way street. 

If you want to be a leader . . . . then lead.  What do you admire in the leaders you know?  What disciplines do they exhibit.  Do those things.  And when you do, no one will have to ask, "Are you a leader?"

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