Are you planting trees, or feeling the pull of gravity?

Tree

 

When is the best time to plant a tree?  Twenty years ago. When is the second best time to plant a tree? Now!

– Proverb

I know where I need to be and what I should be doing, but the motivation, sometimes, is not here.  The work to be done is daunting and includes the not so fun stuff. Holding people accountable, making a decision that is not popular and the rare occasion in which I realize I am wrong and need to regroup (lol).

How do I get the tree planted today? One step at a time. Movement overcomes the pull of   gravity from the tasks. Like Nike says, “Just Do It”!

My writing has fallen off (gravity), my exercise has all but ceased (gravity), but today is the day to plant the tree. Today is the day I find my flow of movement.

“Someone sits in the shade of a tree today, because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

 

My question today is; Are you planting trees or are you just sitting in the shade? What are you doing?

How to Be

great-leaders

Do you ever wonder how some leaders just “get it”? Like they were born with super-leadership abilities. These are the ones we study and probe to see if the secret ingredient can be duplicated. It never fails, that once we get close enough to really know them, we find out that they’re as normal as everyone else in the world. No super-leadership abilities, just a consistent way of seeing the world around them. A consistent walk that reflects that outlook.

Consistency is related to a great deal of leadership traits; trust, ethics, sincerity. It is also maintaining a theme of what you believe in and how your actions are aligned with what you espouse as  a leader.  The dots have to connect.

A very impressive leader, that I’ve been blessed to know, teaches that the foundation of leading others simply lies in being who you are. Another famous leadership sage, Frances Hesselbein, espouses “leadership is how to be, not how to do”.

Although I recommend that you are well versed in the leadership styles and legacies of all the greats, like Drucker, Collins, and Bennis, you also need to be cognizant of human psychology and current social trends. More than both of these, you need to know who you are, and how you are perceived. The hard part when this is known, is to remember to “be yourself”. Be genuine and embrace what makes you, you.

Great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them.
Warren G. Bennis

StrengthsFinder 2.0 out of Gallup is a great starting point in this discovery. It will also be a resource to learn about those around you and what makes them tic. If you really live within your strengths, you will be genuine, happy and an influencer of others, as long as you remember to consider the you impact on your potential followers.

Question?

How do you think others perceive you?  Think of a close professional relationship and then ask yourself, “would their impression of themselves match your impression of them”?

 

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Stop Talking Start Communicating

Stop Talking Start Communicating http://tumlin.com/book/

Please check out Dr. Tumlin’s book. There is no better advice in life or business than this book. Should be a mandatory read.

There are no jerks, just different personalities.

Research shows we are quick to attribute someone’s “different” actions/words to a persons controlled attitude or behavior. When the shoe is on the other foot, we believe our own actions/words are a result of our situation or environment. Surely we can’t be the same as the jerk? -Right?-  Wrong!

We are all the same with some varying hard-wired circuitry in our brains that form our personality preferences. If you are right-handed and try to write with your left hand, it is very awkward.  The comfort of writing with a familiar hand is the same comfort we feel when acting/talking through the day. Whether or not you are an extrovert or introvert or you are more of a judger or perceiver, you are who you are.  Everyone else is actually like – no one else. Most importantly those others, are really not jerks, they are just who their personality preference shapes them to be.

The co-worker who is the downer or the one that questions everything you do is really not a bad person, they may be more comfortable within the frame of questioning or diligent oversight of tasks. When you understand it is usually not malicious, you can serve their individual personality comforts with what makes them tick (details, vision and clarity).  Usually the friction between people is really just misunderstood personality traits.

Personality isn’t something you can just change; it is more efficient to understand who you are and play to your strengths.  There are no “bad” personality preferences.  I’ll say this again, “there are no bad personality preferences”…  People will have varying degrees of personal strengths based on their brain circuitry. Personality will shine based on situation, degree of preference and the synergistic effect of another person’s personality. Understanding this is why people do and say what they do, should alleviate frustrations.  Rather than trying to convince someone you’re right they’re not, look at it from their personality and then re-think your approach, or maybe be open to the other side.

Communications is much more than just speaking or listening.  It is also reading the personality preferences of those around you and adjusting your message so that they understand you better.  It also helps if you can explain the whole personality type phenomenon to those close to you so they might understand you rather than thinking you’re the jerk….

Parting shot: Would love to hear your thoughts about the guy/gal who has always been “that” way. I would wager that’s just their comfort zone shining through and the perception you may hold could be the other side.  What do you think they would say about you?

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Good People make Good Leaders

Leading people means that they give you something very valuable, their trust in you to take them somewhere. Why would you give your trust to a “bad” person?  Why would you follow someone who you didn’t believe cared for you?  Well, there are a couple of reasons I can think of; 1. you need a paycheck, 2. you are stuck and are just waiting to jump ship to another job.  Both scenarios are of organizations that are most likely not productive or unhealthy.  With this bit of knowledge of followership, don’t we have the secrets to being a great leader? Be Good!!!

Your legacy in an organization starts on day one and builds to be your leadership potential.  If your potential is low, take an objective look back over your legacy in the eyes of your potential followers.  Would you admit that you may not be well liked, but think that doesn’t matter because you know the job better that others?

Followers will only follow rules to their stated limits. Followers that are inspired by a leader will always exceed expectations.  (Me and some old Himalayan Shaman)

I am proposing a new promotional process for our mid-level leadership. I want to interview and investigate past performance rather than a written test and assessment center evaluation. This has caused some consternation, and I understand why. There is a high probability that the process could end up as a “good ol boy” system. There is also a possibility I can change the culture to one that understands that a legacy is worth more in leadership than a good test day.  For the proposed process to work, I would have to build validation into our everyday culture that takes away the fears that our mid-level leaders can’t perform the job.  I’m hoping I have them exceeding expectations on a regular basis.

Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast, (Peter Drucker, and then everyone else in the business world)

If the organization can grasp the idea of a culture that fosters growth in each other as much as the organization as a whole, leadership will be abundant. Good leaders emerge from the good follower that passes it on to those around him. You don’t have to be an anointed leader to care for those around you. Caring for and fostering the team is where the informal leaders garner a following. It then becomes a small step to the position of leader because people are used to following you already.

Aways be paying it forward.

The Secrets of the Gods? (leadership isn’t one of them)

I always thought if I read and became the master of all the tenants of leadership, I would be a good leader of an organization.  Sounds reasonable to me right?  Maybe,….  not.

I had an awakening a short while ago and started to understand something about leadership. I came to the realization that a great organization is not guided by a good leader, as much as it is by the culture that is “curated” by the leader.  I know it has been written in every book, blog and billboard that culture eat’s strategy for breakfast. However, what about all those leadership skills and the library of books, presentations I’ve listened to that tells me how to be?  Well, that’s the focus for me a short while back.

A good leader must be proficient in all the ways of leadership; Drucker, Bennis, Collins, Maxwell, etc.. but the reality is they aren’t telling us anything new. Leadership philosophy goes back to the beginning of time and is really reflected in Greek Mythology with Prometheus, father of mankind, who was hated by Zeus because of Prometheus’s foresight. There are many examples if you accurately define “leadership”.  Rallying troops, building a community, spearheading a project with a groundswell of followers and on and on.

What is leadership? “The action of leading a group of people or organization”?
lead·er·ship
[lee-der-ship]
noun
1.
the position or function of a leader,  a person who guides or directs a group: He managed
to maintain his leadership of the party despite heavy opposition. Synonyms:
 administration,management, directorship, control, governorship,stewardship, hegemony.
2.
ability to lead: As early as sixth grade she displayed remarkable leadership potential.
Synonyms: authoritativeness, influence,command, effectiveness; sway, clout.
The definition of leadership is best defined by his followers (me and probably some butterfly sage)

I get it, and so do you, but it’s not that easy to figure out why some “leaders” are more successful than others. Some have a style that is conducive to a product or process that may not work in a different organization trying the same approach. You still need to be very familiar with and proficient in the leadership styles and doctrines because they all come into play for great leaders. Leadership will emerge in every organization, unfortunately it will emerge in the presence of the organizational leader (so anointed) and rise to undermine or redirect the flow to their vision if they are not lead as well.  This means you will need to bring many leadership skills to bear in the crusade to building an organization that will embrace a direction.  All of the leadership skills that are documented can be learned and practiced, but until you can orchestrate them all in a symphony that is worth listening to, they are just what to “do” rather than how to “be”.  (Those who have read this blog before know the “how to be rather than how to do” mantra.)

How is this accomplished?

  1. Great leaders have passion. Enthusiasm must show, and BS will be seen from a mile away.
  2. Great leaders have vision. You must be able to explicitly see the goal.
  3. Great leaders are good story tellers. Communicating the vision must be engaging and rememberable. (read up on storytelling as a leadership skill)
  4. Great leaders propagate the species. Teach leadership, grow leaders in your organization, and plant the seeds of your vision as you do.  (this is the big secret)

All this to say, It’s about creating a culture that embraces your philosophies and insights and takes them in a common direction. A great leader can be obscure and really unknown  if he/she has the ability to plant the seeds of a vision with the leaders that will naturally emerge in an organization. Build the culture with empowering the right people, drafting the right policies, and being cognizant of the environment that will naturally impact both. The most valuable leadership skill of all, is taking care of the human processes.