19 Random Leadership Thoughts From My Moleskine

I will often be asked how I find the time, ideas, and insights for the posts I write here on timmilburn.com.

My response: Everyday. Everywhere.

I carry a Moleskine notebook with me all the time (Steve Farber calls this a WUP). When I observe something or have a few moments to reflect – I start writing. Over time, those thoughts find their way into posts, lessons, training material, etc. Some of them simply live in my notebook.

So here’s about 19 (well, it’s exactly 19) orphan thoughts that have yet to find a home (until now!). They are fairly random. Perhaps you’ll find them useful for your own reflection or writing. If one of them evolves into a blog post for you…let me know!

1. Information comes from a variety of sources. If I’m not tapping into that variety, I have a narrow perspective.

2. The work I’m doing is important to my organization. Do I know how it is important? Can I communicate in one or two sentences how it supports the organization? If it doesn’t support my organization, why am I you doing it?

3. Watch how my team members work together. It will give me some telling clues about their productivity on an individual level as well.

4. Motivation is an inside job. If I know what the motivations and capabilities are of the members of my team, I’ll know what buttons to push.

5. Speaking of knowing motivations and capabilities, do I know what motivates me? Do I know what I’m capable of? For example, I know that when the conversation turns towards strategic thinking, I get motivated.

6. So therefore, when it comes to strategic thinking, since that’s one of my capabilities and something that motivates me, I want to be involved. Do I know what makes my team members want to be involved? Hint: It’s not doing something they’re not very good at.

7. Stand up for what is important.

8. I love a plan just as much as the next guy. But I must also be willing to flex that plan when circumstances change or the situation warrants an adjustment. I know this sounds contradictory to #7, but that’s leadership.

9. I know the strategy of what I’m doing, but do I know how my strategy, how my team’s strategy, how my department’s strategy, all the strategies fit into the organization’s strategy? I think I do…I need to think about this one some more.

10. What does the future look like? Well, if I get to draw the picture, I want to make it look brighter than today. I could decide to paint a bleak picture, but who wants to follow a leader who bears negative tidings for the rest of us. I vote to instill hope and paint a positive future.

11. ONobr fejnf psoinf wein! Will anyone understand that? No? Of course not, it’s just gibberish. But if I, as the leader, am not communicating clearly, especially in regards to expectations…I might as well close my eyes and hit random keys on the keyboard. I’ll get the same results.

12. It’s good to connect to a person’s mind when guiding them in a new direction. It’s even better to connect to a person’s heart when guiding them in a new direction.

13. Sometimes the members of my team need to know that I care about them more than I care about the results of the team. Sometimes my care for the team may get in the way of results. It’s a balance that calls for leadership.

14. I must be confident in the abilities of others or I will be tempted to micromanage them.

15. Keeping score is a great way to tell if I’m making progress. If people get upset with me for keeping score, they aren’t very concerned about progress. I want to keep score in regards to tasks and projects. I don’t want to keep score in relationships. I want to always add more than I take away.

16. If someone has a great talent, I want to find ways for them to develop that talent even further.

17. I will stand up and applaud the contributions of others. I will cheer louder than the rest for what other people accomplish.

18. I work hard to be a leader. So do others. I must allow them to feel and act like leaders.

19. Have I asked a question today that made someone think?

There’s my random thoughts. Do you have any you’d like to add? Leave them in the comments below. Let’s see if we can get up to 30 random thoughts!

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.jchblog.com @jordancarlhunt

    Some of these ring very true for me. Thank you for sharing!

    • tim milburn

      You bet Jordan. Hope you’re doing well.

  • http://Www.robertsoncooper.com Ben Moss

    Thanks for sharing this- some good challenges and useful reminders. I’d like to add one if I may: ‘Am I sufficiently aware of how my behaviour affects the psychological well-being and engagement of my team and my peers? Do I model the right behaviours in this respect and how might I need to flex my natural style to have a better impact sometimes?’

    All the best,
    Ben – MD of business psychology firm in the UK
    @psycho_boss

    • tim milburn

      Appreciate your addition Ben. Great insight and questions.

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