I am taking a break from writing for a few days to strategize for the second half of 2012 and for a speaking engagement in Southern California. While I’m away, I’m re-posting some of my most popular posts from the last year. I hope you enjoy reading or re-reading these posts. I’ll be back and better than ever on July 16, 2012!
Leadership requires a balance between an awareness of one’s self and others. If a leader is too focused on self, he or she is labeled egocentric. But if all of the attention is placed on others, a leader can quickly become unhealthy and unaware of his or her own personal pitfalls.
It’s a skill that considers the “me” and the “they” in an effort to create an “us” that’s moving in a specific direction, toward a certain goal.
Balance is something that takes hard work to capture and then more hard work to maintain. It requires constant correction. The trick is finding out what types of outcomes need correcting.
While it’s difficult to measure things like intent and motive, we can measure behavior. I suggest that one of the ways we can do this is by beginning with the end in mind. Let’s identify certain outcomes, in this case, leadership outcomes that relate to effectiveness.
I am taking a break from writing for a few days to evaluate the second half of 2012 and for a speaking engagement in Southern California. While I’m away, I’m re-posting some of my most popular posts from the last year. I hope you enjoy reading or re-reading these posts. I’ll be back and better than ever on July 16, 2012!
Think about all of the people you encounter on a daily basis. Each of those encounters has the potential to move you closer to the person (intimacy) or farther away from the person (estrangement). At times it may appear that an encounter has no effect, but I’m not so sure that’s true.
Relationships aren’t static. They’re always moving, fluctuating, and changing.
For this post, I want to illustrate each encounter as a loop on a path, much like you would see on a roller coaster. If you’re moving down the track and encounter a loop, it requires momentum and energy to climb the loop.
Yet the loop also creates momentum and energy as you start back down the other side. If you have enough momentum to climb the loop, you can make it all the way around and continue on the track with sustained momentum. But if something happens along the way and you fail to navigate the loop properly, the loop becomes a barrier to successfully moving forward.
Which is better: to accomplish eight things that people would consider a “3” on a scale of 1-10; or accomplish three things that people would consider an “8”? People are impressed by excellence. Mediocrity is so average that others don’t even recognize it. A great illustration of this is juggling. I can juggle three balls pretty well. People watch me juggle three balls and they think, “Wow, he’s a good juggler.” But the moment you throw that fourth ball into the mix, there are balls all over the floor. Over and over, I drop the balls. When people see this they think, “Man…we need to find ourselves a new juggler.” It’s your call. You can say “yes” to a lot of things or just a few things. But the more you carry, the more you dilute your chances of being excellent.
#4 YOU’RE DEAD IF YOU MISS DEADLINES.
When you, as a student leader, agree to a deadline, you are making a promise. When you miss your deadline, you aren’t keeping your promise. Deadlines are typically necessary because other people are relying on the work you are doing. Deadlines are expectations that work will be done. If you want to impress people, get your work done before a stated deadline. The time to negotiate a deadline is when you’re creating or accepting it. Try this: Push a deadline out a bit further and then turn your stuff in early. People will think you’re amazing, organized, disciplined, dependable, and a valued member of the team.
#5 MAKE SURE PEOPLE ARE “IN THE KNOW.”
For most people, the ability to predict the future with 100% accuracy is only a wish that will never come true. Life has a way of happening. Circumstances mess up the best strategies and plans. When you find yourself with an unforeseen obstacle, let somebody know. If you’re going to be a little late – tell someone. If you’ve got a problem, be honest about it. When your list of “If’s” starts growing…make sure you’re communicating. The worst thing that a student leader can do is to withdraw, thinking that she can handle everything on her own. When people are kept in the loop, then they’re not surprised. People like surprises for birthdays and holidays. But they don’t like surprises when all of a sudden you’ve blindsided them with your inability to meet expectations or commitments. The rule of thumb is: as soon as you know let someone else know.
In just a few short weeks, we will begin the process of selecting and electing new student leaders. We have a variety of ways for students to get involved on our campus. But there are some students who want to do a little more. They don’t want to simply be involved, they want to be influential. They are already thinking about stepping in and stepping up for one of our student leadership positions.
I always have my eye out for potential leaders. The process is more of an art form than a science. I want to be able to identify those students who appear to rise to the top and exhibit some natural leadership abilities at the start. Potential is often hard to spot if you don’t know what you’re looking for. For some, it might be helpful to know what you’re NOT looking for. This might be as important as knowing what you ARE looking for.
Here are seven types of student leaders I try to avoid.
It may feel like a loss is based on one play. But it isn’t.
It may seem like the pain of losing will never fade. But it will.
It may look like you can’t bounce back. But you can.
Just came across this recording of Ray Lewis, middle linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens and easily a Hall of Famer, speaking to his teammates after their loss to the New England Patriots this past Sunday. The Patriots go to the Super Bowl. The Ravens go home. The Ravens lost by three points. What makes it even harder to swallow is that they looked like the better team throughout the game. Listen in.
It’s easy to lead a winning team. Everyone likes to be on a winning team. But losing exposes who you really are. When a team loses, you get to see what kind of leader a person really is.
The truth is, crisis can build character. But it also exposes it. I love what I saw out of Ray Lewis. Respect for that guy continues to grow.
UPDATE: Got a link to the Ray Lewis speech unedited.
Somewhere…someplace…someone is stepping down from a leadership position.
It’s not because they didn’t do their job right. It’s not because they went over budget. It’s not even because the majority of people no longer followed their leadership anymore. It’s something else.
There is a growing percentage of leaders who have to step away from leading others because they failed to lead themselves well first. They had all of the right capabilities but they lacked the character to sustain their leadership.
The truth is, you can be a leader with poor character…just not for very long.
In our quest to find authentic leaders, we want to follow someone who is the person they claim to be (both in public and in private). We not only want a leader with good character, we want someone with consistently good character.