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.
Have you ever found a story that is so good that you created a blog post – simply to share the story?
I have. This is it.
The focus of this story (which I believe is true) deals with change. While most paradigm shifts within history used to take thousands of years (bronze age, silver age, iron age, etc), now they take place in less than a decade. The truth is: change is coming no matter how hard you fight against it.
Here’s the story:
Put on your chemist hat because I’d like to introduce you to RHODIUM.
Rhodium is a rare, hard, silvery-white, lustrous metal . It is highly reflective and extremely resistant to corrosion. It is not attacked by most acids. Rhodium appears on the periodic table with the atomic number 45 (don’t you just feel smarter knowing that?!).
One of the most important leadership lessons I’m learning and teaching right now is influenced by this precious metal. You might not be familiar with Rhodium unless you’ve recently purchased some jewelry made of white gold. Rhodium is used to both protect and add brilliance to white gold. Rhodium-coated white gold is better protected from scratches, tarnish, and makes it look more white and bright.
Basically, Rhodium enhances other elements.
Now I know you’ve heard of the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) and perhaps you’ve heard of the Platinum Rule (do unto others as they would have done unto them). I would like to offer The Rhodium Rule…
Do unto yourself what will inspire the best in others.
The Rhodium Rule focuses on leading yourself in such a way that it enhances the lives of others.
By now, you have probably heard about the tragic accident that took place on Friday, January 13, 2012. The Carnival Cruise Ship Costa Concordia ran aground just off the tiny Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy. The massive ship then capsized, killing 11 people (that they know of at the time of writing this) and injuring many more. The resulting chaos caused by this horrific accident was compounded by the outrageous lack of leadership demonstrated by the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino.
While I don’t know all of the details that led to capsizing the ship, I do know that what happened following the accident is a powerful case study in the need for leadership during times of crisis. Here are three initial observations:
If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a HUGE 49ers fan! (Huge=excited, passionate, loyal…not necessarily tied to one’s weight)
This past weekend, I witnessed one of the best 49ers games I’ve seen in quite awhile. The 49ers #1 defense against the unstoppable offense of the New Orleans Saints. Let’s just say that the game lived up to the hype.
The biggest thing I took away from the game was the sense of belief that was evident in the entire 49ers team. They played so well and so hard. Behind every ferocious hit there seemed to be an exclamation mark of belief.
The mantra throughout the entire season under new head coach, Jim Harbaugh, has been: Who has it better than us? No one!
And they believed it.
I’ve discovered there is one thing every effective leader has in common. It doesn’t have anything to do with one’s personality or achieving a certain position or even one’s leadership style.
It is the determination to lead yourself first. It is the ability to lead yourself well.
Introducing my latest book: Leadership Starts With You
As I work with emerging leaders, students who are knee deep in the laboratory of leadership, I’ve discovered that they’re not only learning to lead others well – they’re learning how to lead themselves well. In fact, more often than anything else, it is their inability to lead themselves that leads to their biggest mistakes, blunders, and outright failures.
Of course, that’s not just true for students, it’s true for everyone who seeks to serve others in a leadership role. Self-leadership precedes successful leadership. It’s true when you lead a club. It’s true when you lead a campus. It’s true when you lead a corporation.
I share why I wrote this book in the opening pages…
That’s why I’ve written this book. We need you. The people you lead or may someday lead need you on a regular and consistent basis. We need you to lead yourself well so you can lead others well. The investment you make in you is actually an investment in those whom you’ll influence.
At this point, I’m making the book available as a digital download (pdf, kindle, and soon on the nook). There’s a lot of information about what’s inside on the book’s webpage (www.leadershipstartswithyou.com). It’s a fairly quick read at just over 17,000 words. But the principles and insights you takeaway will stick with you for quite awhile. Here are some of the highlights:
The eight year drought is over.
The San Francisco 49ers, under the direction of new head coach, Jim Harbaugh, ended the season 13-3, NFC West Division winners, and 2nd in the NFC overall. They’ll enjoy a one week bye before stepping into the NFL Playoffs.
As a fan for many years I want to congratulate the San Francisco 49ers. I hope they continue to “shake their opponents’ hands a little too hard” in the playoffs.