I’ll often get asked what it takes to be a great leader. Those asking the question are typically looking for one or two standout, key principles or characteristics. They want it simple and succinct.
I’ll be honest here, my answer to that question often changes. Leadership is a matter of context, so I’ll often tell them it depends. When pressed further, I’ll usually respond with something that’s a combination of taking responsibility, achieving results, and building relationships.
But last week, I blurted out an answer that I hadn’t shared before. It kind of caught me off guard. A student posed the question and I looked him straight in the eye and said…
If you want to be a great leader, you must learn to be a great follower.
We have a couple of weeks until the start of our Fall Semester. It’s GO time!
This is an exciting time of year in the life of student leadership. Our student leaders are arriving on campus a few days before everyone else to get everything ready. It’s time to put our plans into action. It’s time to see how all of our preparation pays off.
When you’re properly prepared, you are better able to take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. You have a much better shot at doing excellent work. When you aren’t prepared, you can’t see the opportunities because you’re just trying to do enough to get by.
I tried out a new workout yesterday at a place called 9Round. It combines cross fit and kickboxing training moves into a fast-paced workout at nine different stations. You walk in, jump in, and go hard for 30 minutes.
During the workout I saw a poster displaying the core values of 9Round. It was inspiring (you can view it here). It also had one of the best definitions for the word “focus” I’ve ever seen…
Follow One Course Until Successful
In the daily grind to get things done, I find myself bouncing around from task to task. I dabble when I need to focus. This keeps me from being as productive as I could be.
Tony Robbins acknowledges this when he says, “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”
I recognize my tendency to dabble and have learned some ways to increase my mental focus and get a lot of work done in a short period of time.
I am constantly on the lookout for students who have the potential to lead. When I find them, I ask them this question: Have you ever considered applying or running for a student leadership position?
I want to encourage people to lead. The only way one truly learns to lead is by actually leading.
Most of the articles I write on this site are meant to encourage you to move into a leadership role, to improve your leadership skills, and to inspire you to step up and guide a group of people in a common purpose and goal.
This is not one of those posts. Today I want to try and talk you out of it.
Maybe you can relate to the following scenario…
I have a task that I need to do. I know it needs to be done because I wrote it down on my to-do list. I know it needs to be done today because I put today’s date next to it as a deadline. I have everything I need to be able to successfully accomplish this task. I have the skill, I have the ability, and I have the time. But there is one thing I lack that is keeping me from starting…
I don’t feel like doing it.
I’ll be honest with you. I face this type of situation all…the…time.
Somewhere between dreaming, scheming, planning, strategizing, and organizing I lose the motivation for the doing part. I have all of the tools and resources and time to get something done, but I just don’t feel like doing it.
Fortunately, I’ve learned the secret formula to get past this. You’ll be amazed at how effective it is.
The stuff of life can pile up quickly. Each day I accumulate new to-do’s, countless pieces of paper, unforeseen problems, random interruptions and numerous distractions. Over time, I begin to form piles. Piles on my desk. Piles in my mind. Piles around the goals I’m working to accomplish. In order to be productive, I must do battle with the clutter.
The clutter is a source of stress if it’s not addressed. Sometimes I don’t do anything because I’m so overwhelmed by everything. But ignoring the piles only makes them bigger. And as the piles grow, I have this gnawing feeling that I’ve forgotten something important.
Over the years I’ve accumulated some bits of organizational wisdom that help me wage war against the clutter. I hope you find it helpful in tackling the piles in your life.
I have a love/hate relationship with meetings.
I love them when they’re necessary.
I hate them when they’re full of unnecessary elements (like my presence).
I love them when they move us forward.
I hate them when they don’t move us any closer to our goal.
I love them when they take less time than allotted.
I hate them when they take more time than needed.
I love them when they clarify.
I hate them when they confuse.
I love them when I know what’s required of me at the end.
I hate them when I wonder why I was required to attend.
Meetings have to happen if we’re going to take a group of people and accomplish something worthwhile. The difficulty lies in knowing how to create meetings people will love rather than the kind people will hate.
The following is a guest post by Scott McGinty.
Look at a CEO of a fortune 500 company, get a sense of their personality, and then look at the CEO of a successful startup. Chances are, they’re going to be very different. One would have the mindset of relating to their employees and making a fun environment, after all, most start up’s have passionate CEO’s. Larger firms CEO’s will be more distant, and much more professional, with investors in mind. Either way though, the company leader’s identity and organizational psychology, helps guide the business foundation on vision, principles, strategy, goals and most of all, business communication.
Successful business leaders know how to keep moral high during the daily and sometimes mundane essential work that needs to be done to reach goals and finish projects efficiently and effectively.