Life has its seasons, doesn’t it? That said, personally, I am lately in a great season of life. Yet the challenges of times past and times yet to come are ever present in my soul.
And it is a fact of leadership-life that those who walk in leadership roles for any length of time will encounter adversity due to their role and responsibilities. And so it was with a family friend recently.
It is easy to enter the word “trending” into the search bar a my web browser and find out what the current social media conversation is all about at any given time. It is simple to “discern” the modern conversational trends.
The larger question for a person in leadership is not, “What is trending?” Rather the higher calling of those who lead is, “What trend am I setting?”
Last week I spoke to a situation where a business skipped past the process of defining the purpose of their enterprise in favor of hiring a charismatic quarterback to infuse new life into the enterprise.
I shared my analysis as follows: They traded purpose for personality (read here).
As is always the case with a short commentary, there is more to the story.
A number of months ago I was consulting with a non-profit organization that was floundering at a point of transition. Leadership was passive and the team was discouraged. They called and scheduled a meeting and asked, “What should we do?”
In predictable fashion (for those who know me), I encouraged the founders to revisit their purpose; to answer the question, “Why?”
They listened with interest and we parted so they could ponder their options. Several weeks later I received a call and we scheduled a time to meet again.
One of the key roles in leadership is solving problems as they arise. And even though most of us will never be in the position of facing the problem of solving a hostage stand-off, the tools utilized by professional negotiators in such situations are certainly transferrable – at least in principle – to the general topic of problem solving.
Leadership is as much an art as it is a science or a set of practical skills (that said, behavioral science and practical skills are indeed important).
Above all else, however, the character of a leader is the preeminent priority.
With that thought in mind, I am always on the lookout for a concise summary that delineates character in a manner that provides a balance of perspective. This week I ran across a list of leadership imperatives by Jim Rohn, an American entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker.
The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
— Theodore Roosevelt
Delegation is an essential skill-set for any of us who will find ourselves called upon to lead. As we have said before, in reality the best person for the job is not any one individual… rather, the best person for the job is a team.
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch
There are two very lucid and yet simple points articulated by the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch (quoted and pictured above). The first is the purpose of learning; the second is who can benefit from what we have learned.