Leadership Is Constant: 5.0

November 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last of a series taking a look at Robert Thomas’ book, Crucibles Of Leadership.

Learning is never just for the sake of learning. I think learning is about preparation. Preparation for what is coming next for you. For what is around the corner. For the leader, the one stepping out into murky, sometimes frightening and unpopular arenas, what we learn from a crucible can prepare us for the next one. And it can help us coach someone else through a similar crucible, which in turn, allows for us to learn by teaching.

On page 96, Thomas writes:

Understanding what motivates you–what influences the way you think and behave in the most fundamental ways–will make it easier for you to identify and exploit learning opportunities for yourself, particularly crucible experiences. Likewise, understanding how and when you learn best helps sustain your motivation to grow and learn as a leader.

So, learning and motivation are a linked pair. Understanding what motivates you to learn and the understanding how you learn best and when (in what environment) is critical, and, to get those answers, you must go deep. Once you are there, you become a changed person.

But you must go deep. It’s murky, frightening, and sometimes unpopular.

But you must go deep.


Why gratitude is uncommon

December 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Uncommon because we are too focused on ourselves, instead of others, or we are simply unaware of what’s happening around us. Perhaps those are the same things. Can’t have one without the other.

I was in a meeting recently that was held in the weekend home of a friend of a friend. At meeting’s end, someone said, “I know this is old school, but could we have the address of the home owner to write them a ‘thank you?'” I was so glad the question was asked and terrified that somehow writing a thank you note is termed “old school.”

A brief map for expressing gratitude:

Good: A thank you expressed in an email (a good effort, not bad, provided people check their email)

Better: A thank you expressed in a text (easiest and quickest, more likely read and seen than email)

A hundred times more effective than text and email: A thank  you expressed in ink. On paper. (Most impressive, most memorable, most remarkable, and necessitates most time and energy from you)

In a sentence:

The absence of gratitude welcomes the disease of entitlement.

Do you make your own decisions?

December 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sooner or later you have to decide.

Decide whether or not you will choose courage and push your idea forward.

Decide to risk ridicule from others.

Decide to risk being misunderstood, or worse, categorized.

Decide that you (and only you) can make that decision.

What are you waiting for?

Someone else?

Take Action or just Talk, Talk, Talk

November 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

“We need to develop the pipeline!”

“I’m about growing talent!”

All nice mantras.

The difference between the effective leader and the abdicating leader is that one actually makes the decision and exhibits those mantras by their actions, and the other just talks about them.

Which one are you?

Self-evaluation is never accurate. Ever.

November 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Question for you:

How well do you love and serve your wife? Husband? Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Partner?

It’s an critical question because, if we are serving and loving them well, then we are likely doing the same for those we work with everyday.

One last thing…

How you and I answer the above question doesn’t matter much.

However, how that person (Husband, wife, ect) answers the question about us, now that matters.


Leadership Is Constant in Crucibles 4.0

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Continuing exploration of Robert Thomas’ book, Crucibles Of Leadership.

“Both as children and as adults, we learn to anticipate pain effectively only if someone first sits beside us while we learn to bear current anxiety.”

Crucibles should never be experienced alone.

We need the voice and touch and ears of another who can speak truth to us, who loves us and helps us navigate through  the crucible. The role of this person, however, is not to take the crucible from us. It’s our crucible, not theirs, and we have to take great caution to make sure we don’t give the crucible over to another.

A trusted friend, mentor, coach can serve as a rock for us during an otherwise dicey storm. Our responsibility to be completely transparent with this person about the crucible we are experiencing.

Don’t hold anything back and don’t attempt to self-preserve. If it’s truly the right person, one who accepts us unconditionally, there is no need to be anything but transparent.

Leadership Is Constant in Crucibles 3.0

April 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Continuing exploration of Robert Thomas’ book, Crucibles Of Leadership. In the book, Thomas discusses traits of the leaders he interviewed for his research and found the majority to be what he calls,

“Ego-less leaders. They are constantly in search of new ideas and new ways of thinking about and solving perennial problems…these leaders refuse to let what they know get in the way of learning new things.”

It seems to me that these leaders are the type of people who refuse to blame others for their situation. They are not stubborn, but open-handed. Not high and mighty, but desiring to serve instead be served. Not loud and obnoxious to be noticed, but quietly wise. Not needing to always be upfront, but allowing others to lead.

These are leaders who recognize that, although they may have a lot of years of experience, their best learning and discovery yet awaits.


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