Overlooking “Capability”  for “Like-ability” 

Capable - Likeable

One of the biggest problem that I see in many organizations is our willingness to overlook “capability” for “like-ability.”

What does that mean?

It means that many times we are more interested in whether or not our leader is “like-able” and less interested in whether or not they are actually capable of exhibiting and demonstrating leadership.  This can have tragic affects

This phenomenon is not as common in the commercial world.  The business world often cares much more about whether or not you can do the job than whether or not you can be a leader.  There is not often much thought given to how the rest of the employees “feel” about the boss or the leader.

Here is where we see leaders who have progressed through the ranks of an organization and have reached a leadership level through hard work, dedication and a proven track record of success.  They have been mentored by other leaders who have proven track records of success.  They sometimes just aren’t that like-able.  And they often don’t particularly care if they are liked.

To back that premise up, research shows that average Emotional Intelligence scores plummet higher up the corporate ladder beyond the supervisor level. The theory is that people get promoted based upon results, even if their people skills are lacking. As leadership coaches, folks like me are working desperately to change that. But the phenomenon remains.

And I suppose all of this begs a few questions:

  1. Would a leader rather be liked or trusted?
  2. Would a leader rather be popular or right?
  3. Would a leader rather be successful or loved?
  4. Is “like-ability” even something that a leader should be concerned about?

There are so many angles that this thought process could take.

What if . . .

Strategic Leadership’s Distinct Roles

Distinct Roles

I have spent a great deal of time in my last few articles camping out on the subject of strategic leadership.  We have examined the ancient roots of it.  We have also looked at the circle of leadership.

In this article I want to bring the topic to a close and look at some of the distinctive roles that strategic leaders must fulfill.  Consider if you will these seven distinct roles for strategic leaders.

Providing Direction — The word “leadership” derives from an Anglo-Saxon word, laed, which means “road, path, track or the course of a ship at sea.” Leaders provide the directional guidance for their followers.  Further, they ensure that everyone is moving the the proper direction.  Just moving is not enough.  We must be moving in the right direction.

Thinking and Planning — Strategic leaders decide the direction through strategic thinking and planning. They go on to develop the best strategy to guide your processes, and then they implement it. Thinking and planning without an ability to execute is ultimately worthless.

Motivation and the Greater Good

Motivation and the Greater Good

I want to take a moment to examine the heart, character, inner thoughts and motives of one who desires to lead. This is a helpful practice that we each ought to engage in on a regular basis. Without self-examination, accountability and attention to moral development even the best of leaders will slowly drift and become overtaken by the allure of power, pleasure, greed and self-satisfying behaviors.

At the heart of every leadership attitude and behavior should be the inherent desire to help our fellow humans. Leadership is not some kind of encapsulated behavior that gets things done without human interaction or personal influence. Instead leadership is with and for people. Leadership is for the purpose of getting something done (for the purpose of the greater good of humanity) or for the purpose of shaping and influencing someone (for the purpose of the greater good of that person). And so we must examine our own hearts.

leadership is with and for people

Why do I lead?

Much of the time we lead others because it is part of our job description. In some way, shape or form our position requires us to “lead” a group of people in order to get a job done for the organization for which we work. However, if we begin digging down,

Lead Yourself First!

Bicycle - Lead Yourself First

I have found myself doing some internal reflection lately. I have figured out, that for me to be effective as a leader, I need to be able to lead myself. And, no I don’t mean this as another do as I do kind of article.

The truth is I have always wanted to help others, but I haven’t always made them a priority. I have always wanted to be a hard conscientious worker, but sometimes I let the wrong things take up the majority of my time. I have spent the last few weeks reflecting on some observations. I have done some research and I want to share some of my findings.

What I’ve learned is, that unless you’re able to lead yourself, you won’t be effective in leading others. You can certainly inspire them or you can entertain them, but to take them places they can’t go by themselves, they have to want to follow you. And like it or not, your example speaks louder than your words. Your example impacts your followers desire to follow you and it impacts the model of work that they adopt. My hard work begets hard work in those following me.

I like to compare leading yourself to riding a bicycle. To go anywhere, you have to remember four principles:

Kickstand principle:  You don’t go anywhere on a bicycle with your kickstand down. You have to kick it up and get on the bike. This is the only way to defeat the law of inertia. Leaders have to have purpose to get going. The have to put themselves in motion.  So many people are waiting for God to tell them what to do. God is usually waiting for us to look at what he already told us to do and start doing something, anything.

Is Self-Esteem Affecting Your Leadership?

Self-Esteem

Leadership is as much about emotions as it is about skills. You can easily gain a working knowledge of leadership and all the “actions” necessary to make you an effective leader by taking courses and by reading books.

However, knowing them and applying them are two different things.

Often, our personal leadership is affected, not so much by what we don’t know how to do, but by what we are unwilling to do. And being unwilling to do the hard things required of a leader is often caused by fear and lack of self-esteem.

Self-esteem has two components: It is made up largely of how we see ourselves and how we see others.

First, let’s look at how we see ourselves. – By definition, self-esteem is about how we esteem ourselves.  In other words, it is about how we see ourselves and feel about ourselves when we look in the mirror every morning.

Second, it is about how we see others. – But even that is really a reflection of how we see ourselves.  If we envision everyone around us as being smarter or better qualified than we are, then that is perhaps not a reflection of their skills being greater as much as viewing our own skills as being lesser.  Size is a relative thing.  And if we don’t feel we measure up, everyone tends to look bigger in our own eyes.

Self-esteem has an impact upon how we think, how we feel, how we perform, and our results. It is not a stretch to then say that if the results you are getting from your team do not match your expectations, then possibly the problem may not be with your team.  The problem may involve your self-image, your view, and your approach to leadership.

A strong leader must take a good look at their self-image and be introspective enough to consider how our behaviors impact our team.

The following behaviors just may be a signal that your self-esteem is preventing you from effectively leading.

Three Circles of Leadership

Three Circles

A few weeks ago I took a look at the ancient roots of strategic leadership.  In case you missed that article, click here and you can get up to speed with my stream of thought that leads us to today’s article.

Socrates observed similarities between businesspeople and generals. Socrates was convinced that a meaningful parallel existed in a businessperson’s focus on profit and loss and the military general’s focus on victory and defeat.

In order be successful as a strategic leader, you must first understand your responsibilities as a strategic leader.  Picture, if you will,  three interlocking circles: “Task, Team and Person.” Each circle represents an “area of need” that you must master, and each skill contains proficiencies that overlap with the others.  Consider these three:

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Livin’ for the moment . . .

Living for the moment

I’m just livin’ for the moment . . .

How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said that?

One of the definitions that I found for this phrase is as follows:

“To live or act without worrying about the future.”

So, I could say that I am living for the moment[.] – Period. Full stop.

To live in the moment, or to live in the now, means being conscious, aware and in the present with all of your senses. It means not dwelling on the past, nor being anxious or worrying about the future.

When we concentrate our attention on the present we focus on the task at hand. We give our full attention to what we are doing and we let go of outcomes.

Seizing each moment in life allows us to prolong its value and make it more meaningful. Rather than seeking quantity of time, when we live in the moment we enjoy and savor every minute. We don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.

I am fully onboard with the sentiment expressed in these thoughts. As long as we don’t overdo them with psychobabble that no one really understands. In fact, I can embrace the sentiment. Living in the moment allows me to focus on what is before me. My wife, my children, my grandchildren. The thrust of this is to put away the distractions and focus on what is present and not what has happened or may happen.

Or, I could say that I am living for the moment [. . . ] – Ellipsis. To show an unfinished thought.

Spring Break Ideas for Dad

Spring Break Ideas for Dad

According to recent magazine article, a Swiss company will take the ashes of a dead relative and turn them into a synthetic diamond that you can wear for less than $10,000. That is a little creepy.  But that’s one way to be remembered, I suppose.

I know many of us can’t take off all week and be with our children.  But Spring Break is upon us and this is a great week to make memories with your kids that will last a lifetime.  And you can do it without the “break” in Spring Break be the breaking of the bank!  In fact, some of the ideas won’t cost you a dime!

Spring Break week ends on Friday the 13th here in Humble, TX. So, here are 13 memory-making things to do with your kids this week: