Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership Workshop

Really looking forward to talking about one of my favorite leadership topics – Servant Leadership. I have the great opportunity to speak to a room full of marketing professionals about how servant leadership may transform their organizations.

Servant Leadership Workshop on August 17th at 1:30pm at SMPS Build Business 2018 in San Diego, CA at the fabulous Marriott Marquis at the Marina.

 

 

The Emotionally Agile Leader

My Big Announcement

My latest book is about to be published! The book, The Emotionally Agile Leader is the culmination of nearly two years of writing, editing, and preparing to launch my perspective on emotional intelligence as it manifests itself in the life of a leader.

I have been teasing this announcement for several weeks while I have been taking a break from regular writing and posting on the website. And today I want to announce that the book will soon be available in several outlets. Final distribution details are still being finalized. But, we are just a few short weeks away from The Emotionally Agile Leader going on sale!

What is an emotionally agile leader?

The best way to understand the basis for the book is to realize that we live in a chaotic world. Some of us are called to leadership positions in the midst of that chaos. How will we act and react when that happens? The leaders who will succeed in these times are the ones who are emotionally agile. That is the basis for The Emotionally Agile Leader. 

As emotionally agile leaders, we must not merely adapt. We must be agile. Being adaptive does indeed indicate a change. But the change can be imperceptibly slow. The change can be evolutionary and not revolutionary. It can be like a giant battleship or aircraft carrier. These ships must have the ability to turn and maneuver. And they do. They just can’t do it fast. It takes time and distance to turn a giant ship around. 

Contrast that with the image of a Vietnam era “swift boat.” These boats were small shallow-draft vessels used to patrol the coastal and inland waterways of the Mekong Delta. As their name would indicate, they were small, fast, and highly maneuverable craft.

In the pages of the book you will get:

  • A refresher on Emotional Intelligence
  • A call to introspection as a means of identifying the key emotions that drive our behaviors
  • Tools to manage your own emotions that affect your leadership abilities
  • Habits to form to increase your leadership abilities
  • And an invitation and methodology to create more emotionally agile leaders as you mentor other leaders around you

What are folks saying about the book?

What are folks saying who have read the advanced reader copy (ARC) of the manuscript?. I have gotten overwhelmingly positive responses from folks who have received and read the ARC. Friends, business leaders, academics, entrepreneurs and fellow leaders are saying great things about the book. Just take a look at the book launch trailer video and get a sense of what some are saying about The Emotionally Agile Leader. 

Would you like to be a part of the Launch Team?

I already have a launch team of more than 50 folks who have seen the value of the material in The Emotionally Agile Leader and who are committed to helping spread the word via social media. Would you like to be a part of the Launch Team? If so, click this button below and send me an email and I will add you to the team. I will be sending the launch team a dedicated message and will be giving them some advance content not yet available to the public and will have some special gifts for those who rise to the challenge to help spread the message via social media and other channels of communication with their circle of influence.

Will you help me launch The Emotionally Agile Leader? Will you be a part of the team? Will you start by clicking one of the buttons below and then will you come back here and share this big announcement to your social media network via one of the social media icons above the article or that are on the left side of your screen if you are on a computer and across the bottom of the screen if you are on a mobile device? That is what I need to start generating some excitement and to make this book a big success.

Thank you!

I want to be on the Launch Team!

Click here to visit the book launch website!

Still on a bit of a hiatus

And still working on the details of the big announcement


I hope that you and your family have had an opportunity to take some time this summer and get away to rest, relax, refresh, and revitalize the most important relationships on the earth. I have been very fortunate to have taken some time to be with family in a spectacular setting. And I have been enjoying doing some work in the background on a big announcement.

Thanks for being patient with me as I work through some details and logistical matters. My hope is that it will be worth it and that the time working behind the scenes will have been well spent.

Have a great week and I will be making the big announcement soon.

By the way, I have given you a clue in the graphic image in the last post. And there is another clue in this one. Some of you may have picked up on it. Some of you may not. But, I hope it will make sense to you soon and you will see the clues in the light of their obvious meaning after the announcement.

Have a great week!

Even Leaders Need Help

Or, maybe I should say, especially leaders need help.

With as much humility as I can muster, I will say that I am a very comfortable public speaker. It is one of my strengths. But, there are a lot of areas where I have weaknesses. The older that I get, the more that technology has become a weakness.

More than admitting a weakness

There is more to this little moment of transparency than just admitting a weakness. This is about being self-aware enough to know your strengths and weaknesses. Clint Eastwood gave us a memorable line from his 1973 sequel to Dirty Harry, entitled Magnum Force. He said in that movie, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” It seems the older that I get, the more in touch I am with my limitations. 

Knowing one’s limitations is just another way of expressing one of the key components of emotional intelligence. Knowing our limitations is being self-aware. And self-awareness leads to being able to self-manage.

What does this look like from a practical standpoint?

I am in the midst of some very significant changes in my writing and coaching practice. Some of those changes are requiring a huge technological component in order to support my mission and goals going forward. And I do not have the skills necessary to perform much of the work that will need to be done. 

That is a hard thing for me to admit. I have more than 20 years in various areas of the IT industry. I have managed areas of a data center, I have managed software development teams, and I have managed It operations. Unfortunately, the last time I had a real IT job was 17 years ago. And yet today, I am totally out of my depth when it comes to technology. If I stray too far from my Mac and iPhone, I am in unfamiliar territory. And, truthfully, I don’t know a whole lot about my Mac and iPhone!

What is the practical application of this self-awareness?

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Are You a Visionary Leader?

And is vision alone enough?

I am fortunate to be involved with several non-profit organizations. They range from religious, to academic, to secular. Even those that are not religious know one of the passages in the Bible that deal with vision. Here is that often misquoted or misused scripture 

“Where there is no vision, the people perish”. 

It is found in the Old Testament in Proverbs 29:18. It is used many times from the pulpit to exhort us to catch the vision that the pastor has seen and to press us onward to the destination seen in the vision.

But I submit to you that there is a BIG difference between being a visionary and being a leader. And I ask the larger question: Is having a great vision enough? Beyond having a vision, is having one and being able to communicate it, enough?

What is a “visionary?”

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Proof of Leadership

Is there a “test” for leadership?

It is easy to look like a leader when everything is going well. I think we can make the argument that everything is not going well. We are living in difficult days. I am speaking globally. And I am speaking about our nation. And I am speaking about the great state of Texas. And I am speaking about my own little life.

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.

Publilius Syrus

Nobody panic. All is well in my home. I just love a great quote and this is one of my favorites. What does it mean? To me, it is about the difference between being a leader and just looking like a leader.

To my friends and family, there is no need for alarm. I am very blessed. But here is the reality of life as I see it.

Globally – We are seeing world events take place that may bring to resolution a conflict that my father was a part of 68 years ago on the Korean Peninsula. The world watches and waits.

Nationally – Our nation is on the verge of cultural and class warfare.

Texas – Here in Texas we are engaged again in a battle to see if we are conservative enough. Is there a “litmus test” for conservatism? I don’t know for sure. And if so, would I pass it? Would you?

Home – Home is where I find joy and contentment and love and acceptance. I am blessed beyond measure with a family that is strong and courageous and loving and caring. But there are still struggles every day that are common to many of you who read these words.

So, is there a test that determines if you are a leader or not?

It is easy to lead when times are easy.

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Don’t Be Afraid To Look Funny

Words of Wisdom from an Unsuccessful Presidential Candidate

I am putting the final touches on a manuscript. One of the tasks given to me by my editor is to chase down a quote that I plan to use to drive home a point in one of the chapters toward the end of the book. I have said many times that I truly love a great and pithy little quote. And this one from Adlai Stevenson is no exception.

Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (5 February 1900 – 14 July 1965) was an American politician and statesman. He was known as a skillful orator and debater. He served as a Governor of Illinois and he was twice an unsuccessful candidate for President of the United States. He mounted unsuccessful campaigns running against Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and again in 1956. He did serve the John F. Kennedy administration when he was appointed as United States Ambassador to the United Nations. 

Here is a quote attributed to him:

“It is hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.”

I am struggling to find a direct attribution to Adlai Stevenson although everyone seems to be quoting him. The quote in question has been written about recently in a book by Ron Gaddie entitled, Born to Run: Origins of the Political Career. In that book, Gaddie examines the political careers of nine different individuals who ran for political offices at a variety of local and state levels. I do not intend to review the book here. Rather, I want to look at the quote and explore its implication to us as leaders.

What does the quote say to you from a leadership perspective?

Here is what it says to me. It says that we must look beyond our own real, or imagined, shortcomings in order to be an effective leader. This is especially true when it comes to our self-confidence.

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What Does a Leader Say?

Insight from a preschooler

What does Mimi always say?

That was the question that we asked our youngest grandchild as we were sitting around the dining room table yesterday afternoon. For those of you who know some of my parenting rules, you will know that I do not like asking a question to which I don’t already know the answer to, or to which I can’t control the answer. And, asking a young child to repeat what his impression is regarding what his grandmother always says was risky. His answer, much to our delight was this: “Jax, do you want Mimi to get you something to eat?”

We went around the table and asked each of our grandchildren the same question about what their individual parents or we the grandparents are always saying to them. Some of the responses were hysterically funny. Some of them tweaked our hearts a little bit. It tweaked a little because when they were asked for something that they hear from our mouths on a regular basis, not everything was as nurturing as Mimi fixing them a little snack of comfort food.

What does that have to do with leadership?

As leaders, we have developed a repertoire of words and statements that we use on a frequent basis. They are our “go to” statements and answers. They are second nature to us and require little if any thought before we respond. 

In a sense, they paint an emotional picture of our leadership. Whenever someone thinks of our leadership style and our leadership efforts, certain words or statements jump to the forefront of their mind just as they did for our three grandchildren. Those words define us. They do so because they are the first words that pop into our brains when someone says our name.

Are you feeling a little “tweaked?”

Boy, I am! What do my followers hear me say all the time? Is it uplifting? Is it encouraging? Is it helpful? Is it instructive? Or, is it snarky, belittling, negative, or childish? 

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What Does Leadership Feel Like?

Is there a leadership “feeling”?

I just couldn’t resist one more article in this series. This last one will deal with how leadership feels — both for the leader and the follower.

Maybe it is more of a “groove” than just a feeling. Maybe it is really nothing more than leadership “mojo.” But, there is an undeniable feeling when you are called to lead and you lead well. So, let’s take a look at how it feels for both the leader and the follower.

How it feels to lead well

Perhaps here is where the word “mojo” fits more than it does for the follower. The feeling that you have when you are leading a team through a project that no one else thought would have a chance of succeeding is almost euphoric. The feeling that you feel when you are communicating clearly and communicating with passion and your team is converting your words into actions is energizing. Perhaps the greatest benefit of those feelings is that they build our confidence and reinforce the sense that we are indeed in the right place at the right time.

However, all of this so far is predicated on the fact that we are leading and succeeding. But, what if we are leading and struggling? What if we are confident in our leadership, but the results are a reason to doubt? How do we deal with those feelings?

It is here that we need to move from feelings, which may be fleeting, and focus on the tried and true leadership principles that have served us well in times past. Focus on the tasks at hand and trust that the “warm” feelings will come with the ultimate success of the project. One of the factors that set great leaders apart is that they do what they know is right and then wait to feel good about the decision. Many wait until they feel good about a decision and then act based on that feeling.

What kinds of feelings do you experience?

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What Does Leadership Look Like?

Is there a leadership “look”?

 

Have you ever done a Google image search for the word “leader?” If you have, you’ve probably noticed a lot of mountain climbing, pointing, flag carrying, and little stick figures that look more like game tokens than they look like leaders. Throw in a person speaking in a microphone or megaphone to a crowd or to a group seated around a conference table and add a few more stick figures where all of them except for one are the same color and that is what leadership looks like. At least that is what Google Images thinks it looks like. Apparently, standing out is a prerequisite.

But, I am not sure I get a clear picture of what a leader looks like based on an image search. Actually, I am pretty sure that I don’t. But it is an interesting exercise nonetheless.

Leadership is a lot like beauty

It is in the eye of the beholder. Or, better stated, it cannot be judged objectively. Rather, it is quite subjective. What one person deems beautiful or admirable may not appeal to another in the least. And when push comes to shove, what we really find attractive may be different than what we have always said.

All through my adolescent years, I would have said that I find petite, dark-haired females the most attractive. Yet, I married a tall Nordic, blue-eyed blond. And I am really glad that I did!

Is leadership like that?

Can we envisage a new leadership look?

Perhaps it is time to reconsider how leadership looks and turn away from the “alpha male” stereotypes and look more at leadership qualities and not weigh physical qualities quite as much. The alternative is to dismiss without much thought the individuals that don’t fit our perception of what a leader looks like. In so doing we will overlook some incredible leaders.

What should we be looking for?

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