Full Contact Leadership

Are You Ready For Some Football?

full-contact-leadership

We are in the beginnings of football season. The college season started two weeks ago and the pro season started last week. But, teams have been practicing for quite a while.

I played football many years ago in high school. To be honest, I wasn’t that good at it. But I remember it well. And I was thinking about those experiences recently.

If you ever played football in an organized fashion you will remember that there were multiple kinds of practices. In the summer, there were “2-a-Days”. Those were a morning session of practice followed by lunch followed by another practice followed by complete exhaustion. There were “Walk-Throughs”. Those were usually conducted in very light athletic gear. That meant that we wore no pads and sometimes even wore no helmet since no one was going to get hit. They usually were more strategic and educational. The coach taught us new plays and showed us our blocking and routes.

Full Contact Leadership

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Hello? Any leaders out there?

Are leaders like superheroes?

Where Are All The Leaders?

I “feel” (and we know how dangerous it is to operate on feelings) that there are fewer leaders now than in days gone by. It may or may not be so. But it seems that is the case. Leaders must be a lot like superheroes. I wonder where all of them have gone as well.

Why does there seem to be so few leaders on the local, national and international stage? Are they really there and I just don’t see them? If they are there, why don’t I see them or recognize them?

One of the characteristics that define a leader is that they are growing and developing other leaders around them. It has been said, and I agree, I truly great leader is defined more by the number of other leaders they create than the number of followers that they create.

So, what is the point and the leadership principle here?

The leadership principle is this.

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Leadership and Learning to Ride a Bicycle

It is best to learn it while you are young.

Learning to Ride

I admit it. I fell victim to the “Downton Abbey” craze over the last few years. I watched an episode one night out of curiosity. The next thing I knew, I had found Seasons 1 and 2 on Amazon Prime and we watched at least 2 episodes a night for the next 2 weeks until we had seen them all. Then, we went to start watching Season 3 – only this time it wasn’t free on Amazon Prime.

You know you are hooked when you hit the “Buy with 1-Click” button and you shell out the money for the entire 3rd season without even thinking about what it cost. But, I suppose all of that is a subject for another time.

I found the story compelling and the dialog incredible. The characters were fascinating and complex. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it.

The final season is soon upon us here in the U.S. and I can’t wait.

As good as all of the episodes are, I was captivated by a sentence uttered by a relatively minor character in the last episode of season 3. His name is Shrimpie and he is a husband caught in a loveless marriage and he is the father of a young woman who is rebelling against her parents and against society in general. I am paraphrasing a quote from that episode:

“What I want is for her [his daughter] to know that family can be a loving thing. Love is like riding a bicycle or speaking French. If you don’t learn it young, it’s hard to get the trick of it later.” 

I am taking this in a direction that you would expect and I am going to modify the quote to suit my purpose. What if we exchanged the word “love” for “leadership” in the middle sentence of the quote? How apropos is that? I think it is incredibly apropos and worthy of the edit.

“Leadership is like riding a bicycle or speaking French. If you don’t learn it young, it’s hard to get the trick of it later.” 

Let me help explain just how that reality manifested itself in my early years.

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I am a House Cut

A unique perspective on Leadership

House Cut

This may be a little out of ordinary for LeadershipVoices.com, but a thought came to me recently. Now that alone is not necessarily “blogworthy”. But, I am going to try to make a leadership application from that thought.

Several years ago I gave up on dealing with my hair. What hair that I had left was not, nor had ever been, very cooperative. It tended to want to go wherever it wanted despite the lotions and potions that I piled on it to keep it down. So, one day, I asked my barber to make a suggestion. She suggested that I just go to a “#1 or #2” razor guard, cut it really short and be done with it. I did it and I loved it.

You can’t imagine the freedom came with that decision. I no longer had to wait in line for my particular barber that remembered how to cut my hair. I now was no longer what barbers call a ”Chair Cut”. I was now a ”House Cut”. All I needed to tell whoever cut my hair was “#1” and they would take it from there.

Simple.

Easy.

In fact, it was liberating.

Now for the application to leadership.

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EI Outside the Workplace

EI Outside the Workplace

I spent a great deal of time earlier in the week extolling the virtues of Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. And I still believe there is a significant need for and benefit from increasing our EI/EQ and using that increased knowledge and wisdom in the workplace.

But, let me attempt to make a compelling case, and in fact a greater case, for emotional intelligence outside the office and in the home.

Consider the Emotionally Intelligent Husband

The emotionally intelligent husband is a step above the husband who is not aware of his emotional intelligence nor has he raised his emotional intelligence. What defines an emotionally intelligent husband is one who has figured out a secret to marriage that other husbands haven’t yet. That little secret, although it is actually pretty elementary, can actually be pretty difficult to develop because it requires him to become more aware of his wife and her needs. And this is contrary to human nature and a pop culture that says that it is all about me.

Like many husbands, the emotionally intelligent husband has learned to respect and honor his wife. But here is where the EI husband separates himself from the others.

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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.

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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:

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On being a “Courager”

nomadThis is part three in a series of articles on teaching and leading your children. Part one, which introduces the series, can be found here.

I have told my kids that there are no monsters in their closets, but if there were, the reason they would be hiding in the closet is because they are scared of me. I’m guessing that although I find that a very funny idea that my kids aren’t really comforted by it. It certainly doesn’t teach them courage.

Because there aren’t any monsters in my children’s closets, I seek out other opportunities to teach courage. For example, I’m not scared of bugs because I can’t be. Someone has to kill them, and that duty falls under my job description. And if something goes bump in the night, it’s my job to get up and see what it is, and if necessary, it’s my job to deal with it. While there are teaching opportunities in each of these scenarios, overcoming a fear of bugs is probably not age-appropriate for my kids, and explaining the significance of things that go bump in the night would only give them nightmares (and would otherwise serve no purpose). Frankly, neither of these scenarios are of the sort that call upon the kind of courage that my children need at this stage in their lives.

There are other fears.

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The Business of Ethics

MM - Ethics

I am sure there has been much written about ethics in leadership but I wanted to share some insights recently revealed to me.

I had a visit with some dear friends who have been in leadership positions and one is currently writing a book on “ethics in the university”. He is a retired professor and is a dear friend so, jokingly, I asked him if he had discovered any, to which there was a resounding NO.

The chats usually go with the state of our country then circles around to business models and ethics.

First, I’m not sure why we call it “business ethics”.

Is the place we learn business ethics, in business, or is it too late then?  Our conversation had me asking that question, “Where do we learn” ethics?

Well, I got the standard business answer we all should expect and the one you are thinking. We teach them in college and have training classes and seminars. Which isn’t bad, I might add!

As you may guess at this point in the conversation, I still had plenty of questions. So, one immediate question was; at what age do we start to teach ethics?

Where and when do “we” learn ethics?

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