My Leadership “Voice”

Sage, Sherpa, or Struggler?

My Leadership Voice

It is time to take Leadership Voices and this site to some new levels. Toward that end, I am looking around for resources and inspiration to spur me onward and upward.

Recently I found some great resources when I attended a webinar being hosted by Michael Hyatt. Many of you will recognize his name and know of his success in this arena. I have been following Hyatt for several years and have incorporated many of his thoughts, tools, or suggestions.

One of the tidbits of truth that I received from that webinar was to determine my “voice.” You would think with a website such as LeadershipVoices.com, that would be something that I already had a pretty good handle on. And you would be correct. My voice has become something with which I am very comfortable.

What was the tidbit? 

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New eBook – 4 Resolutions Every Leader Should Make – is now available!

Kevin Bowser’s latest eBook is now available for free download at his NoiseTrade site.  This book is a collection of the first series of articles that appeared on the website starting January 1, 2016. This series dealt with the importance of establishing and writing down 4 specific resolutions that every leaders should make this year.

Four Resolutions - Smaller

It is a very short book and will help you keep those first five articles in a handy format to reference throughout this year.  You can get the ebook for free at Kevin’s NoiseTrade Author Site and you can get it for FREE.

Just click the link below and go directly to the NoiseTrade site and download your copy in either Kindle or Nook format.

Thanks again to my editor, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, for her work and for helping correct the grammar errors that I seem to keep making over and over again!

Click Here to Download
4 Resolutions Every Leader Should Make.”

Free Advice

Free Advice - Blog

I have been speaking to a lot of “young” (really they are just new bloggers) lately. Each of them is addressing the gap that exists between the amount of good, practical leadership principles and the availability of the same. There is no shortage of leadership advice to be had on the internet these days. But, each of these new bloggers that I am speaking with are addressing a vital niche market.

If you have some experience or passion for leadership, then start a blog. There is room for more.  There is room for you to join us.

Therefore, I am offering up a bit of a brain dump that I wished someone had provided to me when I started my first blog in 2006. I have learned by trial and error over these last 9 years.

Many start out with one of the hosted blogging platforms such as Blogger.com or WordPress.com. I began with Blogger and used it for almost 6 years. And it served me well. But, I have chosen to move on and I now have a very different “web presence” in 2015 than I did in 2006.

Here are some thoughts for any new blogger to consider:

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The Education of a Leader

 

Education of a Leader - 1

The education of a minister should not end with the theological school, but should be prolonged, like that of a teacher or physician, to the latest day of his (or her) life.
– Charles Eliot, longest tenured president of Harvard University and brother of TS Eliot

You know, I wish I could confine that quote only to the clerical profession.  But, I can’t.  That is a quote that is tailor made for leadership development if ever there was one.  And it hits me square between the eyes.

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Bearded Leadership

Bearded Leadership - 1What does having a beard have to do with Leadership? Well, maybe nothing, but maybe everything. If you look back through history, have all of our great leaders been older? Have they all had beards? I think one of our best leaders in history had a pretty epic beard, Abraham Lincoln.

What is my point? My point is that it doesn’t really take age or facial hair to be a leader, although I think it should. My point is, however, that it takes maturity to both have facial hair and to be a leader.

“No one was ever born with a beard”

Anonymous

 

No one was ever born a leader. I think maturity, like leadership, is one of those things that is not inherent in life. You are not guaranteed or promised maturity, or leadership. Maturity is also different in all of us. It is found in different places, and different times and we discover our maturity for different reasons. Personally, it took a war, for me to discover mine. I will admit I have times of immaturity, and I think that is not only okay, but is healthy. I don’t think we should take ourselves too seriously.

Bearded Leadership - 2I think it is safe to say, while it doesn’t take a beard to be a leader is does take maturity. There are immature people in leadership positions, but their leadership is either poor or short lived. Remember maturity is several things. It is physical. It is mental. It is emotional and it is spiritual. All of these things contribute to the style and the effectiveness of your leadership.

A leader has a mission. A leader has a plan. A leader is going somewhere. There’s a reason for doing what you’re doing, and when anybody thinks about you, they think about a person with a plan.

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Correlation Between Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

EI and Leadership Coorelation - 1Emotional Intelligence is a topic that I have covered before here on Leadership Voices. But, it is worthy of some additional coverage because of the major influence it has upon your success throughout life and also due to the the fact that it is a skill that can be learned and developed.

Emotional Intelligence involves going past our limited sight, thought, and understanding. By definition, our best insights are those things that we observe, we receive, we experience and not the things that we generate or produce. Emotional intelligence first requires quieting the clamor of our own thoughts and words in order to become aware of ourselves and aware of those around us.

What is my leadership point here?

The key to emotional intelligence and leadership is the development of the sense of how our persona and our ideas are being received by those that we are leading. Can we agree that most of our communication is non-verbal?

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Moving From Vision To Action

 

visiontoaction3DThe process and the information contained in the book that I just released on Amazon had its genesis back in the mid 1990s.  And I want to tell you a little bit about how it came to be.

Many years ago I was given the incredible opportunity to work very closely with some guys and to take a radical look at how leadership looked and worked in the local church environment.  Not before, nor since then, have I had the opportunity to have such an impact.

I worked most closely with a young officer in the military.  His name is Capt. David G. Woods.  He and I are the same age and and at the time were at somewhat the same station in life.  Albeit his station was military and mine was civilian.  We had similar circumstances and views of leadership at the time.  We were young.  We were passionate.  We were energetic.  We had boundless energy.  We had very little patience with those not exactly like us.  We were foolish at times.

David WoodsOne of the things that we noted was that not everyone who has the ability to “see the big picture” can then execute a plan to accomplish the vision that is seen in the big picture.  Strategic and tactical planning are leadership skills that are not often found in visionary leaders.

I did not consider myself to be a visionary leader at that time nearly 20 years ago.  I was much more strategic and tactical.  I have developed visionary skills as I have grown older.  But neither of us had them at the time.  I won’t speak completely for David, but I know that I had brief flashes of vision and I had an innate sense that things could be and should be different.  But, I struggled to see that big picture.

Bob SpaldingDavid and I were very fortunate to have an older guy be a part of our little brain trust.  His name was Robert Spalding and he was one of the FBI’s preeminent forensic experts.  I will not go into his area of expertise because some may be a bit squeamish to learn of his expertise.  But he was brilliant, analytical, steadfast, and had the respect of the rest of the leadership that worked alongside us.

Together we produced some evaluation tools and a methodology for helping that local church move from a great vision and begin to put together specific, actionable, and measurable steps that would take us to where we felt that we were called to go.  Dave and I, especially, burnt gallons of “midnight oil” in the basement of my office building in a little office hovering over demographic data, membership data, leadership tools and together we developed the material that was introduced the to the rest of the leadership team and was later used at a leadership retreat.  The result of all of that was a dramatic restructuring of the roles of the various leaders that enabled them to really focus on their areas of strength and really begin to accomplish the goals that so many of them had – building the church spiritually, numerically and financially.

The results did not come over night.  But they did begin to come.

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The Importance of Order

imageI was reminded again last night about the importance of order and decluttering in the life of a leader.  Clutter and the lack of order steals our attention and robs from us the ability to focus on the tasks that we need to accomplish.

That was one of the points in Rodney Mills‘ Personal Mastery Plan Workshop that I attended last night.  It was an awesome experience and it has caused me to re-examine some aspects of my life that I have not examined in quite some time.

imageLate last evening following the workshop, my daughter snapped a photo of me in my little home office and it has caused me to think and schedule some time to declutter my workspace at home.

Creativity and inspiration flow better for me when I have an open and clear work environment.  The more papers and old magazines and cables and chargers that are surrounding me, the harder it is for me to write and think.

So, what is the leadership point?

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Loneliness in Leadership

Lonely Leadership - 1In February of 2012, Harvard Business Review featured a story acknowledging that it is lonely being the CEO. The article noted that it’s isolating at the top.  Now, if you are at all like me it is a little hard to feel sorry for CEOs on a regular basis.  What with their power, prestige, influence, and wealth — the common man’s perception is that they have it all. They must be the happiest people on the planet.

All those trappings of success notwithstanding, business leaders face some genuine troubles, not least of which is loneliness.

The author of that article cited survey findings from the CEO Snapshot Survey that “half of CEOs report experiencing feelings of loneliness in their role.  And 61 percent believe that it hinders their performance. This was particularly acute with first-time CEOs and young leaders.

Lonely Leadership - 2Maybe you are also like me in that you don’t really care if billionaires like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos aren’t reaching the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy!

So why am I writing about this?

I would suggest that any leader’s isolation and feelings of loneliness have negative implications on their personal performance, and perhaps more importantly, on how they interact with others. Because it is not just big corporate CEOs who experience this kind of loneliness.   It is team leaders, entrepreneurs, pastors, and community leaders also. And this impacts the bottom-line for organizations.

This loneliness springs from a feeling that they have no one “at their level” to talk to.  They have no “peers” in their view.  They have no one to confide in.  They have no one to bounce ideas off of and no one to turn to for advice.  They also have no one holding them accountable for their actions and deeds.  This isn’t good for decision-making, culture, performance, or the long-term health of the organization.

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Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 - 1I have not always been a “reader”. Most of my reading over the years has been to my children and grandchildren.  It is only in the last several years that I acquired the taste for books. And my tastes in reading material vary widely. But recently, I had a book suggested to me by fellow leadership coach, Rodney Mills of Centrifuge Leadership. He recommended the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. I am using this book currently with one of my leadership coaching clients and I think it is worthy of sharing with the broader Leadership Voices audience.

The book has a foreword by Patrick Lencioni. Many of you will recognize him as the author of Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Death by Meeting. If you are into great titles, those are a couple of great ones. As Lencioni proclaims in the foreword, he’s no expert in this field, but he sees everyday how critical a skill it is to have and he’s so enthusiastic about this book because it’s the first he’s read that actually shows you how to increase your EQ and apply it in your personal and professional life.

The opening chapter deals with Emotional Intelligence (EI) and your Emotional Quotient (EQ) and compares and contrasts it to the more well-known “IQ”. The chapter describes what EQ is and what it isn’t. For example, a lot of people mistakenly think that EQ is a part of your personality. To the contrary EQ is separate from your personality, just as it is separate from your intellect, or IQ. It begins to build your understanding of emotions by showing what the five core emotions look like in varying degrees of intensity. Next the team of Bradberry and Greaves explain research studies that illustrate how important EQ is in daily living. They show how your EQ impacts things like your tolerance for change, how you manage stress, and even how much money you make.

What Emotional Intelligence Looks Like: Understanding the Four Skills

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 - 3The book introduces and explains Daniel Goleman’s four EQ skills: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. Beyond a conceptual description of the skills, the book provides detailed vignettes show examples of real people who are high or low in each of the skills.

To truly improve your ability in the four emotional intelligence skills, you need to better understand each skill and what it looks like in action.

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