Leadership After the Initial Crisis

When the Cameras Have Found Another Hero to Follow

Thank you to all of you who called, texted, emailed, and reached out to me through various social media channels last week to check on our safety. We came through Hurricane Harvey “high and dry.” But so many in our area cannot say that. Keep praying for them and give anything that you can for the relief and recovery process after Hurricane Harvey.

My most recent article was written in the midst and immediate aftermath of the hurricane. Rescues were still ongoing. And heroes were emerging from all over the city. And I was particularly moved by the exploits of my friend, David. He was a hero. He was a leader.

But he is a warrior. People’s lives were in danger. It is the natural thing for him to rush into dangerous situations and save lives. The TV networks have moved on to the next scandal in Washington and most are headed to Florida for the next hurricane. So, what is David up to?

What does a leader do after the initial crisis has passed?

I don’t know what all leaders do. But let me tell you some more about David. He is an entrepreneur. He is a husband. He is a dad. He is the very picture of a busy person. He is probably too busy for his own good sometimes. He has a business to run and a family to care for.

So, naturally, he is back to business as usual. No! As I follow him today on Facebook, he is actively doing the messy, stinky, filthy, dusty, musty, gross job of cleaning out friends, family, and strangers houses. He is as active today as he was during the search and rescue phase.

What is the leadership Lesson?

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Why Would Anyone Want YOU To Lead Them?

A Question of Leadership in Terms of "Followship"

why-would-anyone-want-you-to-lead-them

Halloween has just ended and the airwaves are full of Christmas music. Are we just going to bypass Thanksgiving altogether? I certainly hope not. Thanksgiving is a time of reflection for me. It reminds me that the year is nearly over.

At this time of year, many leaders and leadership teams are taking their annual step back to do a deep-dive assessment of their organization’s progress against the goals and objectives of their strategic plans that they established in the early days of 2016. (What? You don’t do that at your organization? Have you ever considered that maybe that is part of what is holding the organization back?)

Take A Look on the Inside

As part of your end-of-year strategic progress review, consider including another area of assessment — one that will require a different kind of evaluation and one that will be much more introspective in nature. Why not take some time to also consider how you personally are progressing as a leader? After all, an organization’s strategic performance is, in large part, a direct reflection of the effectiveness of the person at the top.

If you want to silence a room of pastors, executives or any group of leaders try this small trick. Ask them, “Why would anyone want you to lead them?”

Without fail, the response will most likely be a sudden, stunned hush. All you will hear are knees knocking and crickets chirping.

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Be Respectable and Be Respectful

Leadership Basics

be-respectable-be-respectful

Are you worthy of respect as a leader? Are you respectful of your followers and those around you? Those are the two topics to consider today as we continue this series of Leadership Basics.

The Respectable Part

Let’s deal with being a person worthy of respect first.

I have often heard the phrase “He just commands respect.” What does that mean? Does it literally mean that I can command you to respect me? How do we gain respect from others? We earn it! So, how do we go about earning respect and being a respectable leader?

How Do You Treat Others? – This very question is dealt with in the second part below where I will discuss being respectful. But, respectFUL leaders are respectABLE leaders.

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The Leader in the Second Chair

What kind of leader do you aspire to be?

the-leader-in-the-2nd-chair

We are in an ugly political season. In fact, it may be the ugliest one in my lifetime. So, in light of that and from a political perspective, one of the political leaders that I admired the most was Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee.

I have been giving a lot of thought about the topic of “Leading from the Second Chair”. Although I have not yet read Bonem and Patterson’s book by that name, I have seen a lot of that type of leadership in my own life and in the life of some of those who I admire greatly.

His was the very first presidential campaign that I worked on was as a young volunteer. Unfortunately, I was a part of his unsuccessful attempt to become President in 1979. I admired Sen. Baker on multiple levels. Others admired him as well. Known in Washington, D.C. as the “Great Conciliator”, Baker is often regarded as one of the most successful senators in terms of brokering compromises, enacting legislation, and maintaining civility across the aisle. A story is sometimes told of a reporter telling a senior Democratic senator that privately, a plurality of his Democratic colleagues would vote for Baker for President of the United States. Unfortunately, in my opinion, not enough Americans apparently shared that same sentiment.

Some of the times during his career that I admired him the most were his days as White House Chief of Staff for Ronald Reagan. Reagan was the opponent who defeated him early in the primary season and caused him to drop out after the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary.

Baker did not seek re-election in 1984. However, as a testament to Baker’s skill as a negotiator and honest and amiable broker, Reagan tapped him to serve as Chief of Staff during part of Reagan’s second term (1987–1988). Many saw this as a move by Reagan to mend relations with the Senate, which had deteriorated somewhat under the previous chief of staff, Donald Regan. It is interesting to note that in accepting this appointment as Chief of Staff, Baker chose to skip another bid for the White House in 1988. He would never run again. Who knows if he would have been successful? I, for one, would have loved to have seen him elected in 1988 over the alternative that year.

The Leadership Principle

So what is the leadership principle that I admired in Sen. Baker? Well, I think it is embodied in these two principles.

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Be Generous

Three Things That Generous Leaders Share

Be Generous

Leaders that folks want to follow are generous by nature. That doesn’t mean they give you money. That means that they have a giving spirit or a generous heart.

Generosity is a word with a historical meaning that is lost today. It once referred to one’s nobility of birth and the obligation toward those of lesser means and lower standing. There was a cultural expectation that leaders (nobility) would behave in certain ways that would demonstrate their worthiness.

But before we can identify the behaviors of a generous leader, we need to identify the motivations of a generous leader. Generous leaders are motivated by the success (whatever that looks like) of those around them. Generous leaders lead the way that they do because they place a high value on the overall success of those who follow them.  On the other hand, leaders who are motivated by their own success tend to measure their achievements in terms of their compensation package, the power in their position, the status as compared to those in their peer group, and whatever recognition they can garner.

Generous leaders hold themselves to different standards. Generous leaders value their empowerment of others, their service to their organization, and their relationships with their followers.

Generous leaders give in ways that are not always measured in terms of dollars.  They are generous on many levels. They usually are generous with their money.  They are often the benefactors of many charitable or ministry organizations.  And they are often the ones behind the anonymous gifts that their followers find at just the right time. But they are also generous with their time as well as their talents.

What does a generous leader look like?

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Help Others Get What They Want

Is that the best way to get what we want?

Help Others Get What They Want

“Your function in life may not feel like it has anything to do with sales, but when we deal with others it matters to remember that the best way to get the outcome we want is to help others get the outcome they want.”

This was a statement that I made about a photo meme that I posted on Facebook. It sparked a brief dialog with a close friend and one of the driving forces behind LeadershipVoices.com. And it has caused me to share some more thoughts that further develop my original post.  But first, here is the question that prompted my additional thoughts.

The Question

How do I do that when our wants are sometimes at cross-purposes? Or, what if what they want is detrimental to the health of the organization?

The Answers

There are some problems in life we can’t solve.

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Knowing Your Place

When Leaders Act Differently Than We Expect

Knowing Your Place

It was the last night of my stay at the very luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Apparently someone had alerted the General Manager that I would be leaving very early the following morning. So, he came to my dinner table in the dining room to introduce himself and to say “Thank you” for my extended stay It had been a 3 and a half week stay at his hotel. It was soon after our brief discussion ended that I saw an extraordinary example of true servant leadership.

A woman was struggling with a large balloon bouquet and a suitcase. In addition to the most senior person in the hotel, there were several other general staff in the very near vicinity. They probably saw her as well. And then he did it.

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Are You Emotionally Elite?

The Latest EI “Buzzword”

Emotionally Elite

Emotional Intelligence coaching has played a very significant role in my overall leadership development process. I am always looking for new information and new research in this area. Often, I get introduced to new words and terminology. Yesterday, I came across a new phrase — emotionally elite.

There is much more to be learned about emotionally elite leaders. Unfortunately, the word “elite” has some negative connotations. For many of us, this goes against our nature. We are not comfortable referring to ourselves as elite. Nevertheless, consider the word “elite” devoid of the braggadocios or the conceited way that we often see it used.

So, what does it mean to be “emotionally elite”?

After doing some research online and in some academic circles, I can report to you that there is still not a lot of material available with keywords “emotional” and “elite” used in combination. And some of the links that I followed took me to a well disguised online dating site. (Unfortunately, now some 39-year-old woman from the Ukraine wants to be my “friend”.) So, I need to be a little more careful in my research!

What are some common characteristics of emotionally elite leaders? Consider these five characteristics of those who are emotionally elite.

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Butler to the Great

Butler to the Great

His name was Eduardo.  He told me to call him “Eddie”.  He was from the Philippines but he left after Ferdinand Marcos was deposed in February of 1986.

I met Eddie at a banquet while at a business conference in Las Vegas.  Eddie had been in the personal service of Marcos.  He was what would most likely be considered a butler.  He served Marcos proudly and he served him well.  Eddie was one of the fortunate ones to get out before the downfall of Marcos.

Eddie left and found himself in the service of King Khalid of Saudi Arabia.  He served the King until his death.  Eddie has served other persons of great political prominence and wealth, but we did not discuss them much.

At some point on a visit to family here in the U.S., he found his way to Las Vegas, Nevada.  And then, as Eddie said, “the planes hit the Twin Towers and all that.”  Suddenly he found himself stuck in Vegas with no real plan or the wherewithal to get back to where he had been prior to visiting Las Vegas.  Quickly running out of money he turned to what he knew.  He could serve.  But, there are not many kings or presidents in Vegas.  There are “whales”.  But they come and go and he needed something steady.  So he got a job serving food to business folks like me who come to Vegas for conventions.  And that is just how we met.  We met at the final dinner of a convention that I attended that week.

And here is what impressed me.  He served me like I was a president or a king.  I don’t really know that for absolute surety what it feels like to be a president or a king.  But I know he served me well and with great care.  And I am nobody really.  I am just a guy in a suit who works for some big corporation.  But Eddie treated me with great dignity and respect.

What is the leadership lesson here?

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Leadership As Helping

Leadership As Helping

Everyone needs some help with something. Some people need money; others need wisdom; still others just need a chance. You know what I mean, because right now if you were to take the time and consider the question you could probably produce a list of things you could use some help with.

I also remind you that the help you so often need resides in some person you already know. Putting it another way: you have some gift, some talent, some ability, some provision that can help someone else. That’s the beautiful thing about this world and the way it was created is that within our collective grasp are the tools to help one another in many meaningful ways.

The hard part is

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