Missionaries or Mercenaries?


Remember when you were young and you could hear a song, or watch a movie (like Rocky) and be extremely motivated?

I was so motivated by Rocky that at the age of nine, I asked for boxing gloves, and proceeded to challenge an older and bigger kid to a boxing match. Needless to say he kept asking if he could stop beating the literal snot out of me, but I thought I was Rocky, and would win in the end. I didn’t. So while motivation can be good, it can also make you get the snot the beat out you.

The other thing I learned is outside motivation doesn’t last. In other words, even if you motivate another individual as a leader, it will only last a short while, and something inside of them has to take over to keep it going, or it’s just a peak in an otherwise very long valley. I learned a long time ago that you might be able to inspire someone for a little while with words, but if they do not have the fire inside of them for whatever it is they are doing, the fire will go out, and you are back to square one.

I also learned this about myself.  

Click here to read the rest of the article »

What American Sniper Reminded Me About Leadership

Drill Sergeant

I have yet to see American Sniper, we have been waiting for the crowds to die down, and have been busy with our children’s activities. But I have seen many of the long trailers (They make me tear up every time). I have read the book, and it has brought back memories of my time in the Army.

I was 18 when I joined the Army, and fresh out of high school. I was cocky and a know it all, and not very disciplined to say the least. The Army taught me many lessons, but not the least was teaching me what it took to lead. My Drill Sergeant rode me pretty hard because I made the mistake of not signing a wavier after the first say of basic. I thought by not signing the wavier they would just send me home.  And I could not have been more wrong.  Thus began my constant unwanted attention of my drill instructors. I signed the wavier after, let’s just say, an eventful evening.

After two weeks of enduring all they could throw at me, and becoming very humble in the process, our lead Drill Instructor made me platoon leader. He also handed me something I have kept with me my entire life. The Army’s 11 Principles of Leaders:

Principle #1 – Know Yourself and Seek Self Improvement – Develop a plan to keep your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.

Principle #2 – Be Technically Proficient – Not only do we know our duties and responsibilities, we know all those of our team members, and we look to our leaders and concern ourselves with learning their duties and responsibilities.

Click here to read the rest of the article »

“Servant” Leadership in Business

Servant Leadership - 1First, let me say how honored, and humbled I am, to be asked to blog for Leadership Voices. When asked to speak or write, I am always shocked that someone would want my opinion, and always afraid that I might not be worthy of the task. I do however feel very passionate about “servant” leadership, so I was excited when asked to share my thoughts on this topic, and promise I will try not to go off on any “rants”.

I think we need to define management in the context of business, and what makes it different than leadership. I always like to say, “We lead people, we manage things”. If you are trying to manage someone, you are trying to control them to get what you what you need or want. This is not very conducive to a long term growth of the employee, which means their value to the organization will stagnate. This also tends to impede their ability to contribute to the health and growth of the company by making them more of a task master instead of a thinker. It creates someone waiting to be told what to do, and how to do it, not someone who is always looking for ways to improve the company, or adding value through their unique understanding of the business. No one wants to be treated like a number, or a tool, they want to be respected, and valued.

Servant Leadership - 2Leadership means doing and saying the hard things. It means doing the right thing, no matter what. It means setting a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly example. It means teaching. It is the ability to bring out the greatness in others, and be willing to not take credit for doing so. Leadership ultimately means putting others before yourself, for the good of the whole, not for your ego. Notice I have not used the word servant yet? I think it is kind of redundant when put in front of leadership. Leadership is serving by its very nature. Every leader serves those whom they lead. Why else would you need a leader?

The biggest mistake I see young leaders make in business, is

Click here to read the rest of the article »