September marks the beginning of fall, back to school, Labor Day, and, for many Americans on the East and Gulf Coast, the peak of hurricane season. As a resident of Florida, I am particularly sensitive to the annual ritual of hurricane preparation; stockpiling of water, batteries, candles, canned and paper goods, and making sure we have an evacuation plan in place.
This got me thinking about leadership and the importance of planning. The leaders’ role involves staying centered in the eye of the storms that inevitably will swirl around. Consider these questions as you do an annual check-up of your leadership readiness:
Do you have a vision for what you are trying to accomplish?
Has it been shared with and embraced by others whose help you need?
Are there systems in place for managing commitments for results?
Are you prepared with strong and clear communications systems?
What is missing from your preparation that could help you weather a leadership storm?
Are you able to remain calm in the center of a storm?
If we continue the hurricane-preparation analogy, have you stocked up on supplies to get you through? For example, do you have engaged employees who have the bandwidth, motivation and capability to rally toward the goal, day in and day out? It not, what are you doing about it?
Do you have what it takes to remain calm in the center of a storm? What number would you give yourself on a scale of 1-10? What number would your employees give you? What is the value of having enough resilience to be calm in a storm?
Many leaders are finding themselves under increased pressure to perform and do more with less. This takes a toll on them personally, including chronic stress, and difficulties with health, clarity and decisiveness. If you or members of your team are experiencing these systems consistently, it’s time to do something about it. Before you consider the cost of doing nothing, consider the following troubling statistics:
Disabling stress doubled in the U.S. since 1990
1 MM people miss work daily due to stress-related disorders
Only 1 in 5 Americans wake up looking forward to going to work (USA today poll)
Just as we invest time and effort in preparing ourselves for storms, leaders can and should do the same.
What are you doing about preparedness as a leader? What are you practicing to be prepared? Is the mood in your organization one of possibility and resolve to come up with creative, satisfying solutions? Or has there been a mood of entrenchment and “hunkering-down” based on fear?
Because we become what we practice, examine the practices you have in place. All of us are already practicing something. What we practice we will get more of in the future.
Are you ready to create new practices, ones that serve you and others to get the results you desire? Take the Step Up Leader I.Q. Test to gauge your current situation.
Creating calm in the center of the storm allows leaders to weather the intensity of rapid technological change, global economic shifts, and competitive inroads. Set your sights on being that “eye” so even when the hurricane winds may swirl around you, you will be the one standing.
Poisonous leadership is toxic. Actually, it’s not leadership at all. But, suffice it to say, a lack of leadership is venomous to any organization, and runs amuck through the community, the country and world. Whether in worship, work or at play, exceptional leadership is extraordinarily essential and yet in short supply. In a post-modern devolving global environment, where simplistic conspiratorial thinking runs wild and self-indulgence is a priority, the pretense to leadership festers in its toxicity. No one is ultimately safe from the weakening dependence of personal selfishness. At every level, people fuse their emotions, feelings and desires for easy feel good solutions.
In the herded mutuality for self-gratification, many aspire to ensure their own sense of entitlement and enrichment at the expense of others. You could be susceptible, unless one is willing to take necessary risks through strenuous mindful liberation in social inoculation. As stupidity willfully increases the snare of public and political perceptions, high quality leadership continues to be threatened. While the majority of the human species devolves, along with those pretending to be leaders, there are a brave few leaders who willingly help a smaller number succeed and at least survive for now.
Quality and distinctive leadership is particularly vital in the field law enforcement and the criminal justice system, where public safety, civil order, lives and livelihoods are on the line every day. The challenge for the valiant women and men of public safety services is the courage to preserve, evolve and transform as authentic, credible, and liberated. To be differentiated from disingenuous political correctness, peer pressured stagnation, and adverse collectivist conformity, demands exceptional bravery.
In an organizationally oppressive atmosphere, resistance can be seemingly futile. Deception wanders in many forms and wears numerous disguises. And yet, there are ways to creatively rise above the mundane, the average and the mediocre. Fortunately, in today’s world, that should be too difficult. For the savvy, well-differentiated and capable individual, who is mature enough and confident, he or she can prevail against the odds. Make no mistake; the odds are potentially not in your favor. None the less though, lethal leadership slithers and creeps about cunningly to infect entire organizational structures. Its venomous counter productivity lurks everywhere.
Likewise, as a form of cowardice and reflection of arrogance, it contributes to operational disturbance and the oppression of others. Weakness in an organization’s hierarchy is sometimes reflected by a failure of nerve and inability to standup for what’s right. In necessary demonstration of forthright and authentic leadership, taking risks is part of the gambit. Within the management and supervisory structures of any system, negativity, or toxicity, is detrimental to the survival of the organizational framework. In the criminal justice realm for example, “poisonous leadership”, or actually a lack of competently qualified leadership, dangerously affects the overall quality, competency and capacity of the agency’s effectiveness in carrying out its mission.
Venomous authority is oppressive, tyrannical and despotic, while being at the same time cowardly, subservient and fearful, in order to satiate its survivability and perpetuity. Such selfishness arrogantly in sinister and passive ways ingratiates to the nexus of power that keeps it alive and insulated in the particular organizational placement.
Efficiency wanes, trust diminishes and proficiency in public safety suffers. And, as a result, the entire networks, the systems and subsystems, all suffer. They fail to prevail by productive measures because the people within them are devolving.
To fill the void and address the urgency, there is the never ending search for true, sincere and genuine leaders. Not the ones you see appointed and publicized at all the press conferences, with the “right pedigrees” who marvel at their legendary mythology. No indeed, real leaders are unique. They are few and far between. More often than not, in post-modern pop-culture America, we witness the decline of boldness in leadership, and the promotion of fusion in dependent submissiveness. Superior leadership is neither communal nor subservient, and may be offensive to many, but is motivated by excellence toward noble heights of trustworthiness in achieving the mission.
In fact, there is a high likelihood it might be scary and frightening. Extraordinary capacity, skillful precision and experienced capacity, coupled with unique vision to lead others appears woefully extinct and out of fashion. Along with creativity, risk taking and brazen zeal to succeed forthrightly, in spite of criticism, retribution or retaliation, believable exhibition of leadership suffers by the void of its absence. In its place, more and more frequently, we get the naiveté of pious platitudes for self-servicing appeasement at any price. A toxic lack of leadership is deadly.
A person, who seeks their own level of amative satiation, without accurately understanding their true nature and forcing oneself to change positively, puts others at risk. This person or persons run the risk of exhibiting venomous types of leadership. He or she who accepts, asserts or assumes a responsibility over others, and abuses that relationship to any degree, represents the poisonous aspects of authority. If the subordinates are not better off than before the alleged leader assumed the position, then the destructive aspects of a lack of leadership has taken hold. So, why take on a position of power and control over another if you are not equipped for such a calling?
Masquerading behind the pretext of promotion to authority, or fanciful title, many give pretense to the rank of their assignment. The covetous necessity for some means they often feel entitled to be promoted, as they believe it’s their turn. You see that on the national scene with regard to politicians. How often do you see the true statesman come along? No instead, the “status quo” is maintained no matter what, and psycho-babble reinforces the political-babble to substantiate the fictitiousness of the noxious clichés. And, very rarely does an embodiment come along in the visage of a true leader.
More often than not, we look to Hollywood for heroic fictional representations, because we seldom find them in the real world. Given the success of blockbuster movies about superheroes, or valiant rebels and mavericks, we certainly are looking for something we can’t find in the real world. Historically, many of us would agree, only a few have been able to ascend to such lofty heights that inspire others to follow. Today, devoid is the presence of that special eccentricity, for which one is called to leadership. Leading is a special kind of abnormality of unconventional expertise and consciousness of unique character. Such is marked by the exhibition of matured integrity.
All too often, we confuse the perception of selflessness in leading, and the trust placed in its demonstration and example, with the deceptive grossness of self-serving interests. While some claim authority for this or that, they merely spew the catch phrases of post-modern superficiality disguised in the blur of reductionist simplicity. For the sake of their own self-gratification, their pretext to “leadership” is nothing more than a con game and a good retirement package. By contrast, the authentic leader is on a mission, in which the quest remains an ongoing process of self-evolution, revolution and transformation. Many may be good managers, yet a leader is a very exceptional kind of person.
The true leader is a multi-dimensional rarity, a cut above and beyond any semblance of normality. There’s nothing average about a proficient leader. Not very many are capable of even understanding the required divergence of personality to be such an adventurer, on quest with a different vision. And today, as never before in our history, we have a limited few examples by which to emulate or otherwise ascribe such profound characteristics. So, very simply, regardless of one’s status, socio-economic bias, schools attended or seminars sat through, a leader is one who is defined by his or her uniqueness as distinctly different from those around him or her.
Leaders are extraordinary personalities who travel in various walks of life. They are separate, sometimes odd and distinct from the mainstream, but adapt to changing environments with tactical precision and technical proficiency.
Even eccentric at times, the constraints of conventionality fail to impress them. To assert their independence of influential competence, a leader skillfully maximizes his or her idiosyncratic character traits to ensure the mission stays on track in a complex world of constant change.
They are different because they possess vision, tenacity and perseverance, mature empathy for others, the capacity for creativity and fearlessness to embrace selfless persistence with hard work. This means the disposition of one’s nature is such that it succeeds in transforming ideas into words, and words into meaningful actions, and actions that inspire others to follow. Competence summons the diligence for zealousness in the pursuit of being accountable, reliable and trustworthy. Accountability and responsibility fortify the intricate balance beam they must traverse.
In the expansive adversity of communal complicity, within most organizational settings, people very cavalierly toss around the usage of the word “leader’, or for that matter, the denigration of “leadership” as well. Today, anyone it seems can be a leader. Many advocate that through workshops, seminars, courses, special academies and various checklists, one can become a leader. However, from the perspective herein, that’s not true. You can’t grow them, make someone become a leader, or give them an easy to follow formula. They either have the personality and makeup already in place within themselves, or they don’t. You can only search for them, as they are transformed by their nature, the resolve to evolve, and the experiences in the journey they seek. For the leader, he or she is one who strives to be a better version of his or her original self.
Poisonous inclinations strike with covert adversity when you least expect it, and no matter how convincing, deception is very real. The core essence of leadership cannot diminish the necessity of insisting upon high standards of competence and intellectual capacity. Rather than a reduction to the lowest common denominator, as often seen in modern society, one leads by an example of continual self-evolving character. And, he or she encourages others to do likewise. If they choose not to, then he or she moves on without them. There’s no time for whining, sniveling, malcontented slothfulness. For those who desire the salaciousness of their own obese gluttonous lethargy, you must find inventive means by which to organizationally neutralize them.
With no allowances for the distractions of selfish grumbling, whimpering, disgruntled cry-baby excuses, a leader continues to do what is rationally, legally and morally correct. A leader must lead those who want to be led, and there’s no time to waste on the bestiality of those want to be drenched in the pretext of stupidity. After all, we are talking here about an adult world, right? And in a grown up setting, you demand that everyone be treated with dignity, respect, maturity and encouragement to the extent possible. By the leader’s own endeavors, each is challenged and motivated given his or her talents, skills, capabilities and levels of experience to make the right choices.
Lazy thinking and slothful efforts at productivity characterize a number of institutions and organizations. They can be profit oriented, not for profit and volunteer associations, where a majority is significantly selfish and self-centered. When management and supervision lack the visionary preponderance of leadership capacity, operational considerations suffer ineffective processes. Cowardice frequently is allowed to seduce and infect the courage to assert principles over practices. Juvenile behaviors in petty interactivity are allowed to pervade the framework within the workplace.
Critical thinking skills are weak, creativity becomes diminished and incompetence looms monstrously out of proportion. Applications of logical and rational deductive skills frequently give way to fear mongering, scapegoating and herd thinking. Threats of retaliations suggest the lack of necessary skills sets for success, as well as the capability and aptitude to ensure functional completeness. A failure to accept and embrace the tenets of the mission or critical tasks required result in disasters. Proactive problem solving gets shelved in favor of spurious notions relative to cause and effect.
Venomous drool of incompetence in due course will paralyze and kill the best efforts for success in the tasks for the mission at hand. Stupidity in the aggravating annoyances of subjective vanity promotes divisiveness. A lack of leadership, even at the lowest possible level of interactivity, manifests dysfunction and disruption. Sooner or later, that aggravates the infection inflicted by those who let their emotions, insecurities and jealousies rule them. By contrast, effective leadership knows how to inspire and encourage relationships with those who follow. He or she understands one cannot afford the timidity of hesitance, uncertainty, and lack of confidence.
But, neither haughty nor over confident, the disciplined leader does not coddle petty acts of self-indulgence that fixate around immature superficiality. A leader realizes silliness in the fearful redundancy of doing the same things repeatedly, in spite of shortcomings, breeds destructiveness and malfunctions. Not only does the ineffective non-leader malfunction, but so does the system in which he, she and them operate. It doesn’t matter what type of organization, large or small, communal, commercial or political, defective management leads no one successfully for very long.
Being in command means you are willingly taking risks, ensuring self-discipline, working hard, and keeping a safe distance from the anxious herded fusion of followers. Yet, of significant importance as a leader, you desire to transform yourself in the personal journey through life. You endeavor to discover your true nature beyond preconceived notions to the contrary and irrespective of what others may say. You strenuously assert your will to become a more enlightened version of yourself. Such a quest for exceptionality and uniqueness is never going to be easy. Not by any stretch of limited imaginations of those around you, to be different is to face opposition.
Likewise, it must be recognized, most people are going to be maladjusted, antagonistic and un-evolved no matter where they are. They willfully remain in a somewhat “high schoolish senior prom” mode of functioning in self-centered adolescent ways. It’s effortless following the easy path, rather than grow up. As such, many people resist their own maturation and growth toward a serious progressive transformation. Much of humanity seldom progresses very far, but instead tends to devolve over time. Given this inclination, they are satisfied at living at rudimentary levels, relishing in the past, unhampered by a profound innovative sense of self-actualization.
A well-differentiated leader enjoys living in the positive productiveness of the moment. And, the leadership persona is being present, focused and confident to take charge of the situations at hand. She or he deals forthrightly with conscientious appraisal of oneself. By contrast, the alleged leader, consumed by the toxic self-gratification, continues to struggle with the inadequate realization, or corrective understanding, of deeply held inadequacies. Rather than deal with one’s shortcomings, the simplistic tactics of denial and deterministic apprehensions fuel the self-doubt. When taken to extreme levels, dangerous patterns of destruction become highly probable.
Abusive, bitter and unhappy, the inadequate leader finds diverse ways to be counterproductive to oneself, the group, the subunits and the organizational system in which he or she attempts to operate. On and off the job, public and private, such are not a proactive individuals looking to make difference in much of anything. The past, regrets, bad choices, haunt these individuals by their own premeditation. They desire to stay in their own misery and cloak themselves in their devolution. These are angry people, who are disgruntled when it comes to the success of others. Frequently, you find them returning a positive aspect with a negative response. Unproductive commentary spews forth as they find ways to be critical instead of complimentary.
Anything that does not agree with them is viewed as threatening. Unsatisfied with their inability to make the world conform to their image, they find ways to sabotage others. You meet them everywhere, from the pious dogmatic realms of religiosity to the halls of academia, government and the vast stretches of media entertainment. And yet, those who understand the true nature of leadership, and strive to evolve themselves, comprehend how much time is wasted in one’s self-proclaimed despondency.
Leadership is not clever salesmanship, political pandering, hereditary anointing or excessive amounts of training, coaching, mentoring or ideological obsession. It is a matter of personal evolution toward a better version than the original. Such is the hard task of overcoming one’s self-centered childishness in glutinous needs to control people, places and properties. One can be interdependent in a creative sense, as opposed to abjectly dependent in relationship with others. He or she appreciates the necessity of becoming emotionally liberated from others, while at the same time applying the reality of rationality to operational processes. Stress is kept healthily under control.
But such notions for anti-toxicity require personal growth, maturity and wisdom. Profound insight into one’s personality and character necessitates serious introspection and constant analysis. And yet, most people do not progress much farther than their high school timeline, and relish in the past thrills of adolescent immaturity. They remain stunted by choice, because such strenuous efforts of self-evolution demand change. In order to change, a person must accept responsibility and accountability, to evolve progressively. One must be willing to transform and that’s frightening. Scared, dependent and self-indulgent, many fixate on pathology instead of strength of character.
Procedures, policies and protocols, like templates, checklists and guidelines, often underestimate the necessity of human enlightenment toward a more evolved self-actualization. Self-help, training courses, seminars and workshops can “instruct” all they desire to do. There is no guarantee a person will successfully overcome himself or herself and become a competent leader. Competence swells from integrity, honor and uprightness from the quality of one’s maturation through experience. As one endeavors to avoid the deleterious effects of poisonousness supervision, he or she often must stand alone against significant odds and risk communal ostracism.
Unfortunately, in a post-modern context, given any group association, public or private, the critical aspects of logic, reason and rationality do not appear to be held in high regard. People seemingly have a preference for their “victimization”. As such, people readily argue from an emotional posture of intense subjectivity. Self-indulgence for the satiation of personal selfishness is akin to varying levels of stupidity, in that there are no limits to self-proclaimed ignorance. From this, the toxicity of interactions potentially degrades operational efficiency, innovation and creativity.
The leader is challenged to overcome extreme expressions of feelings, emotions and needs for immediate gratification. In the devolution of human interactivity across a global spectrum, it is likely that organizational and social encounters will continue in maladaptive deterioration. The planet and its human social systems may be in serious jeopardy. Relationships among groups and individuals appear continuously strained and problematic for leaders. As toxic leadership spreads dissention, incompetence and dysfunction, subtle as well as explicit indications reveal increasingly regressive tendencies that enslave progressive abilities and applications.
The inability to argue and debate or engage in productive discourse for proficient productivity cuts across varied aspects of interpersonal communications. Every level of society is at risk. A lot of people appear foolishly ill-equipped and fearfully weak to advance the human species cooperatively in enlightened and futuristically profound ways. Politically, commercially and communally, whatever the engagement, with notably few exceptions, the majority of associational interactions lean toward devolution. Within these frameworks, some would rather bully than collaborate, while others prefer sabotage and passive-aggressive animosities. Negativism disrupts visionary insight.
Counter-productive discourse at managerial and subordinate levels promotes collusive foolishness. It takes a true leader, with the strength of his or her courage, to challenge the dangers of dysfunctional associations. Along with this comes the power and influence of “group think”, which can be quite potent. Herd thinking has an impact upon the network of interrelatedness, whereby the distinctive leader must combat the incessant threat potential. Growing up requires courageousness in standing up to stupidity.
Vigilance is a matter of constant surveillance, mature balance of mindset and profound intuitive attention to detail. Sometimes, the leader may not survive the “culture” in which he or she strives to be a leader. And, for what reason would a person subject oneself to continuous organization warfare? One chooses his or her battles carefully and weighs the sacrifices to be made. There are times when enough is enough, and the price to be paid is too high. In which case, a person may choose to leave that environment. Pressures for conformity are significant and the gain is not worth the risk of one’s moral fiber.
Courageous leadership requires dealing with fears, and learning to live with its effects. In so doing, you develop the fortitude to outwit, outlast and overcome the negativity around you. With every effort, you oppose by the best means you can to dispose of the toxic aspects of such proclivities. Never miscalculate the probability that you’ll be surrounded by poisonous personalities who sometimes claim “leadership” by some “divine right” of misguided transgression. Those who practice poorly evolved “selves” are dependently needy on others for their self-centered validation. Approval and notice of others reinforces their diminutive inner personality. In the poison they spread, they readily say, do and act as though it’s essential others are pleased by their distracting behaviors. By contrast, a good leader rises above the morass of toxicity.
In April 2003, I moved into my first childcare center. I was so excited to have my business out of my home and it was such as empowering experience to take my business to another level.
However, several weeks into operating the business, I began to feel the pressure of being the leader in a commercially ran business.
In fact, everyone looked to me for answers, the employees needed my support, there were tours to conduct, errands to run, decisions to be made, problems to solve, meetings to conduct and so much more.
At the end of every day, I was so mentally drained for the first year of owning the center and I began to wonder if I made the right decision to expand my business into a center.
A conversation with a former pastor, gave me the answer to effectively managing my business and that answer was to read Leadership books.
After I heard my pastor say read John Maxwell Leadership books, I immediately went to the local book store to pick-up John Maxwell books on Leadership.
That conversation with my former pastor, took my business to another level, because what I discovered in studying leadership, could not have happened if I had not picked up a leadership book.
In summary, operating a childcare center can be very demanding on the mind and the body. However, it does not have to be so demanding, if you take the time to develop the leader within you.
As I write this article today, I have studied and practiced leadership practices that I have discovered in John Maxwell books. Today I am going to share with you seven leadership keys that will empower you to effectively manage a business Child Care center.
1. Influence. According to John Maxwell, “Leadership is influence and nothing else. It is vital that you have great influence with your employees, parents and the kids.
2. Priorities: “The Key to Leadership.” Having your priorities in order, will assure that you have effective days. This is why it is vital that you understand the 80/20 rule. In fact, only 20% of your time will give you 80% of your results. In other words; 2-3 of your hours spent at the business will give you the most results, so plan your day wisely and do the most important task first.
3. Integrity: The Most important ingredient in Leadership. Integrity is simply the state of being complete and unified in my words and my deeds match up. In fact, if your deeds do not match up with your words, you will lose credibility with parents and your employees. So be consistent and unified in all that you do.
4. Creating Positive Change: The Ultimate Test of Leadership. As a leader, you must be willing to change. The childcare industry is forever changing and you must have the mindset to change and adapt to industry standards if you are going to survive in the business of childcare. Also, you must be able to create positive change in your business and understand that all of your employees may not adapt to change very well.
5. Problem Solving. A Test of Leadership is the Ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency! It is vital that you become a master at problem solving and teaching problem solving skills to your employees. You must also understand that the problems that you solve on a daily basis, determines the level of your leadership. For example, if a child is crying, who should solve that problem? Hopefully the teacher will solve that problem and not you, because you have bigger problems to solve, such as getting a parent to pay on-time or building enrollment.
6. Vision. “What you see is what you get.” It is a great idea to write the vision of your business and post it where you can see it. When you focus on your vision, you will stay on track, have a sense of purpose and your vision will inspire you to keep going. For example, If you have a vision to purchase a van, new equipment and to hire great teachers, get some pictures of what you want and get started on a vision board. “You have what you see!
7. Staff Development. Those Closest to the Leader will determine the level of success for that leader. This is a lesson that I learned the hard way. When you have great people, you will not have to work so hard. In fact, when you have great teachers, they will not need you as much. They will only need the proper tools and resources to get the job done. However, when you do not hire the right people, it will drain your time and energy. The wrong people gossip, they do not perform well and it will affect your business brand.
I hope that you are now inspired to develop the leader within you, so that you are more effective and a happy Child Care Center Owner. It took me a few years, but now I really enjoy owing a childcare center.
It’s rare for major business journals to talk about experience-based leadership development. So I was pleasantly surprised to see an interview with Cynthia McCauley of the Center for Creative Leadership in Strategy + Business. McCauley describes why on-the-job experience, rather than formal training, is important to developing leadership:
Leaders who step into new situations face challenges that call for untested abilities. They continue to develop their capacities and successfully take on higher levels of leadership responsibility. That’s consistent with what we know about adult learning and development, too: People learn how to do things when they’re put in situations where they have to do them and practice doing them.
This may sound obvious, but few organizations build leadership development around on-the-job experience. Instead, they offer formal training and possibly mentoring or coaching. Therefore, there is a great opportunity to improve leadership quality by matching leaders who are good at learning with experiences that teach them what they need to learn. McCauley provides four tips to organizations interested in doing this:
- Plan initiatives carefully, monitor learning carefully, and track executives as they move up the organization.
- Customize learning experiences to each individual.
- Invest disproportionately in supporting leaders during times in their careers when they need concentrated development. In addition to on-the-job experience, provide peer learning, coaching, and related training.
- Provide experiences that cross organizational boundaries.
This is great stuff. To strengthen it, I’d suggest three powerful complements:
- Identify pivotal new conversations. Conversations are the building blocks of leadership. When leaders take on new experiences, they have an opportunity to enter new types of conversations with new people. What are these specific conversations and what does it take to do them well? For example, let’s say you’re a line manager who has managed organizations of 500-1000 people and you’ve been asked to take on a staff role that reports to the GM of your business. You now have three direct reports rather than ten, and most of the people you need to influence to get things done are outside your authority and unaware of your past track record. What kinds of conversations do you need to have with these people? What prior conversations with your direct manager, the GM, will set you up for success? These are questions worth asking at the outset of any new assignment.
- Deliberately practice these conversations on the job. In Practice Greatness, I describe the four elements of the on-the-job practice cycle: preparing, acting, reflecting, and getting feedback. In this interview, McCauley mentions reflecting but doesn’t explicitly suggest preparing or getting feedback. All four elements are essential to accelerating learning from experience.
- Deliberately practice these conversations with a coach or mentor. I think leaders would learn much faster if we offered them opportunities to practice speaking and listening outside the pressure of everyday work. What if practicing leadership conversations looked like practicing tennis: you say a few things, reflect on how it felt, get quick feedback, adjust, and try again? This is how my coaching clients and I spend one third of our coaching sessions. Although this approach is an outlier in the leadership development field, it is mainstream for other endeavors in which people are consciously practicing for high performance.
Did you ever hear ‘man is the center of the universe?’ It sounds strange, right? But wait a minute, I am still proving it. When we feel uncomfortable, we are naturally tended to question severely and prove things either right or wrong. However, this article has nothing to prove about, but it may help somehow to stir up public consciousness.
In communist countries, blind submissiveness becomes a long standing culture. leadership is an unquestionable. The common reason or mind has invaded individuals’ uniqueness, and replaced it with a fear of exploration. In effect, people do not know what their role should be in a leadership role.
We should discuss issues freely and unconditionally from a personal matter to a leadership level in a critical manner. Leadership issues exist at all levels; they are inevitable, and that cannot be set apart from our daily lives. Many, however, think that leadership issues are restricted only to those who are at the office. It is a wrong perception, or a trick to divorce us from leadership roles. Leadership is, after all, an action to discover human potential, not collectively, but individually. Interested groups have failed terribly, but individuals won and outshined. Scientists, for instance, outclassed interested politicians. This is because scientists think individually, whereas politicians think collectively as a mob.
To begin with, there are a number of leadership models; some are out of date, while others are at the brink of death. From the trait leadership model to the modern model of integrated psychological leadership, there are 13 models. However, none of them could stand the pressure of time, culture, change and technological advancement.
With time, everything changes. Heraclitus said, “You cannot step twice in the same river.” Time is the only authentic witness that we should rely on for evidences and factual facts. What seems impeccable now may die shortly. For instance, the world has seen a number of powerful politicians, but with time they vanished once and for all. It is not only with politicians, but also with leaders. Legendary leaders, whom the world trusted most, are no more influential as they did in the past. This simply proves that past leadership models could not last long.
What is leadership model, anyway? Literally, a model is something worth of imitation, or a representative pattern of certain behaviors. Simply put, leadership model is an effort after discipline, commitment or conviction. It helps ease role confusion, chaos or complexities, and brings forth predictable organizational behaviors. Leadership model is, therefore, helpful for guidance and governance of promising future.
If you refer some leadership books, you may read a number of times that leadership is an action to guide thoughts and behaviors. However, a critical question may arise: what is a leadership behavior? Some experts define leadership behavior as the overall atmosphere of an organization.
How organizations or nations behave? There is no a specific parameter, but for far too long, nations behave destructively. Nations have been the victims of old leadership models. The wars, poverty, diseases, illiteracy or dictatorship are simple parameters of how a nation behaves. You might have pondered how your country behaves. If you have done it, what is the most important thing in your country, the individual or the state’s ideology? This question may divorce you from national prejudices or political blindness, but it will never ever hinder you from becoming an authentic leader. By authentic leader, I mean that, you are the leader and model of leadership.
The individual, I mean you, is the center as well as the master of a state. The individual is the nucleus around which the state is formed or established. An individual’s whole being bears the imprint of a state. Simply put, you are the signature of a state. It is logic that a state is byproduct of individual talents, that is, all its behaviors and practical practices are the manifestations or expressions of our individual dreams, creativity, purposes or aims. Therefore, you are the hub of a state and model of leadership. If you hesitate, you may wish to research or consult experts in the field.