Every single day in my inbox there are at least a half-dozen articles on leadership. Makes sense right? That’s my field! Leadership, Business Excellence and Performance. So, I see a lot of articles.
What bothers me about these articles is that they all list the qualities that are most important for a good leader or a great leader. By now we should have a handle on that right? But we don’t because we are asking the wrong question.
Most of these articles deal with which of these ‘qualities’ is more key than the others. Is it transparency that’s more important? Or, is it control? Perhaps, it’s vision?
I had the great good fortune to be interviewed by Bill Cobb about leadership in business last weekend. I wish to share the interview will all of you. I have a post brewing now about effective communication – stay tuned for that! Meanwhile – click on the image below to have a listen.
To your continued amazingness,
I am writing from a state of awe, humility and gratitude for all of what I witnessed that day at the ICF Leadership Conference.
Before I share all that though, I need to tell you I got to sing! Yes, that’s right! I sang at Red Rocks. Thank you Todd Musselman for that inspiring opportunity. I have always wanted to do something like that – and in spite of crazy jitters, I did it.
Has there ever been something you always wanted to do? But somehow, you – well, you just never have? Singing is that thing for me. I sing all the time – but with a mic? In front of other people? Whew!
Have you ever said this?
“I’m so ticked off! I never seem to have time to get this thing off the ground.”
My long time client said this to me just yesterday. Her frustration sounded something like this: ‘I am constantly overwhelmed and putting my time and energy into keeping a broken system going. I know I need to fix the system. But I never seem to get out from under the overwhelm enough to work on fixing the system! I’m so frustrated!’
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever had the situation of knowing that [your idea] is brilliant (this book, this menu, this innovation in existing technology), and you’ve explored it, gotten feedback, you’re excited. Now you’ve got to execute. But, you’re not sure how to get off the hamster wheel.
Have you ever had an idea that you just know is really great? Something with real potential?
What do you do with it?
Have you ever just tried to mull it over yourself?
Are you inclined to keep it hidden because…..someone else might steal it? or, deep inside do you worry someone might laugh? Or think you’re an idiot?
Do you hold back exploring because you fear that you might track the idea in front of someone and then discover that it isn’t so great after all?
Leadership as a concept is tossed hither and thither these days, in every arena. In overusing the word, we run the risk of diluting it’s meaning and missing the importance of the concept. Yet it continues to be a critical and misunderstood skill. A good friend of mine phoned me a couple of days ago – someone I’ve known for many many years. Professionally, she changes lives (for the better). She told me a story of a high successful man, a leader of teams, companies and a single parent. This man was struggling at his 50th birthday – some years ago – because while he was known publicly as an exceptional leader, he had not yet learned the art of leadership of the self. He was very very intelligent, and sought expert help in learning emotional communication skills. Little did he know it was to mature him, and radically transform his personal life, his inner life and his professional life. I too work with exceptional leaders to help them apply their skills in more areas of their lives so I did a little research (yes, I am a geek!) and I found the following:
Years ago, I studied entrepreneurship and innovation with a man who himself had built big business from small enterprises, crashed and burned, and then rebuilt his business, life, family and health anew in a sustainable and powerful way. His name was Bob Allen. He was known for his no money down real estate strategies in the public eye.
He and I spent quite a bit of time together and what I knew him for was two things:
1. Being able to manage a huge number of “spinning plates” simultaneously, with grace
2. Having the humility and love to not only accept his rebellious, punked out, rather public daughter (they were quite mormon) – but to also encourage her and bring out the very heart of her talent through his loving leadership as a parentIng
I learned a truly tough lesson this week. You see, I am sincerely a perfectionist at heart. I know perfectly well that I have a need to be professional and excellent at everything I do and I dislike (intensely) making any excuses for any result that is less than exceptional. Mostly, I’ve figured that’s a good thing overall.
Two weeks ago, I did a webinar that was very well received called the Seven Deadly Sins in Marketing Your Business. By the way, you can watch it here – I’ve been getting calls and emails for two weeks from people who tweaked some important things and increased the number of clients they have already! I did that webinar and it came off well!
Angie said, “the worst boss I ever had was an ego-centric, know it all who constantly criticized and never did a constructive thing….” Her partner in the exercise said, “really Angie? Was it really that bad? ALL the time?” Angie thought about it for a moment and said, “probably not, but we were all so upset about the havoc she wreaked on us and our projects, that the damage she did seemed way more than it was. In the end it amounted to the same thing – even little obstacles when they come from the boss can seem monumental.”
Have you ever had a really terrible boss? One who was a bully? or who only cared about himself or her own career? Ever had a boss who was a coward or simply lazy? How about that boss that tells you how to do your job when really you have it handled just fine?
The phrase “In the Zone” – comes from sports – and it means being on fire in life for something worthwhile.
Have you ever known people who are parked on the side of the road of life? People who are content with treading water? People who have said (perhaps unconsciously) to themselves that their dreams are really not so very important