As a “growing” leader I am always inspired by the work of other leaders and thinkers. The online community stretches me beyond my own experiences and thinking. I engage in several leadership tribes … and bring their thoughts and challenges back to you and the Let’s Grow Leaders Community. It’s fun to stir those pots as well. Here’s what’s up and what’s coming in some of these growing scenes… Continue Reading…
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As the year draws to a close, one reader suggested I share my thoughts on “best of 2012,” particularly for those readers who may have joined recently.
And so, with deep gratitude for all of your support, I share a few of my favorites in case you missed them.
Best of 2012: 3 Most Popular
This one was also a lot of fun, because it sparked such an interesting conversation (and debate) on LinkedIn as well. I began with a question to the online community, “What words make the biggest impact when providing recognition?” Recognition is so important to us all, and there are so many important viewpoints on how to approach it.
These posts were not official contenders for the best of 2012 because they were written early in the game, mostly to a very small audience. A little rough, but heartfelt.
Guest Posts and Interviews
Grateful for the Connection and Support from Dan Rockwell, The Most Powerful Thing Experienced Leaders Do (interview with Dan Rockwell on his site, Leadership Freak)
Favorite Guest Post on another site, Leader Athletes: Training Long for the Long Run (Guest Post on Lead Change Group)
Youngest Guest Post on Let’s Grow Leaders, Leadership from a Kid’s Point of View: Lucky or Skillful (Sebastian Hurt, Age 7)
What was your favorite post of 2012?
What topics would you like to see in 2013?
In the context of the conversation on “influence,” my friend, Lisa Kohn turned me on to The Arbinger Institute’s work on Leadership and Self-Deception. Not a new book (first published in 2000), but quite useful in this context.
The main idea…in any leadership role, we must first look deeply at ourselves– and understand how our experiences and motives impact our view of others.
“Self-deception … blinds us to the true causes of problems, and once we’re blind, all the ‘solutions’ we can think of will actually make matters worse. Whether at work or at home, self-deception obscures the truth about ourselves, corrupts our view of others and our circumstances, and inhibits our ability to make wise and helpful decisions.”
The first obstacle is understanding when we are operating from a less than objective place.
The irony is that even when we think we are working on a conflict, or working on ourselves… we can’t really do it, if there is self-deception involved.
From a place like this, it’s tough to…
change ourselves (because we don’t believe we need to)
implement new skills or techniques (because we are not truly open)
communicate clearly (because we are not sure how it will be received)
reach compromise (because we believe our way is right)
How do you start with an honest conversation on the inside?
“Because everything we say and do is the length and shadow of our souls. Our influence is determined by the quality of our being.”
-Dale E. Turner
How can we best ignite change and inspire growth, when we don’t have control?
Later this month, I am bringing about 100 folks together to chat about influence. We will create space to share our stories. And take an honest look at how we roll.
Questions of Influence
What is influence?
Why does it matter?
What skills are most vital?
How do we build them?
What if our influence isn’t working?
What if you went back through your life and gave out “most influential awards”?
Who would win?
Did they have power and control?
Or was it something else…?
- Who has been most influential for you? Why?
- Who might have been? What could they have done differently?
See also, Everybody into the Pool
As we have been working through our “Charisma Project,” I have been on the look out for signs of great charisma in every day life, and realized it’s time for me to talk about Larry.
Larry Owensel is a professional dancer and personal trainer, and teaches the interval kickboxing class I have been taking each week for the last 4 years. It’s a great workout for sure, but mostly I go to experience Larry in action. Larry, a great grandfather in his mid fifties, has charisma. He transforms attitudes and bodies by motivating his loyal following to believe in the possibilities and always stretch for more. Continue Reading…
Over a year ago I had a debate with a friend that just keeps staying with me. His premise, “by the time we are in our 40s our path is set….your potential is channeled… you are just not going to accomplish anything significant you haven’t already started” For some reason that comment from a friendly conversation infuriated me, and I keep trying to decide why.
He and I both have great spouses, awesome kids, interesting lives, important work. Both paths, even if they were truly “set” are good. And for some reason, I have to know there is more. There are still many areas where “great” is an option, and I can’t imagine not opening my heart to new possibilities. Continue Reading…
At times, leaders must be tough. Very tough. We must set high expectations, we must hold people accountable, we must ensure everyone is always striving for more. That works.
And there is also the need for “happy talk,” timed well.
One thing that I found as I have grown in the business, is how much people listen… not just to what we say… but to our entire mood. Of course, they text and instant message about it too…. just saying…. Continue Reading…
There is much we can learn from following. We all find ourselves in positions to follow both great and horrible leaders from time to time. It helps to stop and really pay attention to how we feel during the process.
Pay Attention to Emotions
As leaders, we lead and follow with much intensity. Because we care, the range of emotions is powerful. When we are deeply invested, the wins are that much sweeter. At the same time, disappointments and frustrations can run deep as well. Paying attention to the emotions we experience as followers can help us become more empathetic leaders. Continue Reading…