I remember my mom telling me early on that “words matter.” Once you say something it cannot be unsaid. Even if you apologize and/or make excuses, the imprint on another person’s brain is still there. And, sometimes the repercussions can last for years or even a lifetime. There are many situations where I wish I […]
Sadly, it seems rare these days when I see something that a professional athlete does that I feel sets a good example for my children and even inspires me. One could argue that the physical abilities of athletes has grown considerably since I was young. Their exploits on the field seem to continually set a […]
There are a lot of excuses being bandied about regarding the words of Donald Trump and that once he gets elected he will modify his rhetoric and become more presidential. Sadly, this energy is only growing. I hear many apologists state that It was just the rigors of the political campaign season and he’s doing […]
Anyone can manipulate words and stretch the facts to suit their short term objective. However, it is difficult long-term to fake behavior and eventually your words will catch up with you.
Donald T. Phillips in his wonderful book, Martin Luther King on Leadership, does a nice job providing significant detail as to why Martin Luther King (MLK) was a great leader. We often focus on the rhetoric and powerful speeches that he gave, but there is so much more substance to the man than just what he had to say.
As part of my work, I am in a lot of meetings and conference calls. It’s amazing and somewhat disheartening at times to see how the quality of these interactions can vary. There are moments where it feels like everyone is “dialed-in” and paying rapt attention, but these are few and far between. More often […]
Over the years I've noticed that it is inexperienced or mediocre leaders who feel like they have to dominate all conversations. It's almost as if what anyone else has to say has limited or no value and it is only their opinion that counts. We've all been in meetings where there is that one person who simply will not be quiet and yield the floor to others. They are also often prone to interrupting their colleagues before they can finish their thoughts and using obvious body language when the center of attention isn't focused on them. This is bad enough when it is a peer but even worse when it is the actual leader of the group. Nobody likes a "know it all."
The leader of an organization always sets the tone. Never forget this fact. I am often slightly bemused when I hear a leader complain about the state of things in their organization. It's almost as if they remove themselves from the equation. They wonder how things have devolved to this point as if it is some deep mystery when all they have to do is look in the mirror. Your people are a reflection of your hiring decisions; the quality of your meetings is directly related to how you lead them and model this behavior for others; missing deadlines is a reflection of what you are willing to tolerate in others and yourself; a lack of focus almost always starts at the top; teamwork only ever happens when the coach sets the expectations and creates the conditions for this to happen; optimistic or pessimistic cultures are usually a reflection of leader's point of view; etc.
A while back a colleague's comments encouraged me to revisit the book, The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck. I am very glad this happened because it resonated much differently with me twenty years later. I've decided to end the year sharing some excerpts from the book which I have found especially enlightening and helpful:
I find that one of the most recognizable traits of an effective leader is that they bring positive energy to a room. You can feel it the moment they walk through the door. I have been in banquet halls far from the entrance and felt the presence of certain people as they arrived. It's almost as if a small electrical jolt works its way through the crowd. While most of us aren't blessed with this type of "rock star" aura, we can certainly notice and work on the effect we have on others. You are either adding energy to the group dynamic or diminishing it. It really is this simple. Leaders must be a source of consistent positive energy if they want to get the most of out of their people.