The Handy Leader

You do not become a leader from laziness! Some people believe that work is a four-letter curse word. Look at all the great leaders that we read about and I promise you that one of their shining characteristics were that they worked extremely hard.

Your hands speaks volumes about you!  I personally work with my hands everyday of my life.  People often times ask me what I do for a living, and I say, “I manage a preventive maintenance shop.”  And they respond by saying they figured, based on how my hands look.  Hands are a very important part of our body, so much so that we take for granted many times the functionality and value that they provide for us each and everyday of our lives.

In John C. Maxwell’s book, Thinking For a Change, in the cartoon, Charlie Brown is holding up his hands and telling Lucy, “These are the hands which may someday accomplish great things.  These are hands which may someday do marvelous works!  They may build mighty bridges, or heal the sick, or hit home runs, or write soul-stirring novels!  These are the hands which may someday change the course of destiny!”  Lucy looks at his hands and simply says, “They’ve got jelly on them.” (1)

Your hands are a big part of your dreams and your ability to lead.  As a kid I would play games, throw rocks, and build tree houses.  My hands then began to write equations, take test, and wash dishes at a part-time job.  Now my hands work everyday, hold my babies, and point others in the right direction.  I have great plans for my hands, I want them to do great things and make great things happen.  Let me give you a few thoughts on how you can use your hands to lead.

Remember There Are No Handouts

As a leader we should not expect any handouts or freebies.  Do not get me wrong, sometimes the pendulum swings our way and a gift will fall right into our laps.  I for one will take full advantage of it and exploit it to the best of my abilities.  But for the most part nothing is for free and we should fully expect to earn our way to the top.

I never was a person who wanted a handout. I was a cafeteria worker. I’m not too proud to ask the Best Western manager to give me a job. I have cleaned homes.

-Shirley Jackson

Old-timers and even a great majority of the people today understand this concept, that permanent handouts can cripple a person’s ability to lead.  Here are a few things to help you climb your way to the top:

  • Accept responsibility- Understand where you are at right now.  You might be at the bottom.  Or you may not be an effective leader with a dysfunctional team.  Accept your position and situation.
  • Develop a plan-  What is your plans to grow as a leader?  What is your projection of where you are going?  How are you going to get to the top?  Be specific, be realistic, but be optimistic.
  • Work your butt off-  Do not accept handouts! WORK YOUR BUTT OFF!  MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Handouts will do nothing but weaken you and keep you down.  Do not accept the way things are.  Do not accept the status quo!  Do not wait for something to happen, do something about it!

Getting Your Hands Dirty

You do not become a leader from laziness!  Some people believe that work is a four-letter curse word.  Look at all the great leaders that we read about and I promise you that one of their shining characteristics were that they worked extremely hard.

“Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.”

-Ecclesiastes 9:10

You must determine what it is you want.  Do you want a good marriage?  Do you want your congregation to grow?  Do you want to meet a new sales goal?  Do you want a nice bass boat?  Do you want straight A’s?

Whatever it is you want, you need to wrapped your hands around the plow, put your nose down, and drive forward.  You will break a sweat, be tested and tried, broken and beaten!  But let consistency be your friend!  Let patience be your confidant!  Embrace discipline as your brother and work as your sister!

Managing and leading can be a dirty job.  Dealing with people and personalities can give you callouses and blisters.  Leading your family in this crazy generation can litter your body with bumps and bruises.  But in the end it can be said of you that your were not afraid of a little work.  You gave it everything you got!

I learned the value of hard work by working hard.

-Margaret Mead

muddy-pig

“Finesse”

I am reminded of the early days of working in the preventive maintenance industry, I would be working with a lot of plastic pieces underneath the hood of a car.  Inevitably, I would break something and have to go and explain myself to the boss.  He would just shake his head and say “Finesse!  Finesse! Finesse!  It’s just plastic! Be easy with it!”

Leadership is a lot like this.  Working with people takes lots of finesse.  I liken it to an artist that has the most delicate touch.  Most artist do not use hammers and shovels to paint a masterpiece, but rather use the slightest stroke and pinpoint accuracy when placing the brush to the canvas.

Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.

-John Wooden

Here a few quick thoughts to help you with finesse:

  • Have a passion for being a leader
  • Seek mastery in all you do
  • Never be afraid of failure, just get another canvas

Finesse requires an expert touch from years of training, years of failure and success, knowledge of the paints and canvas, and years of taking raw material and applying them with such vision, passion, and skills.

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.

-Aristotle

Finally, as a leader, do not accept handouts, do not be afraid to get your hands dirty, and remember that finesse will create the masterpiece.  Look now at both of your hands and ask yourself, “What am I doing with these hands, that will make me a great leader, a great parent, or a great student?”  You can be a hands on leader and truly make a difference.  Now go for it!

 

 

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3 Ways To Get “Back” To Leading

Screaming in excruciating pain, leadership in this world today seems to have fallen and broken it’s back.  One of the worst injuries a person can sustain is a broken back, creating all kinds of havoc upon the life of the individual.  By way of introduction, I am going to mention a few common effects of a back that has been broken:

  1.  Crippled Leadership– Ineffective Leading
  2.  Paralyzed Leadership– Inactive Leading
  3.  Dead Leadership– Indefinite Loss of Leading

Leadership needs to get “back” to doing what it’s function was meant to do-LEAD!  Many “leaders” need to press their “life alert” button, because they “have fallen and can’t get up!”

Staying with our theme, “The Anatomy of a Leader,” I want to give you three ways that will affect a leaders back and get them “back” to leading.

Get a Backbone

I love this quote I saw sometime ago,

“I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.”

-Alexander the Great

We need a generation of leaders that are going to get some grit in their crawl and take a stand.  Strong leadership is one of the crowning jewels of a nation, a business, and a family.  Sometimes, that means standing alone!  Sometimes, that means being misunderstood, or even mocked.  But the leader with a backbone has weathered many a storm, and has stood on the bow of the ship and guided it through some rough waters.

Do not confuse what I am saying. I am not talking about being belligerent, loud, and obnoxious.  Being a jerk and running people over is not leadership.

You may be an introvert and still be strong, quite but confident, and humble but bold. Some of the greatest leaders in history were introverts. They lead without being loud!  They leave their mark without being a mockery!  They can guide without acting like God!  They have authority without a bad attitude!

Having a backbone, standing strong, and guiding with confidence, will get you “back” to leading.

Backing Up is Not an Option

Forward progress should be the direction of every aspiring leader.  Carrying the weight of the world and feeling the pressure of your position will many times send the leader into retreat and backing out of their responsibility.

Fear is a great monster that torments our mind, but can be a great motivator that thrusts into forward motion.  Fear holds back many leaders and cripples them from any real and true progress.

“There can be no retreat when there’s no rear. You can’t retreat, or even withdraw, when you’re surrounded. The only thing you can do is to break out, and in order to do that you have to attack, and that is what we’re about to do. Heck, all we’re doing is attacking in a different direction.”

—Marine Major General Oliver P. Smith, in Korea, 1950

Great leaders know that there is no retreat.  No retreat in the fire!  No retreat in the fight!  No retreat in the face of failure!  What are you going to retreat to?  Where would you go and what would you be doing?  Those with a backbone must not back up or back down, but march on!

The back is the most vulnerable part of the body when you are in the retreat mode.  You cannot protect it or shield it.  Let me give you a few things that will keep you from moving backwards:

  • Courage- Merriam-Webster said that courage is the “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”

Courage is the main quality of leadership, in my opinion, no matter where it is exercised. -Walt Disney

  • Confidence- Confidence is a state of mind.  To me confidence comes from small victories every single day.  I go to work every day with the mindset of winning.  We have the best product.  We have a great team.  We have an amazing customer base.  I can have confidence in the fact that whatever I face or whatever I feel, I can overcome it by simply pressing forward and not giving up.
  • A Calling- If you do not believe in what you are doing, read my lips, “YOU WILL NOT MAKE IT!”  It has to be a passion that drives you through the fiercest trials and battles.  You need to find your calling!  You know what it is!  It has been nagging on you for years.  Go for it and do not look back!

Use your back for other purposes other than retreating, and those around you will follow you and trust you, because they can see that you are a person that is willing to stick with the stuff no matter what!

Brace Yourself

When I lifted weights a lot, one thing I wore all the time was a back brace.  I would be lifting heavy weights and would need additional support to keep from hurting my back.

Listen, you need to brace yourself for the burdens that you are about to lift.  The leader needs a strong back in order to carry such a load.  Why wear a brace?

  1. Support- As a leader you need support.  Whether it is motivational resources, a mentor, a spouse, your team, or whatever you deem strong enough to keep you motivated.
  2. Strength- Constant training is necessary but will leave you weak and vulnerable at times.  A brace will help you maintain form and posture, to best assist you in your strength training.  You will need strength as a leader!

These two things will help you brace for failure and fatigue.  Do not let the burden of a leader cause you to back away or back down, but rather put a passion in you to lead with great influence.

The ability to handle these loads will determine your ability to lead. It’s true, the leader carries great burdens, more than the average person.  Brace for it and press on!

Your back is without a doubt a vital part to your body.  It affects your lumbar, posture, nervous system.  It attaches the brain and the tail bone.  The back is important to the leader’s anatomy and must be protected at all cost.  TheSuccessfulLeader blog wants you to get “back” to what you love to do and are passionate about-Leading!

-Dustin Carr

http://www.thesuccessfulleader.wordpress.com

Like my blog on Facebook and Twitter, and share it with those that you know that could use some encouragement as a leader.  Thank you!

“No Guts, No Glory!”

“Who am I kiddin’? I ain’t even in the guy’s league…It don’t matter, ’cause I was nobody before…I was nobody. That don’t matter either, ya know…It really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed. And if I can go that distance, ya see, and that bell rings, ya know, and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, ya see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.” 

-Rocky Balboa

Rocky is without a question one of the greatest movie series of all time.  I mean, what is there not to love about a small-town underdog competing with big league boxers, overcoming great odds, and marrying the woman of his dreams?  We all can quote the movie, we love to run upstairs and throw our hands up and start shadow boxing like the Italian Stallion, and all of us guys can quote the scenes where Rocky is trying to woo Adrianne with his savvy Italian accent and goofy little sayings.

The left-hander seemed to have it all, but what made him so great was the fact he had guts!  When you think of the Anatomy of a Leader, you cannot bypass the fact that every great leader has guts.

It is almost like this meme I seen the other day, “I was cut from a different cloth, and they don’t make my fabric anymore.”  Have you ever met people like Rocky that were cut from a different cloth?  Every generation has them, every age group has their rising star, every industry has their genius, every army has their general, and every family has their patriarch or matriarch. These stars outshines the rest of the pack, they stand head above shoulders to their peers.  They saw differently, spoke differently, acted differently, but most of all they had the guts to lead their generation.  Let me give you a few points that will hopefully inspire you to be a successful leader.

 1.) Be Willing to Start at the Bottom

Rocky Balboa is a fictional character, but gives a true representation of all the great leaders that we have come to know and love.  He was just another kid, scrapping his way around town and trying to make his mark on life.  It takes guts to step into the ring each day and battle your way to the top!

Starting at the bottom is awesome!  I see three things that gives me optimism with starting from the bottom:

  • There is room for advancement
  • There is so much knowledge to gain
  • It teaches you work ethic and perspective

My mom worked at McDonald’s, and she decided she wanted to make more money, so she got into the management program at McDonald’s. And that’s how you move up the chain. It’s not by demanding that minimum wage is raised; it’s by actually acquiring the skills. That’s the way that people get ahead in life.   -Raul Labrador

It takes guts to start at the bottom and work your tail off to rise to the top!  I do not know where I saw this from, but our generation complains about $8 an hour when our grandparents seen it as opportunity in their day.  I love that!

Rocky rose to the top!  He worked to the top!  He bled to the top!  And when you rise to the top this way, you feel humbled, yet you feel like you belong there.

2.)  Be Willing to Rise to the Top

My mind goes back thirteen years ago, as a young man starting in the preventive maintenance industry vacuuming cars and cleaning their windows.  I never thought of being anything other than that.  A few short years after starting with the company, I became the assistant manager and then a year or two later I rose to the top management position.  

Drawing from my own experience I can give you a few things that assisted me in rising to the top.

  • I worked my butt off– As a courtesy technician I worked my tail off.  We were doing to 35 to 45 cars a day and I was working 54 to 58 hrs a week.  Every position I took, I strove to be the best.  Do not wait for luck to come your way, prove yourself and create your own luck.
  • I wanted to learn–  I wasn’t satisfied with just doing courtesy.  I wanted to know every position in the building and be the best at every position.  When I became management, I made a ton of mistakes but I bought every book, watched every video to help me maximize my effectiveness.  Now, later in my life I decided to go to school for business management to rise to the next level.
  • I was never satisfied–  I am never satisfied where my team is.  I want to always drive for records.  I always want to maximize my team’s efficiency.  I want to take our team to whole new heights.

It takes guts to rise to the top.  The ascent to the top is full of obstacles and setbacks, and it means having guts of steel to make it to the highest summit.

3.)  Take Others With You

Never forget that when you climb the summit all by yourself you are only risking your own life.  That is the safest way to go.  When you get to the top by yourself, you alone get all the glory.  That is the selfish way to go.

climbers on everest

It is when you take others with you and you invest in people that you take the greatest risks.  It takes guts to invest in others.

John C. Maxwell said it best, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”

The leader trains, they communicate, they cast a vision, and they bear the load so that their team shines in the end, so when it is all said in done the leader can say, “We did it together!”

Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.

-Chris Hadfield

Conclusion

This is no doubt my most important blog yet.   Do you have the guts it takes to be a true leader?  To train harder, work harder, risk more, shine less, and be the leader that you need to be to make a difference.  Never be satisfied and get the guts it takes to make it!

Not For The Faint of Heart

Do you have the heart to be an effective leader? Leadership isn’t for the faint of heart!

Nearly 735,000 Americans suffer from a heart attack each year. The rise of heart problems has opened doors for Americans to seek out healthier lifestyles, such as better eating habits, exercise programs, and taking up stress management.

Likewise, our leaders are suffering from “heart disease.”  Unhealthy habits have skyrocketed, causing a host of bad practices to prevail in the our leaders. Being a true inspirational leader is not for the faint of heart.  I believe one of the main difference between true leaders and those that have the “position,” is that the true leader has heart!

Let me give you a few healthy practices for you to begin creating a healthy heart and to get you back in shape again as a leader.

1.  Fast Food, Fried Food, and Fake Food

“Dunlap” disease and “dad bod,” has been my lot in life lately. LOL!  Fast food, fried food, and fake food has been the contributor to my “beautiful physique” these last couple years.  As I get older I become more cautious about what I eat.  I’m finding out that heart disease runs in my family.  You see, it is a big deal what food we put into our mouths.

What the leader ingests makes a big difference in how they lead.  We find that bad leaders are bad because of what they learned from other bad leaders.  Making positive “meals” each and everyday can develop us into healthy, happy, and high performing leaders.

When I say meals, what I mean is the type of information you receive and process.  Here are a few poisons that will clog your leadership arteries:

  • Negativity– Is definitely the single most poisonous substance.  It spreads and is contagious.  Negativity will drive effective leadership in the ground.
  • Micro-leading- This is the same as micro-managing, but not everyone is a working manager.  But leaders feel they have to control every aspect of everyone’s, every move.  Micro- leading will lead your team to not being efficient and never making a decision on their own.  They will wilt away and never shine their true personality and skills.
  • Bullying–  Many leaders fall in this death trap.  They become bullies and treat their followers like dirt.  Leading by fear is their M.O.  Belittling and berating your crew is the death knell to any high performing team and stunts any growth that you may have gained.

These poisons are brought on by past experiences, past mentors, and personalities that aren’t willing to change.  Lay down the “potato chips” and “sodas” that seek to destroy ability to be effective, but rather choose healthy alternatives to grow you, and promote you as a leader.

2.  “You Are Just Not Working Out”

In more way than one!  Leaders do not work out because they fail to build upon a positive foundation and develop the skills needed to be an effective leader.  These individuals are faint in heart and weak because they stopped  growing and learning.

This world needs strong leadership.  Leaders with no morals, no motivation, and no mental strength are weak.

There’s a few exercises you can do to develop the heart of leadership:

  • Resistance Training- According to sharecare.com, ” Resistance training is any exercise that causes your muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increasing muscle mass, strength and/or endurance.” As a leader we are going to face resistance and push back.  Resistance can be people, even giants we face with ourselves, or any external force for that matter.  Our ability to workout will determine our ability to “workout” as leaders.
  • Cardio Training- This is the one I hate!  Running, sweating, and that overwhelming desire to throw up!  Don’t you love it?  What does cardio do for you?  It builds endurance.  Leaders need endurance to keep them in the race. Those that lack endurance, burn out quick, get tired easily, and tend to quit           prematurely.  They are faint in heart and fall at the first sign of fatigue.  Where’s our leaders that have no quit in them?  They keep going in face of all odd.  Where are they?
  • Strength Training- If we want our heart to truly be in it we must add strength training to our repertoire.  Strength training is lifting heavy weights in hopes that our muscles get bigger and grow stronger.  Many many times as leaders we are called upon to lift heavy weights.  Quite a few leaders flake out because they aren’t strong enough to carry the load.   You do not become an effective leader overnight just like you do not look like Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight.

You must train and train hard.  Yeah, you will have days where you don’t feel like working out.  But may I encourage you to press on and develop those skills necessary to get your heart into leadership so that you will work out in the end.

3.  Courage to Change

Last, of all you need courage to change.  People with heart disease must change their whole lives to reverse the years of damage they have done to their hearts.  Change is necessary for leaders to remain relevant and respected.

People aren’t happy with the way they look physically or happy with their health.  Yet, they aren’t willing to make the changes needed to fix the problem.

I heard this a long time ago and it makes so much sense, “Keep doing the same things and you will keep getting the same results.”

“Leaders” are the same, they complain about their team, they complain about money flow, they complain pretty much about everything but themselves.  What you need, is to look in the mirror, see yourself for who you are, and be willing to simply change in the areas you are lacking, that is causing you to not have your heart into it.

Conclusion

This was kind of a long blog, but I find it necessary that we as leaders get a checkup on ourselves and be evaluated on the health of our ability to lead.  Most leader’s hearts aren’t in it and the ones that are trying don’t have the right training to be effective.  May you find yourself working out and training yourself and by other leaders to find your way to the top of your respected field.

Dustin L. Carr

http://www.thesuccessfulleader.wordpress.com

 

The Inspired Leader

Do you struggle with inspiration? Or, just need an extra shot in the arm? This article is for you.

I have a book called The Inspirational Leader, by John Adair.  This book begins by describing the need for leaders to inspire others to maximum efficiency.  To be a leader one must rally their people around the common goals that are set forth by management.  But may I say that we have few inspirational leaders, because they aren’t inspired themselves.  I want to break away from the “Anatomy of the Leader” this once and just encourage you to be inspired.  If you lack inspiration here are few helps to get you back on track.

Look For Inspiration in Everything

I was watching a show hosted by Steve Harvey, called Little Big Shots, and this boy came out in an electric wheelchair.  He was famous on the internet for his videos of him singing and rapping.  What I loved most about this kid, though he has a bone crippling disease and has every right to have a bleak outlook on life, this young man had the most positive energy and can electrify a room.  His singing was second to none and it was awesome, but his attitude was even better.  So what does this have to do with leadership?

Leadership, many times is a frame of mind.  How we think determines our actions.  Watching a young man like that makes me wonder why I grumble and complain, and feel the “drudgery” of life.  Leaders have to dig down and find something or someone that can inspire them and help them to develop a positive mindset.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Antoine de Saint Exupery

Oh let us lead by example, with intelligence, with confidence, but let us never fail to lead by inspiration.  What about those famous coaches that inspired teams to greatness and championships.

These coaches were hard on their men and women, they worked them to the limits, they disciplined the players that did not want to do right, but foremost they were championship coaches because they inspired their teams.

You can motivate by fear, and you can motivate by reward. But both those methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self motivation.        –Homer Rice

Find something that inspires you.  Enjoy the feeling.  Relish the moment.  And share it with others.

Quotes Are Not Fixes

I love quotes and I believe they are important.  Quotes are small windows into the life of geniuses that preceded before us.  They are bursts of inspirations, that may enlighten us, lift us, brighten us, and many other emotions, but may I say the most important outcome of quotes are meant to change us.

Inspiration is great, but let us use it as a tool.  Your goal as a leader is to always be changing.  Remember this, “No leader has ever inspired people to change, that were not first themselves inspired to change.”

Leaders should wake up everyday thinking, “What steps can I take today to get me to where I want to go?”  What changes can you make?  How can you bring these quotes into reality?  In your everyday grind, when you’re sweating, when your working, when your raising your kids, living the real life, you can’t live on quotes.  But when you get tired and your vision begins to wain, you have mental block, and you face a little depression, then I say break out the quotes.  Do not let quotes give you just a good feeling, but let them be the reps that builds your strength, to help you carry on.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Inspirations

Every morning when I wake up I go into my sons bedroom and pick him up to take him to lay with his mother.  I do this for two purposes:  The first, is so my wife doesn’t have to wake up to go get him when he starts crying, so she can sleep in a little.  The second reason, is to hold him and kiss him, and to feel my inspiration.  He is my inspiration!

My wife and I could live on next to nothing cause we know how to survive.  We have eaten a lot of sandwiches and Vienna Sausages! LOL!  But when my son came along, inspiration hit me right in the heart.  I have a helpless beautiful angel that needs me to succeed and provide him the best opportunities that I possibly can.

When I need some inspiration, I unlock my phone and look at the hundred of pictures of my little man and it reminds me why I work a full time job, strive as a manager, and go to college full time to get a business management degree.  He has been to church ever since he was two days old.  I strive to be a christian and lead by example in front of my son.  Deliver messages that will hopefully get to his heart one day.

I see those pictures and it inspires me, it moves me, it changes me, it raises me, it creates hunger, drive, it’s a true deep inspiration.  Not superficial, not selfish, not temporal.  I want to leave a legacy and that’s what makes me want to be the best leader I can be.

Now, that’s what drives me, what drives you?  What inspires you?  Take a picture of it hang it up and let it raise you to new heights and burn  a blazing fire inside you!

So, when you wake up in the mornings and you feel the need to lay out of work, to not do your best, to relax or let up, DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!  BE THE INSPIRED LEADER.

Can You Hear Me Now?

I loved those famous cell phone commercials featuring two individuals communicating on their phones with one another; with one confused and listening real hard, as the other person is saying over and over, “can you hear me now?”

Watching this scene reminds me of a lot of conversations that I have had in the past with those that were my superiors.  As part of the anatomy of a leader, I want to discuss the ears of the leader.

It was funny, as a young manager, when my boss was trying to correct me on an issue. I would always respond, “I hear you.”  He would then ask me, “Yes, I know you hear me, but were you listening?”

That has always stuck with me, and I want to pass on a few lessons we can learn about listening.

The Vincent Van Gogh Effect

In 1888, a painter by the name of Vincent Van Gogh cut the bottom part of his ear off while under severe depression.  A world class painter painted a self portrait demonstrating his ordeal with his separated ear.

To be a true leader, one must master the art of listening. This can be applied to anyone in any position.

A listening master has a lot of similarities to great artist.

  • You must study:  Study to be quiet, but may I say to you, take it a step further and study to listen.
  • You must practice:  Be conscious in your next 10 conversations and practice listening.
  • Develop mastery:  When you study and practice, you begin to build an amazing art that most individuals will never have. You will stand out among your peers.

Do not cut your ears off. Rather listen with an artistic touch!

The Waitress Effect

“I said, I did not want any onions!” There are two types of waitresses – great ones and those that are terrible. I hate going to a restaurant, and I tell them, “No onions,” and the cook puts those big round onion slices on my burger. There are a few reasons for this that can teach us some valuable lessons on listening.

  1. Write down notes– When I say no onions, the waitress tries to commit it to memory because she’s a”professional.”  It is best to write down notes when your employees, or anyone for that matter, is talking to you.
  2. Listen with your face– I despise a waitress that is taking your order down, but she’s more interested in the large party down at the other table. Or, she is so consumed with her own issues that she is half listening.
  • Smile, be friendly.

  • Make eye contact 

  • Nod your head in agreement

  • Ask questions like, “What else happened?” Or “Tell me more.” 

  • Then listen with sincerity, and make it a point to to understand.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.                 -Stephen R. Covey

The Good Ol’ Boy Effect

Trying to “up” each other is the ultimate sin when it comes to listening.

The good ol’ boys stand around telling their fishing and hunting stories. One of them tells the other, “I caught a 5 lb bass the other day!” And as he proceeds to tell this amazing fishing story, the other person interrupts and begins to top that story.

Have you ever been around those that won’t let you get a word in?  With a lot of leaders, there’s no back and forth communication. They do not listen and try to understand you. Instead, they just run you over. Here’s a few tips:

  1. Do not interrupt. EVER!
  2. Listen with empathy all the way through, even if you disagree with their point of view.
  3. Do not be selfish. Let someone else talk once in a while. 

We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.

-Zeno of Citium

In closing, do not be that person that volleys back and forth with an onslaught of words to get your point forced into someone’s mind, but rather listen and seek to understand. Then you will find you can direct others and lead with confidence with the respect of others.

Watch Your Mouth!!!

“If you don’t watch your mouth, I’m going to wash it out with soap!!!”  How many of you heard that before?  How many of you actually had to stick a bar of soap in your mouth, or brush your teeth with soap because you slipped up and cursed in front of your parents or smart mouthed them in one way or another?

Words are a powerful tool!  The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” Proverbs 18:21.  All the ancients understood the magnitude of this part of the body.  The way a leader communicates is paramount in their success.  How you talk to your kids, how you speak to your spouse, your co-workers, your church members, or any team member, is the difference between success and sure failure.

Some “leaders” need to wash their mouths out with soap and clean up their conversation.  When was the last time you had a boss talk down to you?  Or when was the last time you heard a parent belittle their child?  Look at the reaction of the co-worker and the child and tell me how effective the “leader” was.  I want to give you a few ideas on how to use your words to get the most out of your relationships, and especially the ones you lead.

“STOP IN THE NAME OF LOVE!”

One of the most powerful phrases that I ever heard was, “Think before you speak.”  You love your team right?  Your children?  As a leader you should have a passion for your co-worker’s success, right?  If that’s the case we as leaders should stop before we speak, so we can examine our words before we catapult them out there.  Here are a few things to consider.

  • Learn restraint – Control your emotions and hold back your outburst.
  • Remember your teammates are humans and they aren’t perfect.  They aren’t underneath you, they should be beside you.
  • Consider the outcome of your words before you filet their emotions

Some “leaders” keep their teams scared and nervous because of their constant abuse with their tongues.  Yeah you may get them to do what you want and even achieve some sort of success, but the long term affect on your people will be crippling.

The most powerful tool you can use to motivate your team is not money, gifts, and trips, but words of encouragement and inspiration.

“You can say whatever you want, as long as you say it in love!” -unknown

Choose Your Words Wisely

Your ability to manage your words can increase your effectiveness greatly.  There’s many great books out there that teach us the power of our words.  A book I have that I love to read is, How to Say It to Sell It, by Sue Hershkowitz-Coore. This book teaches you phrases that increase your odds of making the sales.

You may not be in sales, but as a leader learning how to effectively communicate with others is the difference between “leaders” and leaders!  Here are some examples of communication, and take notes.

  • Verbal Communication
  1. Be clear and concise in what you say.
  2. Mirror the other person’s speed and talk.  But nothing silly, just connecting with the other person.
  3. Use clean language. Never vulgar.
  4. Project your voice. No mumbling.
  5. CHECK YOUR BREATH
  • Non-verbal Communication
  1. Make eye contact. But don’t be weird.
  2. Stand up straight.
  3. Stay out of the other person’s comfort zone.
  4. Smile and stay positive.

There are many other cues to consider but we are just hitting the highlights in this article.

 “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” –Jim Rohn

“Running Your Mouth”

“Running your mouth” is like running a business, it takes a lot of  work and lots of management.  If you want to become a master of communication, you must be willing to change.

  • It takes training.
  • It takes growing.
  • It takes maturing.

“Run your mouth” like a professional manager runs a top notch business. Be willing to educate yourself, read books, articles, take courses, and PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and PRACTICE some more.
My sister was called “Mouth of the South” for many good reasons. LOL.  She actually ran her mouth non stop, mainly because I aggravated the death out of her.  I was a little angel!

Most managers, parents, “leaders” are very juvenile in their communication.  Most feel like no one listens and frustrated because they can’t motivate others.

The art of communication is the language of leadership.  -James Humes

So watch your mouth as a leader. You can be a very effective communicator. Turn yourself into a communicating ninja!

-Dustin L. Carr

http://www.thesuccessfulleader.wordpress.com