3 Signs Your Team is Malfunctioning

You have to identify the malfunction. Determine what it costs to fix it? And do everything you can in your power to get your team into top notch performance again.

The check engine light pops on in your automobile and you look in your handbook to find out you need to take your car to the dealership to have a million dollars worth of work done to it.  Your vehicle has many different components that have different functions but all work simultaneously to allow for a smooth ride and safe travels.  When one of those components malfunction, it sets off the check engine light indicating that something is wrong with the car.

This is exactly how teams work.  Everyone has different functions, but every member works together to create a high functioning unit.  When one of the members gets out of wack, we have a malfunction within the group, and the team suffers for it.  Not only the team, but every individual or company that the team directly affects.

I want to give you 3 signs that your team is malfunctioning.

1.) Leadership is Dysfunctional  

Have you ever known a team whose weakest link was the leader?  The team is determined, they have skills, they have passion, but they have no direction and instruction.

There have been ball players that were amazing at playing the game, but when they retired and tried their hand at coaching, their teams suffered and never succeeded.  Why?  Because they were good ball players and captains, but they lacked leadership skills and the ability to facilitate their players to the playoffs or championships.

We hear about people that have the money to purchase a business, hire employees, and even do some type of marketing.  But the business goes under or suffers for years. Why?  Because the leadership is toxic and lacks the leadership skills to meet the needs of their people or customers.

It’s not difficult to find signs of leadership dysfunction in most organizations – all you have to do is open your eyes.

-Mike Myatt

Here are four signs of a dysfunctional leader:

  • They seek ultimate control vs. liberating their employees
  • They are always negative vs. being inspiring
  • Always threatening vs. being instructing
  • They take up petty issues vs. being constructive

To build dynamic teams and keep them running smoothly and efficiently, quality leadership is a must.  It’s imperative that we leaders reclaim the spirit of true leadership and seek to guide and coach our teams to be well running machines.  If the leadership malfunctions, the rest of the vehicle doesn’t run right.

2.)  The Atmosphere is Toxic

Once again the leadership is a catalyst for setting the right atmosphere.  If the atmosphere is toxic your team will suffer.  How many of you have been apart of a team that suffocated from an environment that choked the life out of your group?

Automobiles can create an atmosphere full of smog and pollution.  That is why they have components on the car that recycle exhaust, and maintenance that cleans out the carbon build up.  When the proper maintenance is done to a vehicle the Malfunction Indicator Lamp illuminates indicating an issue with various parts.

To have the right atmosphere we must have constant maintenance and the right components in place to absorb the bad pollution.  For example:

  • Encourage unity instead of gossip and bad attitudes
  • Reward for good behavior and meeting goals instead of nit picking every little mistake
  • MICROMANAGING pollutes the atmosphere
  • Shut down clicks and always work on team building
  • Developing clear cut boundaries and rules instead of setting unrealistic and unclear expectations 

I am sure their are many more thoughts and maybe you can comment on some ideas that you have.  But I know this for sure, there are things we can do to clear up the atmosphere that allows our teams to perform at the maximum level.

“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

-Ken Blanchard

“As long as I have this one person, my business, my team will be A-OK!”  Only problem with this attitude is when you take out that one person your team suffers.  But a good environment that fosters teamwork will bring everyone to the same level of efficiency and the team will succeed no matter what’s thrown at them.

3.  Leaders Fail to Produce Leaders

Notice a common thread here?  Leaders fail!  Leaders, please take responsibility for your team, no matter if it’s at work, at home, on the field, or at church.

We as leaders face a daunting task, and that is to create leaders around us.  Your organization will only rise as your team rises.  If you do not want your team to be dysfunctional, then the best way to remedy this is to create a ladder for everyone to get on so they can go up.

Creating a tight group of people and fostering growth will develop a foundation for future leaders.

Training, training, training is everything.  Knowledge is power.  Giving them the information that they need to succeed will determine the type of leader they will be.  Technical skills, people skills, and personal development training would be a great start to growing leaders.

Goal setting and projecting.  Maintaining a strict goal program.  Cast the vision and maintain steps to meeting these goals.  People get bored and anxious when they just have a job to do.  They want purpose and they want to make a difference.

Give individual team members responsibilities.  Allow them to make decisions and coach them along the way.  Allow for failure and mistakes.  Remember, THEY ARE NOT PERFECT!

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”

― William Arthur Ward

Determining to take your team to the next level demonstrates the type of leader you are.  Making a difference in their lives, and helping them grow the leader within them should be your ultimate goal.  By doing this you reduce stress, create great customer interactions, the loyalty and morality will rise.  They will care about the business not just a paycheck.  They will care about the team and the family versus their own good.  It has always and will always be about others.

Conclusion:

Is your check engine light on in your team?  Is there a malfunction and dysfunction somewhere?

You have to identify the malfunction.  Determine what it costs to fix it?  And do everything you can in your power to get your team into top notch performance again.  Do not let your team become dysfunctional, and if you inherited that kind of team, take the challenge and grow with them!

Dustin L. Carr

thesuccessfulleader.blog

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Leading Through Hell and Back

Leading through hell and back is a blog about guiding others and yourself through the most difficult circumstances.

While leading people, you lead them through the sunshine and rain, the good times and the bad, and sometimes it’s heaven and sometimes it feels like hell.  Now I am not speaking entirely in the business world, but rather leaders in a general sense.

Many different individuals, some famous and some are not, that in the course of their life have trudged through the hardest of times, in the most difficult of circumstances.  Allow me to give you a few examples.

Mahatma Gandhi- This man is a famed figure for his non-violent civil disobedience, leading India to its independence.  This man was assassinated in 1948 with three bullets to the chest.  Gandhi truly was a leader, but it ultimately cost him his life.

Martin Luther King Jr.- MLK was an amazing figure in America’s history.  He was immortalized for his stand against racism and segregation.  This Baptist minister charged the gates of Hell with his passionate messages of equality and ultimately gave his life in the month of April 1968.

Susan B. Anthony- The face of the dollar coin, this pioneer of women’s rights forged a path that few would dare to walk.  She paved the way for women voting, even being arrested and accused of destroying the sanctity of marriage.  Her impact is still being felt today.  But the road was long and hard for this leader.

Many of the liberties that we enjoy today are the product of leaders storming through the violent fires of resistance and persecution.  I want to provide you with a few ideas to help you lead in the toughest of times and encourage you to lead when you feel the heat beating upon your life.

1. Identify Your Calling

What is it that stirs a passion in your heart?  Keeps you awake at night, with your mind racing a hundred miles per hour.  It calls out to you and drives you to near insanity because you cannot seem to wrap your arms around such a mammoth task.

People are called to many different causes.  Some are called to find a cure for various diseases.  We find people in the states that take up social causes, as well as in foreign countries where clean water is scarce, governments are corrupt, and views on women are low.  You can go to our military in the past and present and find men and women that lead a group of soldiers into the jaws of hell, with some giving their very lives to protect those of us here at home.

Teachers, business people, industry leaders, politicians, clergy, parents, coaches, mentors, police, firefighters, military personnel, and many other leaders that find themselves up against the odds and having to lead through difficult circumstances.  Here are three things that having a calling will do for you:

  • Gives you stick-ability:  A calling will plant your feet in concrete and allow you to stand and lead though everything is against you.
  • Gives you encouragement:  When it seems like you are up against it all, you can always go back to your calling and remember why you began this path in the first place.
  • Keeps you zoned in:  When you have a calling you seek to master that one thing.  You won’t let the winds scatter you all over the place, but rather you are the thin arrow flying down a very narrow path hitting the bulls eye.

“If you find what you do each day seems to have no link to any higher purpose, you probably want to rethink what you’re doing.”
― Ronald A. Heifetz

Do you have a calling?  If the path you are on leads you into the presence of strong difficulty, you better have a calling if you want to remain faithful to your cause.  Find your calling today, or better yet, answer the call that’s been nagging you for years.

2.  Develop Fortitude

The definition of fortitude is, courage in the midst of pain and adversity.  Listen, leadership is going to require a great deal out of you.  You may find yourself in a great deal of trouble and fearful situations and you will need courage to face them head on.

Most people have never heard of Desmond Doss, until recently a movie titled “Hacksaw Ridge” directed by Mel Gibson, was showing in theaters.  Desmond was a Seventh Day Adventist that did not believe in carrying a gun.  Oddly enough, he enlisted in the military to serve the US Army as a medic.  Doss found himself in WWII at the battle of Okinawa, with many calling him a coward and questioning his beliefs as a conscientious objector.

During a major counter-attack the Japanese wreaked havoc on top of “Hacksaw Ridge.”  While most of his comrades took cover Desmond Doss, through much fortitude, rescued the lives of 75 infantry men atop of that blood soaked hill while sustaining four major injuries himself.

It’s men and women like this that can lead people through hell and back.  Leaders with fortitude and a back bone to face the most incredible challenges and endure such amazing conflicts.

I know of no higher fortitude than stubbornness in the face of overwhelming odds.

-Louis Nizer

May we have leaders with the utmost courage and strength.  No matter the circumstance or battle you may face, the deep calling, and a healthy dose of courage will help you when it seems all hell has broke loose.

3.  Remember Those Behind You

Never forget, as a leader, when you are going through the fire, there are those going with you through the same fire.

For various reasons you are the leader.  You have proven yourself and have gained the position of leadership.  Therefore, there is a great responsibility given to you for those you lead.  Everyone is looking to you for guidance, instruction, and yes, inspiration.

There are a few things you can do to maintain your focus on those around you when you are going through difficult times:

  • Give them a job to do– I remember as a boy when our power went out for several days because of an ice storm and as a kid I was pretty scared.  But dad instructed me to go out back and carry wood in, and let me know I was an important part to this family during this difficult time.
  • Show them you trust them– Similar to giving them a job to do, but taking it a step further, you are transferring to them that you have confidence in there ability to handle complex problems in the midst of turmoil.
  • Lock arm in arm– I tell my guys all the time, we win as a team and we fail as a team.  Leaders shouldn’t shirk their responsibilities when all hell pours out, but instead get in the furnace with them, leading and comforting them along the way.

There was a sign I read the other day that said, “The comfort zone can be a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.”

 -Someone a lot cooler than me said that!

It’s during these hellish battles that we grow together, the team matures, and your leadership abilities develop even greater.  There are some things that you just can’t learn outside of the hard times.

Conclusion

So the next time you have to lead a group of individuals through the fires of Hell, never forget that these trials are for your benefit, and even though you want to focus on the hear and now, let us cast our eyes on the horizon to view the lesson and benefits that we shall receive through much patience, fortitude, and strength.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” -Winston Churchill 

 

 

3 Ways to Deal With a Pessimist

Do have that one person in your life that is a pessimist? Here’s a few examples on how to deal with them.

Let us take a line from one of our favorite pessimist, He turned around angrily on the others and said “Everybody crowds round so in this Forest. There’s no space. I never saw a more spreading lot of animals in my life, and in all the wrong places.”  That was Eeyore, our depressed little donkey from Winnie the Pooh.

Thousands of people have the same mentality as Eeyore, they are gloomy, negative, downbeat, defeatist, and feel as if the world is going to end.  Another term I always use is melancholy.  This is a person or personality that is always sad, sorrowful, faces depression and unhappiness.  The cloud is always following this person.

Now we all get pessimistic and melancholy from time to time.  Even as leaders we get gloomy and depressed, seeing the glass of water as half empty sometimes.  But it shouldn’t define who we are and our personalities as leaders.

Let me give you 3 ways on how to deal with a pessimist:

1. Understand Yourself First

That may sound strange when dealing with someone else, but it was a very valuable lesson passed down from one of my life long mentors.  Before I can deal with someone else’s attitude and seek to change the atmosphere, I must first understand myself and deal with my own attitude.

When you lead your team, your family, or congregation, ensure that your attitude is top priority, that you have completed maintenance on yourself so that when you go to lead you can lead with the utmost confidence.

“Promise Yourself

To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”
― Christian D. Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them

It is not that we should have the “me first” mentality but rather the “if I am not right as the leader, nothing around me will be right” mentality.

Tell yourself this over and over.  “I must start with me.  I must look in the mirror.  I must evaluate myself.  I must change myself.  I must change my thinking, my attitude, and my outlook.  If I worried more about myself as I did others, I would be a better person.  If I changed myself more than I tried to change others I would be a better leader.”

Now that we have laid a foundation, let us look at the second thing we should do.

2.  Have The Pessimist’ Best Interest In Mind

When you get depression negativity, sadness, and attitude together, you have have a concoction straight from the pits of Hell itself.  It is a brew that boils and steams, then poisons every individual that dare partakes of that devilish drink.

As a leader we surround ourselves with individuals of different personalities and walks of life.  Different races, backgrounds, and religions form our teams and those we come in contact with.  Unfortunately, we must understand that we do not have the luxury of choosing the cream of the crop top notch attitudes in every situation.  And many times we simply have to work with what we’ve got.

So how do I work with a pessimist?  Well one thing you can do is make sure your attitude is one that has this person’s best interest in mind.  What is your ultimate goal with this individual?  Do you really care for them?

You don’t want to manipulate and hijack their personalities, although that’s a thought! LOL!  Here are a few ways you can have their best interest in mind.

  • Show them you care
  • Congratulate and reward the desired behavior
  • By all means work on their weaknesses, but magnify their strengths
  • Lead by example.  “A positive attitude is better caught than taught!”

Show this person that you value their input and they have a very valuable place on your team.  People tend to want to be involved and make things work when they feel they aren’t alienated and sense that they are an integral part of the family, team, or congregation.

3.  Communication Is Key

According to HBR.com there are three ways to deal with a pessimist:

  • Create Awareness
  • Reposition Negative Statements
  • Involve the Whole Team

Unraveling these three actions would take a lot longer than one blog, but the thread that binds them together, is great communication.

Most leaders get and remain frustrated at these individuals and cannot properly lead them.  This is mainly a cause of not having the proper communication skills necessary to facilitate individuals of with different personalities.

Here are the 4 “Be’s” we can do to improve our communication with pessimistic people.

  1. Be honest-Do not let this attitude slip by.  It can disease the whole team and undermine your ultimate goals.
  2. Be patient-Building effective teams does not happen over night.  Helping a person maintain a positive attitude day in and day out will ultimately create the desired outlook in their lives.
  3. Be proactive-Always work on it.  Spend time encouraging, instructing, and guiding.  Teach!  Teach!  Teach!
  4. Be firm-If this person is absolutely not willing to change, fire them!  Fire them from the team, from being your friend, or remove them from your organization.  Cancer spreads and so do pessimistic people.  Some people will never come to grips how their attitude affects everything and everybody.

As leaders we should master our verbal and non verbal cues to dealing with different personalities.  You should position yourself in such way that you can help lead these types of personalities to being productive teams members.

In conclusion,

The leader is a person with a vision, that understands their team, and the different personalities that the individual represents.  They can take these personalities and maximize their strengths so that the entire team compliments one another and in turn deliver the ultimate demonstration of teamwork.

This means at times we have to work with less desirable personalities.  But it also means it gives us an opportunity to be true leaders.   Are you up for the challenge?  Do you see what you need to do?  Think of your own ideas, I would love to hear from you on your thoughts.  Keep on leading and one day you will be the successful leader that you have always dreamed about.

 

Dustin L. Carr

thesuccessfulleader.wordpress.com

 

3 Signs You Are Not a True Leader

Are you a leader? Here are 3 signs that you are not one

I have said this a million times, “Just because you have the money to buy a business, does not make you a good boss, just because you can make kids does not make you a good parent, just because you can stir a crowd’s emotions does not make you a good pastor, and just because you have a leadership position does not make you a good leader.”

Have you ever been around those that just downright inspire you?  These pioneers are forging ahead into uncharted territory, and for some reason you are wanting to follow them.  Many times we want to talk about what a leader truly is, but I want to give you three signs you are not a true leader.

1. You Lack People Skills 

Or at least you lack a willingness to learn.  I am amazed at those in a leadership position, how they lack some of the most basic people skills.  Grumpy, grouchy, whiny, fussy, argumentative, and mean are just a few of the attributes of a horrible leader.

It takes true skill to work with others and lead them along the way.  Studying and learning people should be a lifetime work of yours as a leader.  Our interactions should be skillful and on purpose to create a desired effect on others.  Here are a few people skills that those in leadership positions need:

  • Positive Attitude– A smile and a positive attitude is contagious. But so is a frown and bad attitude.
  • Patience– When you deal with people you are not dealing with angelic beings.  People are flawed and imperfect and need time to blossom and grow.
  • Coaching– Growing people and helping them reach their potential is a true skill.
  • Empathy– Feeling someone else’s pain.  The ability to understand and share the feelings of other.
  • Emotional intelligence– Being able to read other people and their emotions.

These are just a few skills we need to learn and without them it is impossible to be a true leader.  You are not a leader because you try to get everyone to fit into your mold.  You belittle them instead of inspire.  You micro-manage instead of coach.  You simply do not understand human emotion and the ability to tap into a person mind and help them unleash the potential that lies dormant in their life.

Most teams and even our children and spouses feel defeated, let down, crushed, depressed, because those in leadership fail to connect with them and motivate them.  I encourage you leaders to take time to learn others.  Pick up a book, look up information on a web page, or interview a successful people person and develop the skills required to be a leader.

2.  You Lack Self-Confidence

According to Dictionary.com, self-confidence is the belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.  I am not speaking of cockiness and arrogance, but of a calm assurance on the inside that you are the person that can lead these group of people to the desired goal.  

Many people view a boisterous and jovial personality as someone that is self-confident, when in reality it can be the very opposite.  Others view rich people as people with self-confidence, when the truth is a lot of rich people are insecure because of their riches. It amazes me how self-confidence can ultimately build confidence.  How do you build your self-confidence?

  • Have a thorough knowledge of your industry-  Experts can be dogmatic in what they say and believe, because they know what they are talking about.  Be the person everyone wants to come to in your industry because you have a knowledge that others have not taken the time to acquire.
  • Read positive material-  How to communicate with people, how to be a leader, devotionals, sales books, self-help books, team-work books, any thing and everything that you can get your hands on.  The reason is there will be so many people that will throw negative arrows towards you that you will need an arsenal of positive thoughts to deflect their poison.  Plus you will just need encouragement along the way to help you when you are down.
  • Make sure your self-talk is good-  Kind of the same lines as read positive material.   But the truth remains what you say to yourself really does matter.  Make sure your speech absolutely is consumed with positive words.  I am not saying do not be realistic, but I am saying there is enough negativity in this world, we need to speak positive words to ourselves and maintain a positive lifestyle.

When we build our self-confidence we in turn build our confidence.  Have faith in yourself and your abilities.  MOST PEOPLE NEVER RISE TO BEING GREAT LEADERS BECAUSE THEY FALL INTO THE TRAP OF SELF-DEPRECIATION AND THEY LISTEN TO THE NAYSAYERS INSTEAD OF CHASING THEIR DREAMS.

3. You Have No Drive to Be a Leader

I work with people that simply want to stay on the base level, never realizing their potential, never motivated to learn, never excited about the numbers, always a bad attitude towards the customers, never willing to sacrifice.  They tell me they use to be managers and assistant managers, and I say I do not buy one minute of that.

One sign that you are not a leader is simply you do not have the drive to be one.  Being a leader is more than just a position for the successful leader. It is a chase and a challenge for true leaders.  It is a passion of theirs that drives them to the top.

I get my stomach full of going to places and watching management that are so lackadaisical, so uninterested, so complacent, and could care less.  It is going to take drive and passion to get your team moving and at the top of your industry.  We need motivated leaders to step up and show their families, their teams, their churches, and any other organization that they mean business and want to go to the pinnacle and take their team with them.

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. 

-Colin Powell

Conclusion

There are way more than three signs that you are not a leader, but take these three and chew on them this week.  Make it a point to change one thing in your life to make you a better leader.  I promise that when you do that you will become the successful leader that you always wanted to be.

Dustin Carr

thesuccessfulleader.wordpress.com

The Leader and Their Stinky Feet

Do you have stinky feet as a leader? Your morals say volumes about you!

Do you ever notice not all feet are created equal?  Some people have nice feet and some have ugly feet.  For instance, my toes are crooked with a patch of ugly hair on my big toe.  I shudder at the thought!  But then there are those blessed people who aren’t afraid to where sandals or these women that wear toe rings.  Now that’s confidence!

Feet come in all shapes and sizes; fat feet, flat feet, long feet, and small feet!  Sounds like a Dr. Seuss story!  But for me the worse kind of feet are stinky feet.  I do not rub feet, massage feet, or even touch feet!  I know some people, when they peel their socks off will make you turn puke green.

Feet are what we stand on.  They keep us balanced.  Before one can become a great leader, that person needs to be standing on a solid foundation.  You cannot discuss leadership without discussing morality.  We have people in leadership positions that are, rich, smart, and attractive.  But there is a sharp decline in leaders that are moral.  These “leaders” truly have stinky feet.

Everyone is apart of an ethical system, whether it is social, company, professional, or family ethics.  Ethics can change based on whether you’re apart of a jury or at work, in the U.S. or China, but what usually never changes is a person’s morals.

Morals define your character and only God knows we need men and women with a strong moral resolve.  Let’s get something straight, everyone has different morals, and the purpose of this article is not to push my morals on you but rather to shed light on some universal morals that leaders can acquire to build their strength as a respected leader.  Let’s look at a few things to help you not have “stinky feet” as a leader and give you a foundation that you can stand firmly upon.

Get In Line!

Profootcenter.com says, “The 52 bones in your feet make up one quarter of all the bones in your body. When they are out of alignment, so is the rest of your body.” (1)

We can draw a comparison to our morality, in the fact that when our morals are out of line so is everything else you do as a leader.  When their is cracks in your foundation, the building faces a chance of complete disaster!

“All are agreed, that the increase of learning and good morals are great blessings to society.”

-Joseph Lancaster

A person in leadership without morals is an abominable monster.  Look at men like Hitler and Stalin, they had a great following and influenced people in almost a magical way, but yet led there followers into great genocidal warfare and sought to destroy millions of people.

Let us not look at the extreme but rather a boss or a pastor without a moral compass.  A leader without their moral compass is like a ship at sea with their people, dashed about by the waves, wondering aimlessly without any real direction.  Get in line, because when your feet bones aren’t in the right place, your whole body suffers as a result.

Standing on Landmines

I had a boss once that told me business is like walking through a field of landmines.  And you know it makes a lot of sense to me as I have been managing for several years now.  We may not be able to dodge every explosive but we can do some things to help us avoid them to the best of our abilities.  Allow me to give you some morals that string through all cultures and countries that will help you build this solid foundation.

  • Honesty-  Honesty is not the “best” policy, it is the “only” policy.
  • Integrity-  Integrity towards women and men.  No sexual advances. No rewards for promiscuous behavior.  Stay professional with no locker room talk and uncouth words.  
  • Keep your hands out of the money-  No money laundering or stealing.
  • Create a competitive atmosphere but a safe atmosphere.

Bank intern who died, after ‘working for 72 hours’ felt pressure to excel.”   This is the article from The Telegraph.  (2) “citing a reference not my personal opinion.”

A title from investopedia.com, “Enron Scandal: The Fall of a Wall Street Darling” (3)

A Fox News article title runs chills down my spine, “Police: A Florida pastor caught with man’s wife flees naked” (4)

These are all people and board members in leadership position that broke universal rules of moral engagement and society has paid a dear price.  Leaders today are not “stepping” on landmines, they are straight up “standing” on them.

We read and hear stories everyday of “leaders” falling into some sort of immorality.  They have stinking feet!  The foundation they are standing on is corrupted and there for they cannot effectively lead in any aspect.

Walk A Mile In There Shoes

We have all heard the old adage, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”  As a leader this should be your motto.  Your morals may be different then mine in some aspects, but a universal truth that has rang down through the ages is to treat people with respect and dignity.

“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

 -Some really cool person

Leaders have a moral responsibility to their people, their congregation, their spouses and children, their co-workers, and yes, those pesky neighbors of yours.  News Flash:  You wouldn’t be in a leadership position, without others following your footsteps.

Leaders lose touch with their people on a daily basis.  Walking in other’s shoes can bring them back to reality of the struggle and battle that they are going through.  Here are a few actions you can take to be a moral leader with your people:

  1. Be honest with them.  Pay them an honest wage and also be honest with your communication.  Do not do them wrong.  Do not cheat them.
  2. Never talk down to them.
  3. Do not physically or mentally abuse them.
  4. Despite their personal beliefs, lifestyles, or race, show them dignity.
  5. Show empathy and get to know them.
  6. Follow through on your promises.

There are many more things you can say there and feel free to comment on what you believe to be important.  Walk a mile in their shoes and remember what it’s like to be responsible for a group of people, the standing you have with them, and their view of you.

Do not develop stinking feet.  Hold to the universal morals that can raise your head and shoulders above your peers.  Let us restore the confidence people once had in leadership in days gone by.  Clean your feet up and wash them real good, so you can be the successful leader.

 

Dustin Carr

http://www.thesuccessfulleader.wordpress.com

(1) http://www.profootcenter.com/25-fun-foot-facts

(2) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/10255199/Bank-intern-who-died-after-working-for-72-hours-felt-pressure-to-excel.html

(3) http://www.investopedia.com/updates/enron-scandal-summary/

(4) http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/01/31/police-florida-pastor-caught-with-man-wife-flees-naked.html

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

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

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