Winning The Leadership Game With These 3 Attitudes

Are you winning the leadership game? Do you have the attitude to be a successful leader?

What is leadership to you?  How do you define it?  What does it look like?  Can you describe it?

Leaders come in various forms.  We read profiles of different leaders from biographies and articles.  There are thousands of books, even from those whom we have admired, that teach us the qualities that drove them to excel and standout among the average individual.

One characteristic of those great people that we admire and emulate, is the attitude that they projected.  Attitude is a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.  Many “leader’s” behavior betrays them, shouting to the world there true attitude towards their position and those they “lead.”

If you are a leader that wants to win and succeed, you will need to develop attitudes that will cause you to change your behavior, and behaviors that will change your world view and actions.  Here are three attitudes that you will need in order to win the leading game.

1.) A Humble Attitude

The average person does not associate humility with leadership.  May I say that most great leaders were lowly in mind and spirit.  That does not mean that they coward down and did not project confidence.  On the contrary, humility will allow a person to project confidence and boldness without the pride and cockiness.

How can I be humble?

  • Always be a student– Being a lifetime learner should be one of the foundational stones to your leadership style.  This will leave you feeling that you have not arrived or that you are not a “know it all.”  It will also keep you growing as a person and a leader.
  • Always put others first– Putting others first will help us maintain a humble attitude.  Seeking others first is an unnatural affection.  That’s what makes it so powerful and rewarding.  You are doing something that most people don’t do and for that you bring a fulfillment to your life.  That’s leadership!

“You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

-The great Zig Ziglar

  • Seek “teamwork”, not “me-work”- A true leader seeks the success of their team.  They use words like “we”, “us”, “together.”  Leaders have a passion for those around them, to help bring others to another level.  Forget the pedestals and thrones, and humble yourself for the benefit of others.

Humility is not the first attitude most people would think of when thinking of powerful leadership, but may I say, that’s what makes great leaders great, because no one thinks to be humble.  They do successfully what others have a hard time doing!

2.) Have a Winning Attitude

I know that sounds so cliche, but it is still a cardinal truth.  People have no business being leaders if they don’t seek to excel.  Have you ever wanted to follow someone that wanted to lose?

Losing is easy, you just have to do NOTHING!

 – I actually said this

-Winning requires strength- You have to be strong to carry the weight of the world! Strength to face adversity! Strength to make tough decisions!  Strength to face failure!

-Winning requires strategy- Teams do not win by accident.  It takes a series of intentional acts to make a winning team.  A leader knows every department of the team.  Where to place the important players.  Their strength and weaknesses.  How to inspire and turn passion into a plan to win!

-Winning requires strain- Winning isn’t easy.  Getting to the top isn’t easy.  You have to let those around you see that sacrifice, sweat,  and blood is worth it.  Winning doesn’t come easy.  It will test you at every corner.  When they are tired, limping, wounded, leaders will push their teams to rally in the 4th quarter to give it everything they have to win.

Vince Lombardi said: “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is”

Our team at work hasn’t hit every goal we set.  But we have strove to win every goal that we set.  We may have lost some, but we aren’t going down without a fight.  But if you are constantly losing you need to re-evaluate how you are leading.

Lead your team to victory.  Find what inspires them.  Put together a winning plan.  Fight with everything within you to win and get them to the top!

3.) Seeks to Make Other Leaders

This type of attitude seeks to leave a legacy.  The greatest testimony any person can have, is not that they have a lot of followers, but that a lot of followers were inspired to become leaders through their influence.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. As a leader, do others desire to follow you?
  2. As a leader, do others desire to emulate you?
  3. Does your influence dare others to step out of their comfort zone and succeed?

What does the future hold?  If all we do is create more followers, who’s going to lead the next generation.  I believe that some leaders just care about keeping people under them.  They feel threatened, as if others are trying to move in on their territory.

A lot of modern leaders seek to lead others on a horizontal plain, versus a gradual vertical direction.  People should want to be better when they are around you.  Have you ever been around those that just make you want to succeed?  They inspire change in you.  They let you see the potential that you truly have.  They do not lead you down the path of least resistance, but cause you to go places you have never been.

True leaders have the attitude that one day they will be gone, but their influence will carry on.  Others are coming up underneath them, and they need guidance and growth.  They need success and fulfillment. 

Conclusion
Why is attitude so important?  What attitudes are you cultivating to maintain great leadership behaviors?  Answer this for yourself and comment on this blog on some attitudes you think is important to be a leader.
Dustin L. Carr

thesuccessfulleader.blog

 

 

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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 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!

 

 

“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!