Leadership Minute: Make Peace With Your Past

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Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or…learn from it. – Rafiki, Lion King

One of the greatest hindrances to your leadership today and that of your future can be things from your past. While you can’t go back change it you can adapt new ways of dealing with it. Perhaps you did some things that you are not proud of or someone hurt you and you are holding on to resentments. It could be a failed relationship or business that has turned your attitude the wrong way and it is affecting your leadership today. While you can’t go back and have a do-over, you can embrace new behaviors and attitudes today that can help you. The past is the past. You can learn from it but it is a choice you have to make. When you let go of the past; forgive, forget, and move on- you can experience the freedom that comes from a fresh new outlook on life. Make peace with your past.

Leadership Minute: Venture Out

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Venture outside your comfort zone. The rewards are worth it. – Rapunzel, Tangled

Living your leadership to the fullest begins when you step outside your comfort zone. It can be quite tempting to stay in your comfortable place where things are predictable and safe. But your growth comes when you dare to shed the comfortable surroundings and venture out. You can do this by setting new and more demanding goals, making new friends, or by reading new books that stretch your beliefs. When you venture out you will meet new and exciting people who are exploring just like you. You will soon discover that the reasons you were afraid to venture out were not as bad as you thought they were. In fact you will wish you had done it sooner. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead; venture out, get uncomfortable with being comfortable and grow a little. The rewards of new growth will do you good.

Leadership Toolkit: When the Visionary Leader Meets the Strategic Leader

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Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. – Warren Bennis

About 350 years ago, as the story is told, a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness.

In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build the road westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway?

Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and overcome hardships to get there. But in a few short years were not able to see five miles out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision.

Visionary leaders (those who see the big picture) and strategic leaders (those who create the plan) are essential for the future growth and development of any organization. But can the two co-exist? It can be a challenging relationship but not an impossible one if you follow these basic rules of engagement.

Embrace your differences

Visionary leaders tend to be your charismatic type leaders who can cast the vision with great enthusiasm and confidence. They have a clear picture in their heart and mind of where they are going and why you should too.

But visionary leaders can at times be hard to work with. In his book, Rules of Thumb, Alan M. Webber writes, “Great idea people are rare- and also frequently hard to live with. They see things the rest of us can’t see, which is their gift. They can’t see what you and I see easily, which is their burden. Still, you need them and they need a home where they can contribute.”

Strategic leaders can be a great asset to the visionary leader by breaking down the vision into doable and measurable action steps which creates the vision. The strategic leader is the one who puts the puzzle together.

Leadership key: Your differences are your strengths. Embrace them and work together. You need each other.

Build a bridge

What strategic leaders and visionary leaders need is a way to connect. The divide between ideas and implementation must be joined. There has to be a way as Webber says to “build a bridge the great ideas can walk across from those who have to those who can make them real.”   For the vision to materialize this is a necessity. So what is a leader to do?

The vision needs a strategic plan. It has to be clearly communicated and thoroughly understood before the pieces of the puzzle can be created. From there roles can be assigned and teams put into place, and the execution can begin. The hard part will come later.

Leadership key: Before you build your vision build your relationships. The vision rises and falls on the strength of your communication and relationships.

Give each other space

The role of the visionary leader is not the same as the strategic leader, and vice versa. The relationship is one of isolation and interdependency. Boundaries must be set, observed, and protected while at the same time staying bridged with a unified goal and vision. It’s tricky.

The temptation of the visionary leader is to tinker, mettle, and tweak. Their greatest asset can now become their greatest liability. While they are excellent at creating the vision they can be terrible at designing the plan. As long as they keep interjecting themselves into the details of execution they will stifle the execution.

Strategic leaders thrive on creating the plan and seeing it come into existence. The visionary leader has to learn to give this person the space they need to work. It is a relationship of necessity, one of complexity, but most of all trust. The partnership will only survive if it’s built on mutual trust. The respective leaders have to know how to embrace a shared vision but then give each other the space needed to bring it to pass. When they do it can lead to overwhelming success.

Leadership key: Out of respect give each other space. Out of trust let each other work.

What do you say?

 

© 2014 Doug Dickerson

Leadership Minute: Opportunity Awaits

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At times leadership boils down to this simple challenge: Will we rise to the opportunity placed before us? – Hans Finzel

Leadership is about seeing and seizing opportunities. The catch is being able to recognize it when you see it. Your opportunities won’t always look like what you might expect. It could come disguised to as opportunities to serve. It could look a lot like more work; and usually will be. Your opportunity could be found in mentoring a young person or coaching Little League. Don’t make the mistake in believing that the opportunity that awaits you is about you. Seize opportunities to empower others, meet needs, and let the expressions of your leadership be those that will outlast you. There will never shortages of opportunities to make a difference with your leadership. When you take the focus off yourself and place it on others you will see more opportunities than you will know what to do with. Will you rise to your opportunity?

Leadership Minute: Learning Curves

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The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler

The impact and longevity of your leadership will in large part hinge on this principle. Leaders by nature are learners. But can you go the extra mile with your learning? Can you unlearn and relearn? As we grow and mature as leaders we accumulate a lot of information and knowledge by which our leadership style is shaped. It’s not so much your learning capacity that is at issue here as it is your relevance going forward. Being able to unlearn and relearn is smart leadership and demonstrates your capacity to grow and stay current. Never are we talking about compromising your values or principles that keep you connected and grounded. But as you strive to be the best leader possible you show that sometimes it’s not what you know that matters but what you can unlearn and relearn that makes the difference.

Leadership Minute: Defining What’s Possible

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The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination. – Tommy Lasorda

The secret formula for the success that one achieves over the impossible is found in determination. Great skills and talents are wonderful assets but are of little value to the person who has no motivation or determination. A keen mind combined with a unique business savvy is enough to make anyone envious but is of no value if you quit at the first sign of difficulty. Possessing a charismatic personality that people want to follow puts you at a considerable advantage but not if you don’t possess a long-term commitment to succeed. Determined leaders are a special breed of leaders who are not fazed by external circumstances but rather have their eyes on the goal and a steady hand at the wheel. These are the leaders who are used to hearing “impossible” but forge ahead anyway. The secret ingredient of this leader and their success is not really a mystery. It can be summed up in that one powerful word: determination.

 

Leadership Minute: Be Grateful

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Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining- it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems. – Zig Ziglar

What are you grateful for? It’s really all about your perspective. You can spend your time and energy finding things to complain about. You can be one of “those” people who aren’t happy unless you’re unhappy and in the process make everyone around you miserable. But life is too short for that. We all have our share of troubles, but more importantly we all have many things to be thankful for. The thoughts that dominate your mind tend to set the tone for your outlook and life and the happiness you experience. If you are living the life of a complainer then your focus is wrong. The expressions of a grateful heart are realized when you choose to see the good, find ways to serve others, and life your life with a greater purpose. You are blessed more than you realize. Be grateful.