Importance of Consistent Leadership

Consistency or Not

Whether it’s personally or professionally, most people are leaders in some capacity, yet few people see themselves as a leader.

Now, think for a moment that your leadership qualities and capabilities were on display for the world to see each and every day?

How consistent would you be as a leader?  How much more difficult to be a good leader then?

Portraits in Leadership

Leadership Scenario 1

In the first scenario, our leader exhibits great leadership, showing poise and confidence while taking risks that, if successful, will ultimately benefit his team.  Despite these high risks to his team, and the risk of his own career, this leader makes a choice without having 100% certainty of its success.  

He takes the information that his team has presented to him, realizes the great potential of the desired outcome, and moves forward despite the warnings and naysayers.  This leader recognizes the potential victory at hand, both strategically and for lifting the spirits of his team, and takes decisive action based on the information he has, and ultimately succeeds in this instance.

Leadership Scenario 2

In the second scenario, our leader is very timid, unsure of himself and his ability to achieve the stated goals for his team.

After an initial bump, he has been mired in a slump and has now begun to send out his subordinates to meetings in which he should be present.  When he makes statements to his team, he is unable to convince them of the significance of the situation and the sense of urgency that is at hand.

This leader fails to take responsibility for the situation, places blame on others, and ultimately fails in this scenario.

In your personal or professional world, which leader above would you want to follow?

Leadership Effectiveness

If you wanted to be successful, who would you follow? 

What if I told you these two leaders were the same person, with a focus on different events?

I present to you the President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama.

In the first scenario…

President Obama exhibited great leadership skills and decision-making when he put our SEALS and other military personnel in harm’s way to fly into Pakistan and take out Osama Bin Laden.  His awareness of the situation, his sense of urgency, and his decision to take action without knowing full certainty of the outcomes was one the gutsiest decisions I remember a President making in recent years.

President Obama truly showed leadership by risking everything – lives of his team, his Presidency, faith of the American people – for the good of the American people.  Whether you’re a fan of the President or not, his leadership in this situation was spectacular and was deserving of congratulations he received.

In the second scenario…

President Obama shows a complete lack of leadership relating to the discussions about the debt ceiling.  When the concern about a potential debt ceiling fight was raised in late 2010, President Obama didn’t seem to sense the urgency of the situation and the ideology of those elected in the 2010 mid-term election.

As we came closer to reaching the debt ceiling, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner spent more time discussing this issue than President Obama, issuing deadlines to the press and the American people that seemed worthless due to partisan attitudes.  When President Obama reached out to House Leader John Boehner, it was too little too late, as the agreement they struck behind closed doors was rejected by members of Boehner’s own party.

It became apparent at that time, President Obama had absconded his leadership, and any positive momentum he had garnered just weeks before was gone.

Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. – Dr. John C. Maxwell

Learning from a Leadership Expert

I will be the first to admit that President Obama doesn’t deserve credit alone for the success in scenario one, nor does he deserve complete blame for the outcome of scenario two; but his inconsistency in team leadership through both these scenarios brings focus to specific laws from Dr. John Maxwell’s ‘The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership’ and how they relate to each scenario.

Law of Timing:

  • In scenario #1, there was much research, discussion, and patience exhibited by President Obama.  When he sensed that the time to act was right, either to prevent Pakistan from learning of the plans or to lose the opportunity, action was taken to take out Osama bin Laden.
  • In scenario #2, there was no sense of urgency on behalf of President Obama, and despite being aware of the potential for trouble, there was no action when the Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, leading to the situation we eventually experienced.

Law of Buy-In:

  • In scenario #1, while not having 100% support for the plan, there was enough support from members of the cabinet and other military leaders for President Obama to make a decision to move forward.
  • In scenario #2, President wasn’t able to influence members of his own party to successfully reach a positive outcome for the American people.  When he and John Boehner came to an agreement, the President didn’t even have enough buy-in from Boehner himself for him to be able to go back to his party to win approval.

Law of Sacrifice:

  • In scenario # 1, President Obama was willing to sacrifice members of our military, and possibly his career had the raid failed, for the betterment of the American people as a whole.  He knew that the opportunity presented was not going to last, and he took action.
  • In scenario #2, partisan politics ruled the day, and President Obama was not willing to make tough choices and sacrifices until it was too late.  By then, the only option was to give John Boehner 98% of what he wanted, and the American people got screwed.

As both houses of government will soon return from their summer vacations, and as the United States continues to be mired in an ever changing and weak economy, the question must be asked for the remainder of 2011 and beyond:

“What leader is going to show up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue today?”

How have your leadership challenges shaped your life?  What attitude do you have towards leaders who are inconsistent? What would your followers say about your leadership abilities?  How are you continuing to grow in your leadership?  Who are you adding value to, helping to grow their leadership?

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——————-
Steve Goble is a certified Coach, Teacher, & Speaker with the John Maxwell Team
He serves clients & youth on leadership, development, & helping reach true potential
EmailLinkedInTwitter | Facebook | Website 

Image Sources: images.politico.com

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Getting Leadership Direction: 3 Reliable Sources

Leadership Direction

Directions?  I Don’t Need Directions!!

As you look back at the first few months of 2011, ask yourself these important questions:

  • What is the road that you and your business have been traveling down?
  • Are your profits up?
  • Have you made preparations for your vacation this year?
  • Can you afford to take one?
  • If you’re not on the road you want to be on, the road of success and profitability, what are you doing about it?
  • Have you pulled the proverbial car over to the side of the road to inspect it?
  • Did you leave the directions at home, or have you stopped to ask for them?

“If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up.  What he needs is an education to turn him around.”  ~ Jim Rohn

Getting Good Directions

3 Reliable Sources

Why is it that as guys, (forgive me for generalizing, but I am a guy) we find it so hard to ask for directions?  Maybe you haven’t thought about this before, but here are three sources within any industry that I’m sure will be willing to provide a little direction for you, if you only ask.

Your Vendors

Your vendors are the people that are selling you product, parts, equipment, software, or provide a service that help you run your business. If you go out of business, or decrease your level of business with them, it severely affects the road that they’re traveling on and where they’re trying to get.

They want to do whatever they can to help you grow your business, so don’t be afraid to ask for assistance with ideas, processes, or new products that will help you travel the road that you want to be on, the road to profitability and success.  However, don’t insult your vendors and think they should offer everything they do for free.

Think about whether you would provide your service or product for free just because customers asked, and more often than not, the answer is probably a big NO. They should recognize their relationship with you as a customer, add value to you and your business, and price their products/services accordingly.

Pick out three or four vendors who you would like to have a better relationship with, and give them a buzz.

If they’re smart, they’ll listen to your concerns and help take you down the right road towards more success and more profitability.

Trade Groups/Chamber of Commerce

One thing I know is that each and every industry has one or more trade groups that work to bring people of like-mindedness together in an interest to share ideas, improve their respective industry, and often times make things easier by doing them with group power.  Often, they offer great leadership  from those who have grown and been successful in that respective industry.

Locally, your Chamber of Commerce is a great place to look for support or knowledge of people directly in your locale. Other trade groups or organizations may be at the State or National levels that tend to look at the bigger picture overall, but can nonetheless be very helpful for you to reach your goals.  When you’re looking to get more involved, I recommend that you go into a trade group or your Chamber of Commerce with the goal of being a ‘Go-Giver’.

“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”  ~ Bob Burg

I encourage you to join (or recruit someone if you’re already a member) and share your ideas and experience with others in your industry…you’ll be surprised what you get out of it!

Trade Journals

If you’re reading an article from a trade journal or an online blog related to your industry, and you’re interested in learning more about what the article discussed, send an email or pick up the phone and call the owner/manager who is referenced in the article.

Most times, there will be contact information provided, and they would love to speak more about the article you just read and their business.  Who among us doesn’t like to talk about ourselves, even just a little sometimes?

God gave us two ears and one mouth, so listening to someone else talk about themselves should be no problem.

Not only will it open up so many opportunities and ideas that we may have missed before, you might develop a positive relationship with the person you listen to.

I encourage you to look at your business, evaluate where it is at, decide where you want it to go, and then get directions from those who can help you get it there.  May I recommend sharing the Linked2Leadership blog with others?

Why are you afraid to ask for help? Is your business on the right road for the rest of 2011?  What challenges are you not dealing with because you’re afraid you don’t know how?  Who can we trust to ask questions, without feeling inadequate about ourselves?

——————–
Steve Goble is currently building a new venture
He works with small businesses and youth on leadership and team development

EmailLinkedInTwitter | Facebook

Image Sources: dotcominfoway.com

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Do You Recruit Into Hell?

boss From Hell

As a new assistant lacrosse coach this year for our local high school team, I was eager to bring my experience and expertise in lacrosse to the struggling program.

Lacrosse CoachNot wanting to step on some toes of the returning coaches, I made the conscious decision to hold back some of my more aggressive ideas and insights into how practices should be run and the games should be played.

I felt that this decision would help to keep the continuity flowing smooth for the kids as they transitioned to a new coach.

Was I ever wrong!

Bad as Hell

Thinking back, my decision reminded me of a story I was told relating to recruitment and new members of the team.

On the day that Johnny died, he was met at the pearly gates by Saint Peter who told him that he would get to spend one day in Heaven and then one day in Hell before he got to decide where he wanted to live for eternity.

During his time in Heaven, Johnny ran into some old friends, enjoyed extravagant feasts, and was generally content playing the harp and floating on clouds.  While he enjoyed his time in Heaven, he was eager to see what Hell was like.

Upon his arrival in Hell, he was greeted with a raucous party with many of his college buddies.  They took him golfing, enjoyed yet a more extravagant feast than in Heaven, and partied the whole day.

When his time was up, he was sent back to the pearly gates to speak with Saint Peter to decide.  In his discussion with Saint Peter, it was made clear to Johnny that he would have to make the choice and it would be for eternity.

Johnny told Saint Peter that while he enjoyed Heaven, Hell didn’t seem that bad of a place, as he had more of an enjoyable time with his college buddies.

Saint Peter asked him if was sure, and Johnny replied yes.

The DevilAt this time, Johnny was transported back to Hell where he couldn’t believe what he saw!

The same friends who had been golfing and eating feasts with him just a short time ago, were now wearing tattered clothes, working in the extreme fires of Hell, all with the Devil lurking nearby and laughing at Johnny.

Not comprehending what was going on, Johnny asked where he was.

“You’re in Hell,” replied the Devil.

“But it wasn’t like this yesterday!” Johnny said exasperated.

The Devil replied. “Yesterday we were recruiting you; today you’re an employee.”

Now Back to Lacrosse

Now that the season is over, it certainly wasn’t as bad as Hell. When I was asked to work with this team, I didn’t completely understand the dynamics of the team and how the players (employees) felt about the coaches they already had.

  • The existing coaches didn’t have the playing experience I had (lack of credibility)
  • One coach had played on this team a few years earlier with some of the current players (leading your peers)
  • There was a divide between some of the parents and the existing coaches (lack of communication)

In spite of these struggles, I’m proud of what we accomplished as team because we did have a better record than last year, and we didn’t get blown out in as many games as we had in the past.

Despite this success we had as a team this year, my lack of understanding of the dynamics already in place had the potential to set the team up for failure from the get go.

After our last game, I had several returning players for next year come up to me and ask if I was going to come back next year to coach again.

I told them I planned on it and I was ready for the challenge!

How many times do we negatively set-up new employees when we bring them onto our team?  When we do this, what opportunities are lost through that specific time frame of when they’re new that could have helped the team be more successful?  What struggles do we have in how we communicate to new members or potential members of our teams? I would love to hear your thoughts!

——————–
Steve Goble currently is building a new venture
He works with small businesses and youth on leadership and team development

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Image Sources: i196.photobucket.com, images.epilogue.net, images7.cpcache.com

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