Some events unfolded recently that inspired me to update an article from last Thanksgiving. It’s pretty hard to motivate someone to accomplish a goal if they don’t think you’re in the boat with them. You can only yell “stroke” from the beach for so long. Pretty soon, they won’t be able to hear you. Then what?
I just watched a series on HBO called “The Defiant Ones”. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I just thought it was a story about Dr. Dre and NWA’s rise to superstardom. I can’t say I was a huge fan of the music, but I do like a good success story. As always, I’m steadily looking for leadership lessons in everything and this documentary provided me with an unexpected epiphany. And it didn’t have anything to do with Dr. Dre or NWA.
Everyone responds to fear, but it’s how you respond that makes the difference for a great leader. Sometimes, we’re not supposed to do anything, but that can be tough. Especially when we’re scared.
Have you ever been in a boring meeting? Have you ever run one? One where people were struggling to stay awake? Maybe you’ve pretended to receive a call just so you could go in the hallway and breath? There are certain things needed to make a meeting successful.
Anyone can be a leader at any level, in any organization, even without a leadership “title”. This includes work, home life, charitable organizations, church groups, clubs, etc. Conversely, just because a person has a leadership “title”, doesn’t mean they’re a good leader i.e.; Manager, VP, Sr. Analyst, President, Father, Mother, Deacon, Board Member, School Trip Chaperone, etc. It takes certain characteristics to lead. Like the chameleon, leaders must see and adjust to different situations in order to reach goals. They work with the environment, not against it. In order to do this, they’ve got to have the right mindset. Let’s call it A+ leadership, for everybody.
If a father says to his daughter, “you’re beautiful”, she believes it. If he tells his son, “you can do it”, the son also believes. In both cases, if they trust the parent, the children normally won’t ask a lot of questions. Read on to see the opposite effect.
Proverbs 27:17 states that as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Sharpening others requires us to use our influence. With this influence comes great responsibility. We should always be aware of what we are sharpening.
As we begin the Thanksgiving Weekend, I am reminded about something a mentor told me years ago. “You can’t keep what you have, unless you give it away”. Seems counter-intuitive, but when applied properly, it can make all the difference. Thanksgiving is not only about giving thanks, it’s an opportunity to give, period.
Serving others places great value in them and is an awesome motivator. It works with teammates, co-workers, loved ones, etc.. This means selflessly giving away your time, talent, wisdom and experience. Love others as you love yourself and you will gain the ability to influence others toward goals. Do this sacrificially and you get to keep that influence. People are more willing to follow a leader that sacrifices something for the cause. Find someone or something to pour love into, not only on Thanksgiving, but everyday.