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LEADERSHIP NOTES


 


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ATTITUDE OF LEADERSHIP

 

By Michael Lebeau / ALCA President 2004-05

 

Effective leaders are active coaches who have the ability to gain cooperation, inspire teamwork, and foster collaborative efforts. They build group cohesiveness and pride. They create an inclusive atmosphere in which all team members enjoy a sense of belonging and a sense of importance.

 

Effective leaders have high expectations of themselves and their team. They make every effort to develop themselves and their team members to the highest potential. They insist on excellence and hold their team members accountable. They maintain a strong sense of urgency.

 

Effective leaders are visible, available, accessible, and approachable. They listen. They respond. They care. They are compassionate. 

 

Effective leaders display confidence in their team members. They show trust, they provide guidance, they offer encouragement, they give compliments, and they express gratitude. They treat every member of the team with respect and dignity.

 

Effective leaders set an example for others to follow.  They are role models. They maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity. They are congruent. They say what they mean and mean what they say. They possess the courage of their convictions. They are trustworthy. They make good on their promises and follow through with their commitments.

 


 

Do more than belong…     Participate.

Do more than care…        Help.

Do more than believe…    Practice.

Do more than be fair…     Be kind.

Do more than forgive…    Forget.

Do more than dream…     Work.

 

(WILLIAM ARTHUR WARD)

 


COUNSELOR AS LEADER

 

By Michael Lebeau / ALCA President 2004-05

 

As counselors, we are leaders in our institutions and leaders in our community.  We are not only helpers, we are role models who set the pace, the mood, and sometimes the agenda on important issues affecting social change.  Our integrity as leaders is crucial to the people for whom we are advocates, allies and protectors.  We cannot take lightly the vital role we play in ensuring the wellbeing of the marginalized, mistreated and disenfranchised members of our communities.

 

Counselors are special people. They are among the extraordinary individuals who make this world a better place by making a difference in the lives of others. They have chosen as their profession and life's work a vocation of service. They have committed themselves to a career of helping and guiding.

 

Counselors, then, must have the integrity and strength of character to put the needs and concerns of others ahead of their own. Counselors must be selfless in their desire to ensure the success of others, fearless in their zeal to protect the dignity of others, and relentless in their defense of the rights of others.

 

As such, counselors are courageous individuals who possess the necessary confidence and personal stability to interact with a broad diversity of people representing a wide variety of backgrounds and issues. Counselors are not judgmental or closed-minded when encountering individuals of diverse belief, thought and lifestyle.

 

Counselors do not feel threatened by those whose values differ from their own.  They do not feel insecure.  They, in fact, seek to understand, accept, affirm and celebrate the differences in others, knowing that the world is big enough for all people.

 

As a counselor and a leader, you are in a special position that should naturally serve as a source of pride.  After all, it takes a very special kind of person to be a counselor. It takes extraordinary determination to realize your role as a skilled helper. The job entails challenges and responsibilities that must be faced daily.  Your role as a counselor and leader should not be taken lightly.  People look up to you. People depend on you. 

 

Counselors and leaders do not have the luxury to be self-serving. The concerns of others must come before their own comfort and desires. More is expected from those who choose to be leaders.  As a leader, you are expected to display a greater sense of responsibility, courage, integrity and compassion than the average person.   As a general rule, people tend to expect more from leaders.  And effective leaders expect more from themselves.

 

As a counselors, we have made a commitment to provide encouragement and motivation to others. We have an obligation to prevent our clients from falling. It is our duty to restore confidence and stimulate hope. We can be a positive influence and make a meaningful impact on the life of another person. We can be a source of inspiration, to evoke change, compel action, and foster growth.

 

Counselors are leaders. Whether we realize it or not, we are role models. We provide direction, guidance, inspiration and motivation. We set an example for others.  What an awesome responsibility we have!  Taking seriously our leadership role, ultimately requires that we live above our own needs. Great leaders seek self actualization, collaborative efforts, cooperative working relationships, and a spirit of interdependence.

 

Leadership is about defending others, not about defending oneself. Leadership is about involving and developing others, not finding one's own success. Leadership is about fostering an environment that is open and affirming to all people, not about gathering together certain people of like mind and opinion.

 

Whenever we feel threatened by those around us whose values and beliefs differ from ours, our leadership is in question. Whenever we can't be bothered to make accommodations for the values and beliefs of those who are different from us, our leadership is weak.

 

To test whether or not you are an effective leader, simply turn around and take a good look at your followers. If they look just like you, think just like you, behave just like you, you're not a real leader. Great leadership inspires diversity in its followers and makes room at the table for everyone.

 

To be a leader, then, requires courage. To be a leader oftentimes involves taking risks. To be a leader means that we regularly find ourselves in the arena. It requires commitment and determination. It requires the utmost audacity and boldness to risk being an advocate for our clients, to address wrongful acts, to defend those who are mistreated, to aggressively speak out against injustices in our society, and to fight ignorance and hatred.

 

Our profession should be leading the way in advancing the cause of human rights. We do not have the luxury to ignore or deny the pleas from those who need our help. We cannot turn away from the problems around us. It is inherent in our charge as counselors to be advocates on behalf of those who are suffering. With a renewed sense of the courage, compassion and character it takes to be a leader, we can confront injustice, we can fight for those who can't fight for themselves, and we can be a catalyst for positive change.

 


MORE INFO

 

Servant Leadership
Becoming a Servant Leader: Do You Have What it Takes?
Service & Leadership: The Call of Leadership
Leadership Now
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Leader Values
Martin Luther King Jr: The Drum Major Instinct
 


COURAGE TO LEAD

 

"There's talk on the street, it sounds so familiar, great expectations, everybody's watching you."

(SOUTHER, HENLEY, FREY)

 

"The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of the person."

(ROY SMITH)

 

"The price of greatness is responsibility."

(WINSTON CHURCHILL)

 

"To let yourself be bound by duty from the moment you see it approaching is part of the integrity that alone justifies responsibility."

(DAG HAMMARSKJOLD)

 

"People must cease attributing their problems to their environment, and learn again to exercise their will and personal responsibility."

(ALBERT SCHWEITZER)

 

"A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, and a little less than his share of the credit."

(ARNOLD GLASGOW)

 

"Before a leader can win the support of her staff, she must prove that she has the courage to lead."

(BEVERLY KEMPTON)

 

“Courage teaches us what should be feared and what ought not to be feared. Only by taking action do we gain that knowledge. And from that knowledge comes an inner strength that inspires us to persevere in the face of great adversity…  and inspires others to follow. In the most difficult times, courage is what makes someone a leader.”

(JOHN MAXWELL)

 

"Don't be afraid of taking risks or of being criticized. If you don't want to be criticized, don't say anything, do anything, or be anything."

(MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN)

 

"The way I see it, you have three choices in life:  To commit, to spectate, or to run away."

(CITY OF JOY)

 


LEADER AS SERVANT

By Robert Greenleaf
 

The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.  Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.  He or she is sharply different from the person who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.  For such it will be a later choice to serve – after leadership is established.  The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types.  Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature. 


The difference manifest itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.  The best test, and difficult to administer is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, will they not be further deprived?”

 
 


PRINCIPLES OF SERVANT LEADERSHIP

By Larry Spears

 

After carefully considering Greenleaf's original writings, I have identified a set of 10 characteristics that he views as being critical to the development of servant-leaders. These 10 are by no means exhaustive. However, they serve to communicate the power and promise that this concept offers

 

1. Listening

Traditionally, leaders have been valued for their communication and decision making skills. Servant-leaders must reinforce these important skills by making a deep commitment to listening intently to others. Servant-leaders seek to identify and clarify the will of a group. They seek to listen receptively to what is being and said (and not said). Listening also encompasses getting in touch with one's inner voice, and seeking to understand what one's body, spirit, and mind are communicating.


2. Empathy

Servant-leaders strive to understand and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirit. One must assume the good intentions of coworkers and not reject them as people, even when forced to reject their behavior or performance.


3. Healing

Learning to heal is a powerful force for transformation and integration. One of the great strengths of servant-leadership is the potential for healing one's self and others. In "The Servant as Leader", Greenleaf writes, "There is something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led if, implicit in the compact between the servant-leader and led is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something that they have."
 

4. Awareness

General awareness, and especially self-awareness, strengthens the servant-leader. Making a commitment to foster awareness can be scary--one never knows that one may discover! As Greenleaf observed, "Awareness is not a giver of solace - it's just the opposite. It disturbed. They are not seekers of solace. They have their own inner security."

 

5. Persuasion

Servant-leaders rely on persuasion, rather than positional authority in making decisions. Servant-leaders seek to convince others, rather than coerce compliance. This particular element offers one of the clearest distinctions between the traditional authoritarian model and that of servant-leadership. The servant-leader is effective at building consensus within groups.


6. Conceptualization

Servant-leaders seek to nurture their abilities to "dream great dreams." The ability to look at a problem (or an organization) from a conceptualizing perspective means that one must think beyond day-to-day realities. Servant-leaders must seek a delicate balance between conceptualization and day-to-day focus.


7. Foresight

Foresight is a characteristic that enables servant-leaders to understand lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision in the future. It is deeply rooted in the intuitive mind.


8. Stewardship

Robert Greenleaf's view of all institutions was one in which CEO's, staff, directors, and trustees all play significance roles in holding their institutions in trust for the great good of society.

 

9. Commitment to the Growth of People

Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers. As such, Servant-leaders are deeply committed to a personal, professional, and spiritual growth of each and every individual within the organization.

 

10. Building Community

Servant-leaders are aware that the shift from local communities to large institutions as the primary shaper of human lives has changed our perceptions and caused a send of loss. Servant-leaders seek to identify a means for building community among those who work within a given institution.

 


CREATIVE LEADERSHIP

 

By Samuel Gladding / ACA President

 

Creativity and leadership are often talked about but are seldom used in the same sentence. That is because individuals generally have difficulty understanding what these two words encompass and how they may be combined. To be honest, creativity is usually different from leadership, but not necessarily. The two can be combined.

 
Creativity

 

The term creativity is not a synonym for newness. There are many new ideas and products produced each day that are not creative. For example, wearing clothes that don’t match may be novel but it is seldom creative. Rather, creativity is the ability to combine elements in a way that results in a unique product or process that is useful or brings insight in a manner not previously available. History is full of creative inventions, two of the most noteworthy examples of the twentieth century being the formulation of Albert Einstein about the nature of matter and the production by Thomas Edison of the electric light bulb.

 

So how does creativity work? It is a process that is non-sequential where people give themselves time to incubate ideas about how to solve or resolve a problem or situation. An underlying and necessary aspect of creativity is that people employ divergent thinking that leads them past logical conclusions and onto novel ways of tackling what lies before them. Brainstorming is one type of divergent thinking process that can be helpful. In brainstorming, of course, many ideas are generated in a limited amount of time without being judged. It is only after the ideas are voiced or written out that they are evaluated for their practicality.

 

Play is another form of divergent thinking where people have fun with ideas or materials by rearranging them in as many possible ways as they can. Think about how children stack blocks or work with Playdoh. The important characteristic of divergent thinking is to open one’s mind.

 

Leadership

 

In contrast to creativity, leadership is about people helping others, especially in groups, envision and achieve goals in a timely and productive manner. In order to lead, a person must have energy, vision, a sense of self, interpersonal skills, and knowledge about the nature of groups, such as the fact that they go through developmental stages. In addition, a person must know how to break down goals into doable pieces so that the group can reach its destination in a timely manner without becoming discouraged. Both processes are easier to describe than to achieve.

 

Groups are best led when members feel unified with each other and a part of the whole. Such a feeling only comes after individuals work through their initial anxiety and conflict in being with others. Ways of helping groups get through the initial stages of a group (forming and storming) to achieve unification and productivity (norming and performing) include making sure members have an opportunity to talk (“air time”) and receive feedback. Positive feedback works best early in the group process. Members also need to feel they have something in common with others in the group. The leader can assure such connectivity by pointing out similarities in backgrounds and thoughts, a procedure called linking.

 

In addition, the leader needs to make sure that all members of the group buy into the goals the group wishes to achieve as a whole. Group members who are reluctant or resistant will not only slow the group down but also contribute to its failure. Leadership is also exercised in a group by delegating tasks to members. A leader who tries to do everything ends up doing nothing (and becomes exhausted and discouraged as well). Thus, it is important for leaders to identify talents in their followers and help followers make the most of their abilities. In such a process, cohesiveness is strengthened and the leader helps to grow future leaders.

 

Like creativity, leadership evolves over time and like creativity, leadership can be taught. Thus, a leader can instruct a person within a group on how to assess himself or herself on an intrapersonal level and simultaneously relate to others more effectively. Like creativity (and counseling for that matter), leadership comes through first knowing oneself and then deepening that knowledge through interpersonal interactions or situations that are challenging and demanding.

 

Being A Creative Leader

 

Given the facts covered so far it is not surprising that leadership, let alone creative leadership, is a rather rare commodity in society. After all, a commitment to being a leader requires a great deal of work and even some sacrifice. Adding a creative element to such a commitment demands even more from a person. Yet, becoming a creative leader is possible. As noted, dedication to the process is paramount.

 

To be a creative leader, processes I have found most useful are as follows.

 

Practice doing things different from the way you routinely conduct yourself. Practice new ways of interacting with others. Learn to empathize with those whose personalities are very different from yours.

 

Practice seeing things from a new or different perspective. Learn to appreciate the variety of aspects associated with any given issue.

 

Cultivate a sense of humor. It is crucial for the processes of creativity and leadership that those who are at the forefront of groups be able to laugh at themselves or situations that are absurd. Without an ability to see the levity in oneself or others, life and groups become way too serious and boring.

 

Conclusion

 

Creativity and leadership are like chocolate and peanut butter. They can be considered individually but they are also wonderful together. The hard part in combining them is making sure that diverse thinking is mixed with knowledge of self and the ability to work well in groups. Such a process is easier to focus on than to perform but it is possible to achieve. As James Baldwin is purported to have said: “Not everything that is tried can be changed but nothing can be changed unless it is tried.” Putting creativity and leadership together is well worth the effort.

 


 

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

(MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.)

 

“A leader knows the way…  Goes the way…  And shows the way.”

(JOHN MAXWELL)

 

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever the cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever the cost.”

(ARTHUR ASHE)

 

“Vision does not ignite growth; passion does. Passion fuels vision and vision is the focus of the power of passion. Leaders who are passionate about their call create vision.”

(KEN HEMPHILL)

 

“Courage teaches us what should be feared and what ought not to be feared. Only by taking action do we gain that knowledge. And from that knowledge comes an inner strength that inspires us to persevere in the face of great adversity…  and inspires others to follow. In the most difficult times, courage is what makes someone a leader.”

(JOHN MAXWELL)

 

“The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and to share. When you look back on all you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you brought into other people’s lives than you will from the times you outdid and defeated them.”

(RABBI HAROLD KUSHNER)

 

“A life isn’t significant except for its impact on other lives.”

(JACKIE ROBINSON)

 

“The ultimate measure of a person is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

(MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.)

 


MAKING TEAMWORK WORK

 

by Mark Sanborn

 

In my book "TeamBuilt: Making Teamwork Work" I show leaders how to harness the power of teamwork. I recognize that teambuilding has been widely embraced by corporate America, but that different organizations have varying results depending on their approach to implementation. Regardless of your current situation, however, the most important consideration isn't how good you are at teambuilding, but how good you could be. To assist and evaluate teambuilding efforts, I've developed a list of key questions you need to answer to make teamwork work.


Do you know who your team slayers are and have you taken steps to deal with the problem? Have you identified team slayers -- those individuals whose behavior detracts from team performance -- and have you spent time with them diagnosing the reason and what to do about it?


Do team members understand the team's vision, mission, goals, values and expectations? These are the blueprint for the team's success, so team members must have a crystal clear understanding of these important components?

 

Are team members committed to the team's success? This is a situation where simply asking isn't enough -- look for an outward manifestation of commitment. More likely, it will be easier to spot a lack of commitment. Excessive questioning of why people are being asked to do what they do is one sign. Complaining, lack of performance, low morale --all of those would suggest that the commitment to vision, mission, values, goals and expectations may be lacking.


Have team members been trained in teamwork skills? Is your teambuilding curriculum in place? Training should be ongoing, and whenever possible, team members should attend sessions as a group.

 

Have team leaders been trained for their role? There are natural born leaders, but there aren't enough of them for most organizations. Leadership skills must be developed. In addition to basic team skills, make sure team leaders get special skills training in areas like group facilitation and mediation.

 

Have you started relationship building with future team members? Some day you're going to lose team members. They're going to quit, move away, or go to another team within the organization. When you receive notice that they're leaving, you'll need to have potential replacements identified and, if possible, already thinking about joining the team. Relationship building with potential team members needs to be done well in advance.

 

Are you holding regular meetings that participants find worthwhile? Regularly ask team members to assess the effectiveness of team meetings. If they feel that team meetings are wasting their time, you're either meeting too frequently or preparing inadequately. If they feel that they need more information to feel informed, you may not be meeting enough.

 
Do meetings include both information and motivation? You've got to have both. Use the analogy of the cherry flavored cough syrup. When you buy cherry flavored cough syrup your primary motivation is for the medicinal value -- you want to suppress the cough. Because if you really just wanted cherry flavor, you'd buy soda pop. So why do they put cherry flavor in cough syrup? To help the medicine go down more easily. You should make meetings interesting, entertaining and motivational to help the information presented go down more easily. Team members need both "how-to" and "want-to."

 

Is interpersonal communication effective? Team communication should provide information that members can use: news rather than gossip and feedback rather than criticism. Do team members share useful information with each other in an open, honest environment?

 

Do team members feel well informed about news of the larger organization? It's important that teams don't operate in a vacuum, but that they understand how they fit into the big picture and how they impact the organization's performance. Top managers and others outside the team should be utilized as resources.

 

What efforts has your team or entire organization taken to create interdepartmental teamwork? There is something harder than getting people on the same team to work together, and that is getting people on different teams to work together. Have you made some active attempts to teambuild with other departments within your organization?


Is your team facing some of the same problems today that they were 60 days ago and if so, why?  Ignoring significant problems won't help. After two months problems that are unsolved are either insignificant or overdue for attention. Deal with problems before they become a source of perpetual frustration for team members.


Has the team leader taken time to understand the values, likes, dislikes and needs of every team member?  Because different people are motivated differently, if the team leader hasn't done his or her homework in understanding what motivates different team members, you aren't as far along in team building as you could be.

 

Does the team deal openly and effectively with conflict? Have team members learned to use all available approaches to conflict resolution and has the team agreed on a system that allows you to deal with the problems that inevitably arise? The team vision should be the primary agenda being pursued, even in difficult times.


Are all team members open to feedback? Or is feedback only accepted from the team leader? When a team member has an idea that will help another team member improve their performance, do they offer it?


Can you point to specific innovations that your team has made in the past year? Are you innovating or simply doing things the way you've always been doing them and maintaining the status quo? Make sure to reward any attempts at innovation, even if the outcome isn't successful. Challenge team members to try new things.


Are you operating with a team calendar? Teams must be accountable for producing results in time. Have you identified top team goals for the current calendar year and do team members know what those goals are? Use action planning at every team session to translate ideas into results.

 

Do team members feel there is linkage between individual success and team success? Do you reward people and recognize them, not just for what they accomplish, but for their contribution in helping the team accomplish its goals? This linkage is critical and must be present if team work is going to work.


What celebrations, formal and informal, have you undertaken to demonstrate appreciation and create camaraderie? Evaluate results periodically. Regularly and creatively celebrate the team's efforts and victories.

 


 

“In order to be a leader, you must have followers. And to have followers, you must have confidence. Hence the supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible. If your followers find you guilty of phoniness, if they find that you lack forthright integrity, you will fail. Your teachings and your actions must square with each other. The first great need, therefore, is integrity and high purpose.”

(DWIGHT EISENHOWER)

 

“Of those to whom much is given, much is required. And when at some future date the high court of history sits in judgment on each of us – recording whether in our brief span of service we fulfilled our responsibilities – our success or failure, we will be measured by the answers to four questions… Were we truly people of courage?  Were we truly people of judgment?  Were we truly people of integrity?  Were we truly people of dedication?”

(JOHN KENNEDY)

 


WHY LEADERS FAIL

 

by Mark Sanborn

 

Donald Trump, paragon of the real estate world, files for bankruptcy. Richard Nixon, 37th U.S. President, resigns the presidency over the Watergate scandal. Jennifer Capriati, rising tennis star, enters a rehabilitation center for drug addicts. Jim Bakker, renowned televangelist, is convicted of fraud. In the recent past, we've witnessed the public downfall of leaders from almost every area of endeavor -- business, politics, religion, and sports. One day they're on top of the heap, the next, the heap's on top of them.

 

Of course, we think that such catastrophic failure could never happen to us. We've worked hard to achieve our well-deserved positions of leadership -- and we won't give them up for anything! The bad news is: the distance between beloved leader and despised failure is shorter than we think.

 

Ken Maupin, a practicing psychotherapist and colleague, has built his practice on working with high-performance personalities, including leaders in business, religion, and sports. Ken and I have often discussed why leaders fail. Our discussions have led to the following "warning signs" of impending failure.

 

WARNING SIGN 1: A Shift in Focus

 

This shift can occur in several ways. Often, leaders simply lose sight of what's important. The laser-like focus that catapulted them to the top disappears, and they become distracted by the trappings of leadership.

 

Leaders are usually distinguished by their ability to "think big." But when their focus shifts, they suddenly start thinking small. They micro manage, they get caught up in details better left to others, they become consumed with the trivial and unimportant. And to make matters worse, this tendency can be exacerbated by an inclination toward perfectionism.

 

A more subtle leadership derailer is an obsession with "doing" rather than "becoming." The good work of leadership is usually a result of who the leader is. What the leader does then flows naturally from inner vision and character. It is possible for a leader to become too action oriented and, in the process, lose touch with the more important development of self.

 

What is your primary focus right now? If you can't write it on the back of your business card, then it's a sure bet that your leadership is suffering from a lack of clarity. Take the time necessary to get your focus back on what's important.

 

Further, would you describe your thinking as expansive or contractive? Of course, you always should be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, but try never to take on what others can do as well as you. In short, make sure that your focus is on leading rather than doing.

 

WARNING SIGN 2:  Poor Communication

 

A lack of focus and its resulting disorientation typically lead to poor communication. Followers can't possibly understand a leader's intent when the leader him- or herself isn't sure what it is! And when leaders are unclear about their own purpose, they often hide their confusion and uncertainty in ambiguous communication.

 

Sometimes, leaders fall into the clairvoyance trap. In other words, they begin to believe that truly committed followers automatically sense their goals and know what they want without being told. Misunderstanding is seen by such managers as a lack of effort (or commitment) on the listener's part, rather than their own communication negligence.

 

"Say what you mean, and mean what you say" is timeless advice, but it must be preceded by knowing what you mean! An underlying clarity of purpose is the starting point for all effective communication. It's only when you're absolutely clear about what you want to convey that the hard work of communicating pays dividends.

 

WARNING SIGN 3:  Risk Aversion

 

Leaders at risk often begin to be driven by a fear of failure rather than the desire to succeed. Past successes create pressure for leaders: "Will I be able to sustain outstanding performance?" "What will I do for an encore?" In fact, the longer a leader is successful, the higher his or her perceived cost of failure.

 

When driven by the fear of failure, leaders are unable to take reasonable risks. They want to do only the tried and proven; attempts at innovation -- typically a key to their initial success -- diminish and eventually disappear.

 

Which is more important to you: the attempt or the outcome? Are you still taking reasonable risks?  Prudent leadership never takes reckless chances that risk the destruction of what has been achieved, but neither is it paralyzed by fear. Often the dance of leadership is two steps forward, one step back.

 

WARNING SIGN 4: Ethics Slip

 

A leader's credibility is the result of two aspects:  what he or she does (competency) and who he or she is (character). A discrepancy between these two aspects creates an integrity problem.

 

The highest principle of leadership is integrity. When integrity ceases to be a leader's top priority, when a compromise of ethics is rationalized away as necessary for the "greater good," when achieving results becomes more important than the means to their achievement -- that is the moment when a leader steps onto the slippery slop of failure.

Often such leaders see their followers as pawns, a mere means to an end, thus confusing manipulation with leadership. These leaders lose empathy. They cease to be people "perceivers" and become people "pleasers," using popularity to ease the guilt of lapsed integrity.

 

It is imperative to your leadership that you constantly subject your life and work to the highest scrutiny. Are there areas of conflict between what you believe and how you behave? Has compromise crept into your operational tool kit? One way to find out is to ask the people you depend on if they ever feel used or taken for granted.

 

WARNING SIGN 5: Poor Self Management

 

Tragically, if a leader doesn't take care of him- or herself, no one else will. Unless a leader is blessed to be surrounded by more-sensitive-than-normal followers, nobody will pick up on the signs of fatigue and stress. Leaders are often perceived to be superhuman, running on unlimited energy.

 

While leadership is invigorating, it is also tiring. Leaders who fail to take care of their physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs are headed for disaster. Think of having a gauge for each of these four areas of your life -- and check them often! When a gauge reaches the "empty" point, make time for refreshment and replenishment. Clear your schedule and take care of yourself -- it's absolutely vital to your leadership that you continue to grow and develop, a task that can be accomplished only when your tanks are full.

 

WARNING SIGN 6: Lost Love

 

The last warning sign of impending disaster that leaders need to heed is a move away from their first love and dream. Paradoxically, the hard work of leadership should be fulfilling and even fun. But when leaders lose sight of the dream that compelled them to accept the responsibility of leadership, they can find themselves working for causes that mean little to them. They must stick to what they love, what motivated them at the first, to maintain the fulfillment of leadership.

 

To make sure that you stay on the track of following your first love, frequently ask yourself these three questions: Why did I initially assume leadership? Have those reasons changed? Do I still want to lead?

 

Heed the Signs

 

The warning signs in life -- from stop lights to prescription labels -- are there for our good. They protect us from disaster, and we would be foolish to ignore them. As you consider the six warning signs of leadership failure, don't be afraid to take an honest look at yourself. If any of the warnings ring true, take action today! The good news is: by paying attention to these signs and heeding their warnings, you can avoid disaster and sustain the kind of leadership that is healthy and fulfilling both for yourself and your followers.

 


“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, and little less than his share of the credit.”

(ARNOLD GLASGOW)

 

“Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him.”

(BOOKER T. WASHINGTON)

 

“Leadership means involving others.”

(J. DONALD WALTERS)

 

“Be careful or I’ll include you in my plans.”

(ASHLEIGH BRILLIANT)

 

“People who feel good about themselves produce good results.”

(BLANCHARD & JOHNSON)

 

“Working with people is difficult but not impossible.”

(PETER DRUCKER)

 

“Whether relations begin, deepen, or end largely depends on your interpersonal skills.”

(DAVID W. JOHNSON)

 


TEAM SUCCESS

 

by Patricia Fripp

 

When John Amatt led the 1982 Canadian team on a successful Mount Everest Expedition, only three people reached the summit. Many climbers who were part of the team, whose lifetime ambition was to stand on top of Everest, made the conscious choice to stay in the base camp. Why? Because they knew the effort was likely to fail if everyone tried to make it. They chose to forego their individual dreams in favor of helping the team succeed.

 

This wasn't John Amatt's first time to plan an Everest expedition. Ten years earlier, with one of him friends from Norway, he had gathered a team of world- class climbers from many different countries, for the challenge. But at the last minute, he backed out. Officially, it was to get married. "But that was just an excuse," he said later. "I knew that, despite having the best climbers in the world, this expedition would not succeed. Everyone wanted to reach the top for their own glory or that of their country. No one seemed willing to make decisions for the good of the team."

 

His fears proved founded. Not only did the team not cooperate to make it to the top, at one point these sophisticated expert climbers even indulged in a rock-throwing fight.

A "team" is not just people who work at the same time in the same place. A real team is a group of very different individuals who share a commitment to working together to achieve common goals. Most likely they are not all equal in experience, talent or education, but they are equal in one vitally important way, their commitment to the good of the organization. Any group of people -- your family, your workplace or your community -- gets the best results by working as a team.

 

I believe that all of us want to be part of something bigger than we are. Team relationships fulfill that basic need. They are an immensely powerful force, yet they always need to be nurtured. Be sure to show each team member exactly how far reaching his or her contribution can be. The team, each member, and the larger organization will enjoy greater enthusiasm and ultimately greater success.

 

What makes a team? Individuals who are not equal in talent, experience or education, but equal in commitment. It is not realistic to think we can live or work with others without some conflict, but by communicating about the differences, focusing on the common goals and not throwing verbal rocks, we will make great strides.

 


The SIX most important words are…       "I admit I made a mistake."
The FIVE most important words are…     "You did a good job."
The FOUR most important words are…    "What is your opinion?"
The THREE most important words are…   "If you please."
The TWO most important words are…     "Thank you."
The ONE most important word is…          "We."
The ONE least important word is…          "I."

 

 


ALABAMA COUNSELING ASSOCIATION   n   Leadership Handbook