Do You Have the Time to Lead?

I consistently hear leaders, or perhaps I should say people in leadership positions, say that they cannot afford the time required to mentor, coach and develop their people. They are too “busy” doing other things. 

 

These types of leaders frequently say that their people are their organization’s greatest asset. Watch them for a week however and you would see almost no evidence to backup that statement.

 

Leaders who believe they cannot afford the time to develop their people miss the fact that the primary responsibility of leadership is building people. 

 

Leaders don’t lead companies, they lead the people who make up the company. Leaders don’t lead budgets, they lead the people who manage the budget. Leaders don’t lead plans, they lead the people who follow the plans. 

 

Everything in an organization or business is managed except for the people. The people within an organization or business are responsible for every bit of that organization’s success. Those people need leadership. 

 

Authentic leaders understand that they manage things and lead people. They know that the difference between leadership and management is far more than semantics. They realize that people who feel managed will be significantly less engaged. The morale of people who feel managed will be lower then the morale of people who are led. The growth of people who are led is much greater than that of people who feel managed. In fact, people who are managed have virtually no real growth opportunities. 

 

If you’re in a leadership position and you are not investing a significant portion of your time to coach, mentor and develop the people you lead then you are missing the boat on leadership. 

 

Developing your people is not a question of having the time. It is a question of priorities. If you’ve been telling yourself that you don’t have the time to lead then perhaps your priorities are a bit off. 

 

Make developing your people the priority it needs to be and your leadership will have no end. Fail to develop your people and your leadership will have no beginning. 


The choice is yours to make. Will you choose to Lead Today?


Are You Chasing a Dream?

The answer to that question is yes, you are most certainly chasing a dream. The bigger question is whether it’s your dream or somebody else’s. 

 

There is nothing wrong with helping someone else chase their dream so long as it doesn’t prevent you from chasing yours as well. Sadly, most people never realize the difference. 

 

If you’re working for someone else then you’re helping that person or that organization chase their dream. There is NOTHING wrong with that, many, in fact most, very successful people are employed by an individual or a company.

 

But they ALSO chase their own dream at the same time. 

 

I find it impossible to describe anyone as successful if they are merely chasing someone else’s dream. I can confidently say that I’ve never met a truly happy person who was chasing someone else’s dream at the expense of their own. 

 

But, and this is a big but…you must have a dream in order to chase it. Many people who work for other people helping them chase their dream don’t have definable dreams of their own to pursue. They seem to “settle.” 

 

They kind of float through life not even realizing they are chasing someone else’s dream. They get a paycheck that they divide up between their creditors and they think they are happy if there is something left for them at the end of the month. 

 

But there’s so much more to life when you’re chasing a dream of your own. The fullness of life comes from understanding your purpose in life. Your dreams come from your purpose.

 

I am fortunate that I figured out long ago that helping others chase their dream IS part of my dream. I succeed when those I help get closer to their dreams.

 

If you don’t know what your dreams are then some serious self-reflection is required. Have you ever considered what true happiness looks like to you? Have you ever defined success for yourself? Do you know why you’re doing the things you’re doing this very day? 

 

If you can answer those questions with a high degree of specificity then you have a path to success. If not then you have some work to do. 


The most successful people do not follow their dreams, they chase them. Find some running shoes and get a move on today!

Just Today

Everybody “knows” that nothing is perfect. Stuff happens, things go wrong, even the best plans don’t always work the way they were intended to. If you ever do start to think that everything is perfect then BOOM something goes wrong. You’re suddenly reminded why everyone “knows” that nothing is perfect. At least not for very long. 

 

And therein lies a tremendous opportunity. 

 

To have perfection in your life everyday you don’t need everyday to be perfect. You need only to be great today. If you decide to put in the effort required to make today perfect then you can have perfection everyday. 

 

Let’s make no mistake about this, the effort required is substantial. But having perfection everyday only requires that you make that effort today. The thought of maintaining a positive attitude every single day is daunting. The idea of giving your 100% best effort every minute of each and every day is overwhelming. The concept of pushing past whatever limits you think you have day after day after day gets tiring just thinking about it. 

 

So don’t worry about day after day. Don’t stress about every minute of each and every day. Don’t focus on every single day.

 

Maintain control of your attitude today. Give a 100% best effort only for today. Push past every limit you’ve ever imagined today. 

 

Don’t concern yourself with how you did yesterday or how you might tomorrow. Today is THE day! 

 

Every date on the calendar is a today. Each of those “todays” is different and unique. You must have plans to succeed but even a 10 year plan is made up of those individual days. Execute one day at a time. Make every day a best day. Control one day according to your plan without regard for the days gone by or the days to come. You cannot change the outcome of yesterday and tomorrow isn’t here yet.


You only have today to focus on your plans. Don’t worry about being great all the time, be great today. You’re the only one who knows you’re only great today, other people may very well think you’re great all the time. 

Your Greatest Competition

I like competitive people. I like people who enjoy winning. I’d hire people who hate losing. The desire to compete creates the opportunity to succeed. 

 

While the desire to complete is key understanding who your competition is can be even more important. Successful competitors believe their competition is some other person or some other organization. The most successful competitors know that their greatest competitor is the person they see in the mirror each morning. 

 

Too many people try to be better than someone else. The most successful people worry less about other people and more about themselves. They focus on what they can control and the only thing they have complete control over is themselves. They work to be better tomorrow than they are today. They know that even if it’s only a little better that a lot of littles add up to something big. 

 

The most successful people invest in themselves to ensure consistent improvement. They read more than less successful people. They find training, not just to shore up their weak spots but to further strengthen their strengths. 

 

The most successful people have a coach or a mentor because they know a second sets of eyes, a second opinion and a second set of experiences can make a world of difference in competitive situations. 

 

To be more successful don’t worry about what someone else is doing. You have little to no control over them. Focus on yourself, focus on what you can control. Focus on making yourself a little more effective each day. 


Be better tomorrow than you were today because all those tomorrows create for you the opportunity to put distance between yourself and any competitors not named you.


The Challenge of Public Speaking

Most people would prefer not to speak in front of a bunch of people. That might be an understatement. Research shows that on the list of people’s biggest fears death is number five and speaking in front of groups is number one. So when people say they would rather die than speak in front of a group they are very serious. 

 

Years ago when I was with the Dale Carnegie Organization people would contact us looking for help with learning to speak in front of groups. When they heard the classes required them to actually speak in front of the class many of them became uninterested rather quickly. 

 

Here’s the first challenge with public speaking…you must speak in public to learn to speak in public. You may learn how to outline a presentation or how to open or close a presentation from reading a book but learning to speak can only come from speaking. If anyone tries to sell you a public speaking class that doesn’t involve speaking be very careful because next they will be trying to sell you ocean front property…in Montana. 

 

Face it, learning to speak in front of groups will require two things, a group and you speaking in front of it. 

 

So here’s a few ideas to make that learning process a bit less scary.

 

Admit you’re a little nervous but don’t apologize for it. Most of the people in your audience would be just as nervous as you, if they had the courage to even try. Admitting to some nervousness will help your audience be more understanding if a flub or stammer finds its way into your presentation.

 

Understand that your audience didn’t come to see you fail. They are rooting for you to do well. They are on your side and are willing to give you the opportunity to do well without being too critical.

 

Use PowerPoint as it was intended to be used. It is not your notes and it is not a shield to hide behind. It is not your presentation either. It merely compliments your presentation. It should help simplify difficult concepts through the use of visuals. 

 

If a slide is full of words then you don’t need that slide. If you feel the need to apologize for a slide being an “eye chart” then don’t use that slide. If you don’t have a definitive purpose for a particular slide then don’t use that particular slide. 

 

Share the real you. I have spoken in front of groups large and small more times than I could ever remember but I have never given a speech. I simply talk with the people in front of me like we’ve known each other for a long time. Even if I’ve never seen them before.

 

Do not try to be something or someone you’re not. You may fool some of the people once in a while but it is more likely that you are only fooling yourself. 

 

Never try to memorize your presentation. You may pull that off once or twice but the list of things that can go wrong when you try to memorize a presentation word for word is so long I can’t mention them all. 


Above all else know your subject. If you know what you’re talking about you have nothing to fear. If you don’t know what you’re talking about then you have no reason to be talking at all.


The Ethics of Leadership

Here is one irrefutable fact about leadership: an organization and the bulk of the people who work in it will seldom be more ethical than the organization’s leadership. 

 

When key leaders in an organization demonstrate less than ethical behavior it gives permission for the entire organization to behave the same way. (Think Wells Fargo for a current example) 

 

Truly ethical leaders know that ethics are not a part time kind of thing. They don’t talk about business ethics or personal ethics, they simply talk and demonstrate ethics at all times. They know that you either are ethical all the time or you are not ethical. There is no in between.

 

Ethical leaders always do what’s right. There may be some dispute about exactly what “right” is but they do what they believe is right. They do it regardless of the consequences. They don’t seek popularity, they practice ethics.

 

Ethical leaders show respect for their people. They listen to them, truly listen without prejudging what they might say. They value differing points of view and when they must overrule or choose an opposing viewpoint they do so with respect and compassion. 

 

Ethical leaders know that they primarily lead by example whether they intend to or not. They understand that their people will do what the leader does far faster than they will do what the leader says. They set an ethical example in everything they do and hold high expectations that everyone in their organization will do the same.

 

Ethical leaders do not accept unethical behavior from anyone in their organization. They don’t overlook violations in an attempt to avoid confrontations. They are consistent when applying policies even when it’s inconvenient for them. 

 

Ethical leaders hold themselves accountable. They allow everyone in their organization to hold them accountable as well. They are transparent and open with their actions and in their communications. Their actions match their words…always. 


The term “ethical leader” is actually redundant. The fact is, if you’re not ethical then you may hold a position of leadership but you most certainly are not an Authentic Leader.


Compromising Relationships

I’m pretty certain that the biggest challenge when it comes to compromising stems from the fact that no one wants to lose. Ever! 

 

What most people fail to realize however is that true compromise is not about winning and losing. It is about allowing both sides of the compromise to maintain self-respect. A compromise can be found in any situation and it can, in fact it must, be found without sacrificing core values. 

 

If you’re truly interested in finding a compromise in difficult circumstances then you must stop trying to always be right. Admitting you are wrong about something, whether it is a fact, an opinion or some emotion driven thinking is not a loss. It is not a sign of weakness or stupidity. It is a sign of courage and emotional strength. The moment you realize that you are wrong about something admit it and move on. 

 

To find compromise you must be willing to let some things go. Humans say and do the most regrettable things when they are emotional. You most certainly have and it’s likely that you are willing to cut yourself a fair amount of slack for saying or doing whatever. You cut yourself that slack because you realize that you were emotional. You must also realize that the other party to your compromise is an emotional being as well. Cut them some slack!

 

You may enter into a discussion with one set of expectations but that doesn’t mean your expectations can’t change as a result of the discussion. Be willing to change your expectations, again that is not a sign of losing. It is a sign that you’re strong enough to realize that sometimes the only way to get something is to give something. 

 

Hiding your true feelings when searching for a compromise does not work. Share how you feel and value the other person’s feelings as much as you want them to value yours.

 

Finding a compromise requires that both parties keep an open mind. Personally I try to remember that I can be wrong about most anything at almost any time. That’s probably true for you too. 

 

Relationships are what make life worth living. When we forget that we put every relationship we have in grave danger. A long time ago a great friend of mine gave me some life changing advice. I was struggling with some issues with our daughter and this very wise man asked me a simple question.

 

He asked what was more important, proving I was right or my relationship with my daughter. That simple question changed my approach to every relationship I have.

 

There is no such thing as a neutral human interaction. Every time you interact with another human being you leave them feeling either better or worse about themselves and their life situation. Every single time!


Find a compromise that makes them…and you, feel better about each other. You will never regret it!