Ninth is determination. W HO IS looking out for you? In Learning to Lead , Williams shows how anyone can grow and succeed as leaders. He grew up in a working-class family in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Chicago in the s. The book is exceptional. He weaves the experiences of his career with the lessons we can all learn from them. Well told and insightful. He begins by asserting that the single most important asset you have is you.
As a result, you need to focus on getting better. To do that you need to really think about what you are going to do differently. If you want to be extraordinary, you need to stretch yourself above the average person. Exceed your job description. Do it for you and build a reputation. For him, his underprivileged background represented an opportunity. It is our mindset that often makes it impossible to escape the box we find ourselves in. Mentorship must arise naturally out of the situation rather than being forced.
As you work on learning to lead yourself, you should also seek out others whose examples, experiences, and insights can be of value to you. When people do or seem to get in your way, rather than finding blame, assume positive intent. You can choose how you respond to negative events. Blowing up in the face of provocation is a way of losing power, not of claiming it. By contrast, the more oblique wordings I used directed attention away from the blame game and exactly where I wanted it—toward uncovering the root causes behind their objections.
We hurt ourselves and our organizations when we act on our untruths. Learning to correctly grasp what I call strategic intent of those in important positions above you and below you in the organizational hierarchy is a vital leadership practice, one that you should try to make into a daily habit. Williams provides lessons in communication, creating a positive culture, defining reality, and many more.
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Putting in practice what he presents here does not require extraordinary gifts. There is a lot of emotional intelligence contained in this book. Reading it is a good way to develop your own EQ and check your self-awareness. Use Learning to Lead to prepare yourself answer the call to lead when it comes.
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I never expected that he would become my first true mentor. But, throughout our relationship, our conversations have given me volumes of knowledge about leadership and a host of other topics.
I saw in him a leadership style similar to my own, just more seasoned. I wanted to learn as much as I could from him and use similar techniques as my own leadership responsibilities grew.
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He helped me get certain jobs and I worked directly for him once. We remain great friends to this day. Receiving mentorship is a vital element in learning about leadership… and being a mentor is a responsibility of all great leaders. The first three are rather self-evident in terms of what they mean.
Virtual mentorship is something you do on your own. You simply pay attention to all of the people around you and learn from them. This can apply to both your professional and personal life. Pay attention to what others do or say that is particularly smart or good, then adopt it as your own habit. Notice also when a leader does something incredibly dumb or harmful to others, then put that in your leadership reservoir as well, so that you will never do the same.
Think of your life as a journey carrying a backpack, and observed behaviors are rocks you find along the path. Pick up both the good and bad—the good for future use and the bad to remind you not to repeat what those rocks represent.
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All great leaders learn something from those they encounter along their journey. I regularly cite those who taught me something that I now use myself. Perhaps one of the greatest periods during which I learned from others was my time in the Pentagon in the late s.
My 23 years of service to that point had been exclusively within Army ranks, with no duty served in another military branch. But in , when I became a new brigadier general, I was assigned to the Joint Staff in the Pentagon. I served during this time with a number of great military leaders who influenced me. I had to brief him each morning. That was a particularly interesting relationship, as he was a lieutenant colonel when I was a brigadier general in Seventeen years later, I reported to him. I remember our first discussion in his office in , where I made clear that while we had a different relationship in the Pentagon, I was perfectly fine working for him.
I remember him saying he was, as well. He was very comfortable in his own skin. We got along great in the two years of his command tenure and remain good friends to this day.
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I freely pass on mine. That being the case, the single key to maximizing human potential and organizational growth is to improve the quality of the manager. The most important person in your organization to bring teams together and lead them to great decisions is the manager. The most important sections for me are Employment Brand and Boss to Coach. The practice of management has been stuck in time for more than 30 years, despite the world and workplace going through extraordinary historical change. In the new working environment, one of the biggest challenges is for managers to go from boss to coach.
But the top-down leadership techniques of the past have not adapted to a workplace that now demands coaching and collaboration to thrive. However, I would argue that top-down and coaching and collaboration are not necessarily mutually exclusive. That said, coaching requires three things : establish expectations, continually coach, and create accountability. Gallup analytics finds that most current team leaders do not have the natural tendencies for managing people.
We often promote people for the wrong reasons like success in a prior non-management role and tenure. Organizations still think largely in terms of promoting up the corporate ladder when other options exist like changing teams, projects, or even managers. And this affects their wellbeing—and the wellbeing of those they manage. Gallup research fronds that great managers have these five traits: Motivation inspiring teams to get exceptional work done , Workstyle setting goals and arranging resources for the team to excel , Initiation influencing others to act; pushing through adversity and resistance , Collaboration building committed teams with deep roots , and Thought Process taking an analytical approach to strategy and decision-making.
There is a code to take the CliftonStrengths assessment and an appendix section that provides guidance for leading with each of the 34 strengths. In real terms—overall—your employees have not received a raise in more than 35 years. Their expenses of housing, healthcare, and education are exploding while paycheck sizes are frozen or declining. Grace, in a secular sense—that is on a human level—is about perspective. A perspective larger than ourselves.
A perspective that reaches to a purpose beyond who we are alone. In short, our connectedness. Grace is a critical part of who great leaders should be. Grace is something all leaders should model for the benefit of those around them so that it spreads to society in general. Love, sacrifice, truth, and courage are virtues made actionable by grace. We may be disposed to do what is right; grace gives us the impetus to act upon doing it. Grace then becomes the inspiration for treating individuals with generosity, respect, and compassion.
It manifests itself as action in the name of others, and it energizes us to act upon our beliefs. To help us better understand grace and to help us intentionally apply it in our leadership, Baldoni explores grace from five perspectives with this acronym :. G is for Generosity : the will to do something for others.
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R is for Respect : the dignity of life and work. A is for Action : the mechanism for change. C is for Compassion : the concern for others. E is for Energy : the spirit that catalyzes us. Gracious people give of themselves. Gracious people leverage who they are and what they have for the benefit of others.
Gracious leaders share time, knowledge, and power. They cultivate a selfless approach to life. Generosity emanates from an abundance mindset. A selfless person, even in the midst of personal adversity, can find something to share with others. That attitude is contagious.