Tips that Will Take You Over the Top
We celebrate the leaders of Brevard County every December and look ahead to those who are poised for greatness in the coming year. These tremendous business people, right here in our backyard, have invaluable lessons that can help each of us create our future. Here is what I have gleaned:
First, every leader is challenged daily with negative thoughts: attacks from the outside and inside. These attacks can cause us to respond with anger, frustration or revenge; yet the great leaders understand that “controlling your emotions” is essential for success. Therefore, you never start down the slippery slope of negativity. Interestingly, a real leader will encounter more negative attacks than anyone else. The more responsibility, the greater the authority, the more attacks you will have to fend off.
Tip: Be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Second, you cannot be a good leader and make everyone happy. Happiness is a personal condition and responsibility; leaders look at outcomes which bring lasting happiness, not stimulating emotions. So if you find people who are not pleased with a great leader that’s because that leader knows where he/she is going and realizes that making everyone happy is not their responsibility. People get their feelings hurt and then start complaining about the leader (recall point number one). Again the greater your leadership role, the more people will think it is your responsibility to make them happy or take care of them.
Tip: The distractions grow dim when your eyes are focused on the target.
Third, the moral and ethical values of the leader never waiver. These leaders know who they are and what makes them tick. They stay true to their character. People with discernment can recognize leadership instantly, people with no discernment have to try and bring value-based leaders down because they cannot stand on their own character. This is the personal accountability issue that I believe to be the number one issue in our society. Examine closely all of the things we face in society today, tie that in with personal accountability to those issues and think how many of them could be solved if each and every one of us stepped up to the plate.
Tip: Personal accountability is THE best medicine for society to have any hope of correcting itself. Quit blaming and wanting others to do for you what you can do and should do for yourself.
Fourth, the positive energy of a leader is contagious. Their vision is crystal clear and the number one problem they have is they see the future with such clarity, it’s hard for them to stay in the present. A visionary leader lives five years in advance and the people around them tend to feel like they will never catch up. Great managers and implementers surround a good leader, for they are the people who make the vision a reality. A real leader will cast a vision that “resonates with the souls of people.” When this happens, great things are accomplished. Remember Kennedy’s vision for the space program?
Tip: The people will perish without vision – cast it well.
Fifth, though leaders assume responsibility and accomplish more than others every day, they set aside time daily to read great books. Almost all the information of the world is written. You cannot succeed by buying experience, it’s too costly – true growth and learning comes from the experience of others through reading. This one characteristic is the only virtue that is consistent with all successful leaders. They all continue to develop their minds by reading.
Tip: Seek wisdom. Knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing. You can have all the knowledge in the world about something, but wisdom only comes with time and the application of that knowledge.
Every day leaders put on their battle armor – they pull their sword, put up their shield and take on the fights at every tick of the clock while remaining focused, positive and energetic even in the face of adversity. The great leader, the one who “gets it” will stick out like a sore thumb. Congratulations to you if you fit into this category. And if you are following someone with these traits, hold on to your hats because you’re in for an exciting ride!
Plan your course, stay focused and most importantly this time of year remember to take time and count your blessings. Remember, “dogs don’t bark at parked cars,” and they never bite a moving one. True leaders are always on the move and don’t spend much time listening to people’s barking and complaining.