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Monday, November 09, 2009

The Principles of Leadership

Leaders shape the future. Leaders bring change and leaders challenge the status quo. If there is no need for change, there is no need for leadership.

Leadership is a choice. Leadership does not just happen. Leadership is a choice we make to live out a vision and purpose daily.

Leaders are made and not born. Leaders know who they are, understand their unique purpose, strengths and skills. They use who they are to bring their vision into the present.

Leaders live their vision. They become the change that they want to see in the world. They set the example and show the way.

Leaders stimulate conversation. Leadership is about making a difference and driving change which stimulates conversation and debate. The ideas that get talked about are the ones worth talking about.

Leaders understand that character matters. Character establishes the foundation for trust. Without trust you cannot lead.

Leaders invest in themselves. Leaders take care of their spiritual, emotional, mental and physical needs.

Leaders are results focused. Leaders initiate and make things happen.

Leaders inspire. Leaders cannot achieve their visions alone. They inspire others to come alongside and participate in the journey.

Leaders leave a legacy. Success is what we do for ourselves whilst legacy is what we do for others. The legacy of  leaders is what they do for others and how they have invested in and developed others.

The Importance of Mentors

It is interesting to see the importance which the US Government places on mentoring young people - see, http://www.nationalmentoringmonth.org/  and this video:


Life's Rewards are Directly Proportional to the Efforts We Make

"There are a lot of people in this world who believe there's a huge gap between what they would like to do and what they are able to do," says Peyton Manning, the 2008 National Football League Most Valuable Player. "And I just don't understand that, because if you don't stretch, you cannot grow. And if you don't grow then others are going to pass you by."

"You have to decide: do you want to make things happen, or do you want to watch things happen. And I've found that people who watch things happen are usually left wondering what happened."

"Success changes as surely as the seasons do. It's a journey and the goals that we reach correspond directly to the distances that we're willing to go. In my opinion, our rewards are directly proportional to the efforts that we make. It's about not quitting at quitting time. The way I see it, the greatest risk isn't in taking the wrong action. It's in letting our fears prevent us from acting at all."

Get a Life!: Leadership Lessons from White House Fellows

White House Fellows have been a select group since the programme began in the late 1960s. Many of them either were or became among the nation’s top leaders. Colin Powell was an early fellow and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s senior medical correspondent, was a fellow from 1997-98. Some of their insights on leadership are captured in Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows: Learn How To Inspire Others, Achieve Greatness and Find Success in Any Organization by former Fellow Charles Garcia.
Here are two:
  • There's more to life than work. Great leaders are fueled by strong and supportive relationships with the people they love, regular exercise and setting aside time for reflection. Doris Kearns Goodwin (White House Fellow 1967-68), presidential historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, concluded that those who live the richest lives manage to achieve a healthy balance of work, love and play. "To commit yourself to just one of those spheres without the others is to leave open an older age filled with sadness, because once the work is gone, you have nothing left," Goodwin said.

  • Put your people first. To be a great leader you need to attend to your people with a laserlike focus. Mitchell Reiss (White House Fellow 1988-89) has seen a leader's focus on people from National Security Adviser and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. At a picnic for National Security Council staff and families, Powell thanked Reiss’ wife for allowing Reiss to work the hours that he worked at the NSC. Reiss recalled, "That very brief but very personal interaction with Powell had an extraordinary impact on her. After he left, she turned to me and said, 'You better do a good job for that man. If you need to stay late at work, I will never complain.' That's the sort of transformative impact that leadership can have.”