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Sep 1
The "Self-Made" Trap of Leadership

After my post about gratitude, it was clear to me that there was nothing limiting me from being appreciative.  I understand how important it is and that appreciation is an unlimited resource.  So why aren't I and perhaps you using gratitude more often to lubricate our organizations?

The answer is that there is a trap at play here.  I call it the "self-made" trap.  Successful people and often leaders, arrive at their success because they took initiatives and risks and were tenaciously driven and focused on reaching their goal.  Most leaders don’t find themselves in a leadership position by chance but get there through their own talent, skills, effort and often will.  Leaders are often self-made. This fact makes it easy to slide from a position of gratitude into a sense of entitlement. This is especially common among leaders where everyone in the organization is seeking to please, praise and admire the woman or man at the top. However, as noted in a post on SlowLeadership, be careful about the “self-made” trap.

“Macho entrepreneurs boast of being "self-made," but it's a lie. None of us can make ourselves. How much of what you are today is due solely to your own efforts?  Not your birth, not your clothes, not your food, not your education, or even your ability to speak and write and read your native language.  People taught you how to do your job.  Others helped you win promotion and made your income and standard of living possible.  Still others made the car you drive and the house you live in. Are you "self-made?" Don't be ridiculous. It's not possible.”

All of us havegratitude appreciation leadership teachers, mentors, coaches, family and friends that have inspired us shaped us and led us. My experience is that most leaders have been guided and trained by another leader. An effective leader will always appreciate the contribution and effort of those around them.










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Aug31
Gratitude is the Lubrication of Leadership
I found Dr. Ellen Weber’s post “A Time to Thanks” quite thought provoking. I had been thinking about this same topic and the importance that gratitude should play in all aspects of my life – business, family, community and everyday interactions.
Dr. Weber wrote:

“If you are like me … you get too busy at times … and when schedules swamp us… we tend to forget to  thank people around us.”

Dr. Weber then went on to express appreciation in several ways.

 In my experience gratitude is the lubrication that makes leadership run smoothly. It softens criticism, buffers conflicts and smooths and cools contention. THe least educated auto mechanic knows that without lubricants, a vehicle cannot run despite a powerful engine, the best tires adn aerodynamic design. Liekwise, your organziation - despite its power, will break down and fail without the lubrication of gratitude.grand prix 2.jpg






As leaders, our resources of time and money are limited.  However, our ability to express gratitude, appreciation and encouragement is only limited by our willingness. 

Say "thanks" for the simplest effort.  There is no scarcity of appreciation if you will simply apply it liberally. What you will find is that as you lube your organzization with gratitude and appreciation is results. Goals will be met. People will be empowered. You willl be followed.

 

Apr20
Leading Through Change
A post by Phil Gerbyshak on things to think about if your organization loses it leadership is worth thinking about. Are you empowering your people to lead? If you or other leaders suddenly left your organization, would it hurt or help? What have you done to assure that your organization can continue if you leave?

These are all questions worth your consideration. Phil offers some insight on things a company can do before and after a leader leaves.

I believe that the best leaders will empower,inspire and train others in the organization to lead - thus softening the blow of any departure. This may make things easier but the best leaders are also personalities that unite people in a great cause. That is often hard to replace.

This week, Sandy Weill, Chairman at Citigroup retired after spending 20 years building the largest financial institution in America. The Washington Post reported that

“At times fighting back tears, Weill, who is 73, said that it was hard to leave the bank because "the people in Citigroup are really our best friends ... (who) worked together, had a common vision, built something together."

Unity, vision, building together, friends.......I am sure there was a succession plan and Citigroup will continue to succeed but Sandy will be missed.

What are your thoughts and ideas on leadership change?
Nov18
Women Leaders Offer Insight ...part two
The second installment of highlights from a cover story by Newsweek a few weeks past entitled “How Women Lead."   Six more insights in to life and leadership.

"The thing that has always stayed with me is an axiom my dad gave me, which was, adversity breeds character. How you deal with the tough times really defines your character, who you are."
Stacey Snider’ Chairman, Universal Pictures

"I think most people like to work in environments where their ideas are respected. But you can't fake it. You have to really care what other people think. You can always tell who's paying lip service."
Shelly Lazarus, Chairman and CEO, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide

"The best advice I've ever gotten is to set goals and believe I can achieve them…. It's applicable to everything I've tried to do, from school days to setting the course of my career. Believe in yourself, and then move toward your goal."
Stephanie Bell-Rose, President, The Goldman Sachs Foundation

“In any field, you've got to go out and practice, get to know your subject. You've really got to get the facts and know your stuff.”
Eileen Collins, NASA Astronaut, Commander, Space Shuttle Discovery

“You need a support circle. If it doesn't exist, then you have to create it.”
Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem

“Women moving up in their careers often feel they have to be more aggressive, be more like men. They ought to find their own voice.”
Judith Rodin, President, The Rockefeller Foundation
Nov14
Think to Thank
As I was  reading yesterday, I came across an interesting bit of teaching.  While it was not related to leadership, its application was crystal clear.  It was simply three words...but three words that are powerful. 

"Think to Thank"

That is right.  Three words that remind us as leaders to show gratitude and appreciation for a job well done.  Oh and while we are thinking about thanking, don't stop at thinking to thank for just a job well done.  Think to thank people.  Remember, your organization is not a conglomeration of "jobs well done" but a team of people.  It is certainly people - their talents, thier comitment, their dedication to you and your team - that make your organization a success. They may not always be perfect.  They may make mistakes.  But your appreciation for their efforts as well as their willingness to grow and to learn will ensure their loyalty.  It is three easy words.  If you will "Think to Thank" your influnece will be boundless.

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