Do you know a leader whose career is stalled? Maybe you know someone who seems to have tremendous untapped potential, but he or she is having trouble realizing this potential. Have you ever met a leader who struggles to get traction? Perhaps one of these descriptions fits you.
A year ago, I released The Heart of Leadership. I’m extremely thankful for the response this book has generated! I believe it struck a cord for one simple reason - the ideas described in the book, when applied, help leaders thrive.
If you know someone like I described in the opening paragraph, this book may be the key to unlock their potential. I also believe the principles from the book can help every leader increase their influence and effectiveness.
The sub-title of the book says it all… Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow. Isn’t that what we all want? Who wants to be the leader people follow because they have to?
To celebrate the first anniversary, I’m going to write a few posts over the coming weeks recapping the big ideas behind the book. Today, I’ll give you a sneak peek of some of those ideas. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a nugget here that will serve you on your journey – I hope so!
Leaders are different – Leaders see the world differently from followers. This doesn’t make leaders better, but it does create the foundation for success. If you see the world as everyone else does, you will always struggle as a leader.
Ultimately, leadership character determines our success as a leader – Skills are critical for long-term leadership success. However, skills alone will always be insufficient for sustained greatness. Our leadership character bolsters or destroys our leadership. People follow leaders who embody certain traits and attributes. These are the HEART of the book.
Leadership character can be developed – If this were not true, there would have been no reason to write the book. If leadership was merely a function of our DNA, we would just deconstruct the genome and line up the leaders. Lucky for all of us, that is not the case - we can strengthen our leadership character.
If your heart is not right, no one cares about your skills – Leaders who disregard leadership character do so at their own peril. Stated more strongly, to ignore the HEART is a slow march to irrelevance for a leader. If people don’t see the attributes of leadership character demonstrated on a regular basis, you will quickly become a leader in title only.
Few leaders fail for lack of skills; they are too easy to learn – Think about a leader you know who has struggled or failed – was it because he or she couldn’t communicate, or build a team, or allocate resources, or lead a good meeting? If so, shame on them and their organization. You can teach people these skills. You can even Google the answers!
Cultivating leadership character should be our highest priority – On a Tweet Chat to launch the book, I was asked to share the best leadership advice I’d ever been given. Think about that for a moment. What a powerful, thought-provoking assignment. Oh, by the way, for those of you unfamiliar with Twitter, my answer needed to be less than 140 characters. Here’s what I came up with…
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
This statement was made by a very wise man thousands of years ago; his name was Solomon. My desire is to help you follow his advice. More to come…[GLS_Shield]