10 Ways To Make Each Day A Leadership Masterpiece
Brian Layer, Brigadier General, United States Army (Retired) knows a few things about leadership. Brian is a West Point graduate who also holds three masters degrees. He twice commanded a brigade in Iraq, and is perhaps the most gifted and humble leader I've ever worked with. Brian now chairs our organizational development practice at N2growth. I've surrendered my column today in favor of a guest contribution by Brian. You'll find his thinking to be crisp, insightful and on point. I'll be back next week, but in the meantime please enjoy this introduction to Brian's work…
Years ago, I picked up a pearl of wisdom from coaching great, John Wooden. Make each day your masterpiece! Living at that level is a powerful and challenging concept. Most of us fall short and it's easy to blame our circumstances and those around us for their distraction. Yet, a leader has a duty to perform at the highest possible level and an honest assessment may reveal days laden with missed leadership opportunities.
The riddle of a leadership masterpiece is the hands of others reveal our artistry. Therefore, we must make their performance and growth our daily focus. How much time do we really spend helping, leading and developing others? That's an important question because it reveals our priorities.
The following daily goals will help assess your performance. You can use them to review your leadership opportunities at the beginning of the day and assess your performance at the end. In time, these goals will become habits and when they do, you may find you are making each day your leadership masterpiece.
- Excel in the moment. Your focused attention is true barometer of your interest. Presence in the moment requires discipline, preparation and empathy.
- Invest in a relationship and build trust. Relationships built on trust hold up in tough conditions. Every interaction alters the well of trust between two people. A wise leader fills the well at every opportunity. Listen!
- Help someone else achieve and grow. The success and growth of others is the legacy of great leadership and worthy of your time, energy, and passion.
- Listen. Take time to listen to a variety of voices. A leader who fails to listen is likely to fail.
- Connect someone to your vision, mission, and priorities. Every organization has noise and distortion. A leader's clarity sets the course, builds confidence and saves time. Never miss an opportunity to tie another's effort to the greater purpose.
- Thank someone. Expressing gratitude is an essential leadership task. The two most powerful words in a leader's vocabulary are thank you.
- Prepare for the known and study for the unknown. Adequate preparation allows you to excel in the present. Yet, every leadership environment is uncertain and the unexpected will demand great leadership too. Education is the best hedge against uncertainty.
- Prepare for an important decision. Charisma makes you interesting, good decisions make you effective. They spring from preparation, wisdom and timing and are the proof of thoughtful leadership. Remember, deciding what not to do is also your responsibility.
- Leverage white space. Avoid the trap of filling every minute of your calendar. Leaders need white space to respond to unexpected opportunities and issues. Better to commit to less and deliver more than to promise and not come through.
- Grow physically, mentally, spiritually. Making each day a masterpiece takes stamina. Leadership challenges are unpredictable and you need strength to face them when they arise. Get stronger today for an uncertain tomorrow.
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