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Who’s the leader?

The person with the fancy title?

The person with the prestigious corner office?

The person with the highest salary?

The person who has been there the longest?

Or is it the person who has the biggest positive influence?

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I hope that your kids do greater things than you ever did.

I hope that the person you coach and mentor goes on to achieve far more than you have.

I hope that your hand-picked successor at work delivers far better results.

I hope that you forge the way for others to follow.

And I hope that they each look back with gratitude, knowing that they couldn’t have done it without your support and guidance.

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When you’re watching sporting contests and comparing the expertise of each coaching team, it’s tempting to imagine the pre-game words of the coaches and think that the side that had the best motivational speech won.

These days, that’s rarely the case.

The team that wins is the one that is best prepared for the contest.

It’s the team that has worked the hardest on the training track.

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they-dont-care-how-muchLeaders these days need to know a lot of things.

They need strong business acumen, to be experts in their field, to be able to delegate and outstanding emotional intelligence.

But as I look back over my career, there are things that the best leaders I have worked with knew that go beyond what you can learn in university or from a great book.

Here are 10 things that every leader should know: Read the rest of this entry »

Leadership-isnt-barkingOs Hillman tells the story of a rider on horseback, who many years ago, came across a squad of soldiers who were trying to move a heavy piece of timber.

A corporal stood by, giving lordly orders to “Heave.”

But the piece of timber was too heavy for the squad.

“Why don’t you help them?” asked the quiet man on the horse, addressing the important corporal.

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There will be times when you notice someone who hasn’t delivered at an expected level.

Or perhaps they have made a dramatic mistake or have been unmotivated for quite some time.

In each of these coaching opportunities, you have a choice.

You could: Read the rest of this entry »

Young Tom was chatting to his mentor, Dwyer, about his future career options.

“I think that I could be a great leader one day!” Tom proudly announced.

“OK, well I think that I could be a bullfrog one day,”  responded Dwyer.

Dwyer often came out with seemingly absurd statements and they continually frustrated and confused his younger protegé.

“Don’t be ridiculous, I really think that I could be a leader one day, you could never be a bullfrog,” retorted Tom.

“If you can think that you can be a leader, why can’t I think that I could be a bullfrog?”

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Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), political and ...

Mohandas Gandhi (Photo via Wikipedia)

In 1931, Gandhi was invited to speak to the British Parliament.

As Gandhi was one of the most vocal supporters of Indian independence, his visit was greeted with suspicion and caution by a parliament who strongly opposed Gandhi’s passion.

The great leader stood with no notes and spoke for two hours.

He spoke eloquently and with passion, and when he finished, his audience stood and applauded as one.

It was an extraordinary moment for a truly remarkable man.

Later, an English journalist asked one of Gandhi’s assistants how he was able to stand with no notes and speak to brilliantly for such a long time.

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Leadership guru and best-selling author, John C. Maxwell once said, “Leaders must know the way, go the way and show the way.”

It’s a great reminder of the responsibilities and challenges that come with leadership.

There can be a temptation as leaders to operate without a clear plan, to be aloof and to ask people to do things that you would never do, but that’s not how the best leaders operate.

So, if you’re a leader (or are aspiring to be one), let me ask you a few questions:

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No matter how much you want to, you can’t force everything.

You can’t force people to agree with you.

You can’t force someone to see things from your perspective.

You can’t force people to share your values.

You can’t force your boss to give you a promotion.

You can’t force someone to believe in God.

So what do you do?

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