If you regularly read my blog, you know I am a leadership development junkie. I can’t get enough input. Whether I am attending conferences, reading books, or listening to podcasts, I devour anything I believe will help me be a better leader.
Chances are, this describes you as well. When I did my 2011 Reader Survey, I discovered that my readers have an enormous appetite for growing their leadership:
Several years ago I went through a fairly significant examination of life, work, family, art and where it all was headed. I had just ended a pretty intense season in which I found myself spread thin and a little over-extended, and I knew that I couldn’t sustain the pace indefinitely. Still, it was a critical juncture in my life and career. I was looking for some insight on how to stay engaged and keep moving forward.
During that season, I was in a meeting in which a South African friend asked, “Do you know what the most valuable land in the world is?” The rest of us were thinking, “Well, probably the diamond mines of Africa, or maybe the oil fields of the middle east?”
Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of hosting the Chick-fil-A Leadercast Backstage program. I interviewed several notable authors as they came off the stage, including John Maxwell, Sir Ken Robinson, Dan Cathy, Suzy Welch, Frans Johansson, and several others. I thought I would share these with you over the next several weeks.
This one is with Seth Godin. He talked about several topics, including:
Education comes in odd ways. Most of us think you can only learn from a great leader. I’m here to tell you that you can learn just as much from a bad one—maybe more.
This is fortunate for me, because I’ve certainly had more bad bosses than good ones. You probably have, too. These lessons were certainly more painful, but they taught me what not to do, which is just as important as what to do.
During my coaching sessions at EntreLeadership Master Series in Orlando, there were a few themes that kept popping up. One of those was leaders having problems with their teams not going the extra mile. Not taking on more responsibility. The first instinct is that you hired lazy people. In many cases that is true.
But there’s a combination that I’ve found that explains why so many team members are so hesitant. When a leader is perceived to be a bully, or condescending, or leads with fear, then I find that they tend to have a team that, in their own words, “won’t go the extra mile.”
Many words in the English language are difficult. In fact, there’s even a Dictionary of Difficult Words. But none are more difficult than these: “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?”
Many otherwise articulate people seem to have great difficulty in spitting these words out. They hem and haw. They stutter. They may get something close out, but they have a hard time slowly and deliberately saying these ten simple words.
About a week ago, Gail and I returned from a 30-day sabbatical. It was one of the best things we have ever done. We spent sixteen days in the mountains of Buena Vista, Colorado, several more days in Portland, and the rest of the time at our home outside of Nashville, Tennessee.
In April, I stepped down from my position as CEO of Thomas Nelson. (Though I am no longer in active management, I remain the Chairman of the Board.) I felt God calling me into a new chapter, and I wanted to take time to fully explore what it was going to look like.
What if work wasn’t just work? What if work was a vehicle to live and share a bigger purpose?
I believe there’s a flawed perception in our society that in order to live a life of purpose we have to leave our jobs and go solve world hunger, feed the homeless, move to Africa, or start a charity.
In managing a big project, have you ever felt like you were trying to “herd cats” to get everyone working together and moving in the same direction? If so, you’re not alone.
Several years ago, the Fallon agency of Minneapolis created a television commercial called “Cat Herders” for computer giant EDS. It’s one of my all time favorite commercials.
If there is one thing people in our generation hate to do, it is to wait. And why should we? We can Google questions rather than wait for an answer. We can order shoes online rather than suffering the long weekend lines at the retail store. We can even book reservations ahead of time rather than waiting for a table at our favorite establishment.
But God doesn’t operate any faster in the twenty-first century than He did in the first. And so while we rush ourselves, we can’t rush God. In fact, much of life is spent waiting.
What does marriage have to do with leadership? If you are married, everything. Nothing will undermine your effectiveness as a leader faster than a bad marriage. Your marriage is a living example of what it is like to be in a close relationship with you. This is why it is so important that leaders get this right if they want to influence others.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that is very me-centered. Gail and I often talk to people who are frustrated with their spouses. Most of this stems from the fact that they are not getting what they think they need or what they think they should be getting.