When I was CEO of Thomas Nelson, a consultant called me out for how little I smiled. I didn’t know I was scowling, but I was setting the wrong mood for my team. After that I not only learned to smile, I learned five reasons it matters—for you and others.
Welcome to Season 4, Episode 3 of the This Is Your Life podcast. Stu McLaren is filling in for my regular cohost Michele Cushatt. In this episode, we discuss why learning to lead means learning to follow.
If you want to be an effective leader, it’s critical that you first learn to be an effective follower. It sounds counterintuitive, but without the character and skill formation that comes from learning to follow, you’re almost guaranteed to be a poor leader.
Listen to the Audio
Pollsters say reading is in decline. As an author and former publishing executive, the statistics make me wince. But I’m optimistic for another reason.
Why? A readership crisis is really a leadership crisis. And for people who know how to respond, crisis is just another way of saying opportunity.
Follow the major news stories on crises in business, politics, diplomacy, whatever, and it’s impossible to miss that most are crises of leadership. Unsurprisingly, we see the same failures and mistakes over and over. Here are the ten I most often notice.
Donald Miller’s newest book, Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy, is out and off to a great start. I can see why. It’s his best book so far.
I’ve known Don for over a decade. He was one of our bestselling authors at Thomas Nelson, during the time I was publisher, president, and later CEO. But more than an author, over time he also became a friend—and a teacher.
Don told us about his relationship with God in Blue Like Jazz, which went on to become a huge success. Now, Don tells us about his relationship with relationships. And I hope it becomes a huge success too.
I have been in and around the publishing business my entire professional life. So I understand the potential impact of a great book.
In business, the right book at the right moment can tilt the playing field and give you a crucial advantage. These thirty-seven business books have personally made a huge difference for me. In fact, they’re the best I’ve ever read.
Michael and I have been friends for well over a decade. When we met, he was already a good leader. But over the years I’ve watched him grow and become an even better one.
And one of the things I love about Michael is that whatever he’s learning, he’s continually passing along to you.
If you’re like most of Michael’s readers, you want to become a better leader. You want to grow. You want to be more productive. You want to develop your platform. In short, you want to increase your influence. But I have a question for you. Why?
When we think of leaders from America’s revolutionary era, our minds jump to military commanders like George Washington, political organizers like Samuel Adams, and rousing orators like Patrick Henry. In the hierarchy of the Revolution, these men stand atop the loftiest rungs. For good reason.
These men accomplished amazing feats against incredible odds. But they could not have done it alone. Like executives in a successful company, they required the service and sacrifice of others to achieve their goals. They required effective lieutenants—people like Paul Revere.
As a leader, are you investing your best resources in the wrong people? It is easy to see other people making this mistake. It is more difficult to catch yourself doing it.
I’ve been guilty plenty of times. Leaders often make this same mistake in various areas of their lives, but what can you do if you are in this situation?
Click to Listen
The desire to create lasting transformation in the world is what really drives us as leaders, right? Since the news of her death, I’ve been thinking a lot about Maya Angelou. Her legacy offers several valuable insights for living a life of true significance.
The odds were against Angelou in her early years. Her parents divorced when she was three, and she spent several years under the care of her grandparents.
When I started out in my career, the key to success was having the right answers. Those who advanced in their careers the quickest were seemingly the ones who had the most answers.
While this is definitely important in some situations—especially when responding to the people you are accountable to—it is not the key to success as a leader. There is something even more important than having the right answers.