“When I talk to managers, I get the feeling that they are important.
When I talk to leaders, I get the feeling that I am important.”
Alexander Den Heijer
Managers talk AT you.
Leaders talk WITH you.
Leaders also continue to reinforce the feeling of importance you receive from them with every interaction. It’s never a one and done. It is a constant ongoing dialogue bolstered through every conversation and engagement. With great leaders, YOU are always the most important person in the room.
It’s incredible how powerful a positive mindset can be. I know people who can change the entire room based on their attitude and outlook. Nothing stops them, slows them down, or stands in their way. These types of people are the ones that can truly create a “1 + 1 = 3” kind of world.
The question is, are you a force multiplier or a divider? Does the room grow or shrink when you walk in?
“Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people that they lead.”
Serving others is the highest and most authentic calling of any individual, which means that each of us embodies the ability to be effective and impactful leaders. When we put others first and demonstrate through our actions what we value, we set and create a positive example for others. Influence is the essence of leadership, and I can think of no more significant impact than to be known for living an genuine life of service.
However, serving others comes from the heart and can’t be faked or “acted.” One of my all-time favorite quotes is from St. Francis of Assisi. “It’s no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.” It doesn’t matter what you say, what words you use, or how much you preach. The actions you embody on a moment by moment basis are the outward manifestation of your principles and values.
It doesn’t matter what you say; you lead with your actions and behaviors. Rather than try and live up to some ideal espoused through words, focus on developing your behaviors, and let your actions do the talking for you. It is far easier to find words to match your efforts than to find actions that match your words.
So today, find someone to serve. Please don’t do it because others are watching. Please don’t do it because it is the “right thing to do.” Please don’t do it because you want to be a leader.
Find someone to serve because the essence of our shared humanity is the ability to give ourselves away. Do it because that is why you were born. Be influential today…
“Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.”
Close your eyes and think of the most impactful person in your life. What did they do that made such an impression? What were the specific behaviors or actions they demonstrated? Do you find yourself doing these same things for others?
If you could choose to tell someone you loved them or show them, which would you choose? Which one will matter more ten years from now…
Last Tuesday, I had the incredible opportunity and blessing to share the day with two great friends and colleagues, David Childs and David Lillard of Spartan Planning and Branding. They are in Greensboro, NC, and were putting the final touches on their 2nd Annual Leadership Symposium aptly named “Spartan Pro Day.” Last year’s inaugural event was a resounding success, selling out and maximizing their venue’s capacity.
At the beginning of the year, David Childs asked me to be one of the speakers at this year’s event on the topic of leadership, and I was both thrilled and honored to play a small role in their vision of building leaders.
Year 2 was all set to build on last year’s success with space reserved at a venue twice the size, and present company excluded, an incredible roster of speakers. But, as the year progressed, the implications of a world forever changed by the pandemic began to influence their plans and thinking.
It would have been so easy for them to write off 2020, to say, “due to the state of the world and the restrictions on gathering, we are going to postpone Spartan Pro Day until we can produce the event safely.”
However, they both realized that there has never been a more critical time to highlight the impact of positive leadership and share content that would be highly powerful and meaningful to their constituents. So they did what great leaders do in a time of crisis and uncertainty. They pivoted to a new direction and held true to their vision of putting on a conference enabling leaders to “Grow Personally. Grow Professionally. Make A Difference.”
Spartan Pro Day is now a virtual event being held over the next three weeks, AND it is FREE OF CHARGE for anyone that would like to participate and grow.
Leadership is having a vision, and then doing whatever it takes to make that vision become a reality. As John Maxwell writes, “leadership is influence,” and Spartan Pro Day was an incredible influence on me, and I am grateful to have played a small role in bringing their vision to life.
If you are interested in enrolling, check out the link below. As a sports fan and a Carolina Panthers fan, I particularly loved the stories shared by Mick Mixon in his “Tales from the Press Box” session.
“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flow charts; it is about one life influencing another.”
John C. Maxwell
The most important thing is how you treat people. It is all about you treat others. Leadership is about influence. Period.
The minute you depend on title, position, or flow chart, you have lost real leadership influence. At the end of the day it is more than just the output of the effort that matters. It is about helping others find success…
“Your influence on people and situations comes from your ability to be a role model.”
Capt. John Havlik
I know that I still have behaviors and actions that come from seeds planted over 20 years ago by significant role models and mentors in my life. Those individuals taught me things not through explicit words, but just through their daily actions. They demonstrated servant leadership through their actions and in turn have had a lifelong impact on me.
Who are the role models in your life that have inspired and motivated you? What was it that they did that made an impact on you? Have you taken any of those examples and built them into your life and actions? Your daily actions and examples are planting seeds that you might never see grow but could be incredibly impactful on the lives of others…
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lit the flame within us.”
During this season of Thanksgiving it is easy to remember the THINGS we are grateful for but what about the PEOPLE who have touched our lives? Sometimes the person we are today is a result of someone sharing a spark with us years ago, sometimes it can be as recent as yesterday. Regardless, it is the people in our lives that create the energy for each of us to go forward and become better selves and servants of others.
Thinking about the quote from yesterday, I am challenged today because I know that while I am tremendously grateful for people the people who have rekindled my spark when I am run down, that I don’t do nearly a good enough job making that thanksgiving an active reality and expressing my appreciation to them.
Being deeply grateful makes me feel better. Sharing that gratitude actively makes others feel better. I like the latter option a lot better. Something to really think and reflect on during this season of Thanksgiving.