Punishing others is punishing work

“Punishing others is punishing work.”

—John Heider, The Tao of Leadership

Image of a judge's gavel

Image from Flickr by slgckgc

How often do you play the role of judge or jury in your personal or professional life?

How often are you on the receiving end of judgement and criticism?

What are the benefits and costs of being right and making others wrong?

In the arenas of organizational leadership, criminal justice, and even the family unit itself, punishment is rarely effective in controlling behavior, and fear is a horrible teaching strategy. It is exhausting, and sucks the life out of everyone involved.

EXERCISE:

What alternative and empowering strategies might you use to produce the behaviors and attitudes that will benefit your world?

Aim at nothing and you hit it every time

“Aim at nothing and you will hit it every time. Know where you are going and you can take anyone with you.”

—Ken Davis, Motivational/Inspirational Speaker

Today’s quote, for me, is about leadership. It points to the critical factor of having a vision for the future, and articulating your compelling message to others within your community, to garner their support and join you on the journey.

When we aim at nothing we get just that, every time.

EXERCISE:

What work do you need to do to sharpen your aim and clarify your personal and professional direction? With whom will you share the message? Who will you invite to join you on the journey?

If You Think You’re Tops

“If you think you’re tops, you won’t do much climbing.”

—Arnold Glasow, 20th Century American Businessman

In his 2001 classic business book, Good To Great, Jim Collins and his team of researchers found distinct patterns of behavior that drove leading companies to excel.

One key characterization was Level 5 Leadership, demonstrated by:

  • Extreme personal humility
  • Intense professional will
  • Shunning the spotlight of celebrity
  • Channeling ambition toward the goal of building something great
  • Setting up others for success
  • Consistent, diligent effort and honesty

EXERCISE:

How would the development and engagement of your own Level 5 Leadership efforts keep you climbing? How would it support your personal and professional “Good to Great” journey?

 

A Pessimistic General

“I never saw a pessimistic General win a battle.”

—Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th President of the United States

Image of Dwight D. Eisenhower

What battles are you fighting in your personal or professional lives? Along with optimal training and the best equipment possible, Eisenhower advises us to bring a “Can Do,” optimistic attitude to win the day.

All students of leadership would agree that articulating a hopeful and positive future is essential to engender the buy-in and alignment of our troops, family, and teams.

If the phrase, “What we think about comes about” is true, who would ever follow a reluctant, half-hearted, pessimistic leader anywhere? After all, they aren’t even sure they want to go themselves.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can you be an optimistic “General,” leading yourself and others within your communities to a better future?

The Shortest Distance

“The shortest distance between two points is under construction.”

—Noelie Altito, Poet

Image of orange construction cones on a curved road

Image from Flickr by Aftab Uzzaman

Here in Michigan, we joke about how we have only two seasons – winter and construction. There is rarely a straight line from Point A to Point B, and anywhere you go usually involves lots of orange barrels!

EXERCISE:

As you explore the way between Point A and Point B in your professional and personal projects, consider how you can proactively improve the road conditions by using the finest construction materials possible.

Consider increasing your personal mastery as a leader, manager, coach, and communicator to optimize your construction efforts.

A Leader is one

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

-John Maxwell, American author on Leadership

Image from johnmaxwell.podbean.com

Image from johnmaxwell.podbean.com

I am a big fan of John Maxwell. Over the years, I have read many of his books, and even subscribe to his “Daily Minute with Maxwell” video series, in which he shares his wisdom with tens of thousands around the world.

In a recent video post, he shared today’s quote, a nugget of wisdom which captures three critical attributes of quality leaders.

Leaders:

  1. Have extensive experience and have learned over the years what works and what doesn’t.
  2. Have courage, and demonstrate this through committed action. They walk their talk.
  3. Share and show others in their world how they, too, can pursue their own journey. They pay their life lessons forward through mentoring, teaching, and coaching.

EXERCISE:

How can you more fully know the way, go the way, and show the way to others in your personal and professional communities?

Who plays this valuable role for you? Remember to thank them today!

Leadership is the Bridge

“A life is what we live, a legacy is what we leave, and leadership is the bridge.”

-Jay Goff, Coach, Speaker, Trainer

QC #1020

“The Mighty Mac” Image from Flickr by C. Hanchey

When I Googled the word “Leadership,” 750 million hits came up. Clearly, a lot of folks around the world—including Jay Goff—see great value in this important skill.

When we simplify this widely studied and examined quality, we can agree that it must include speaking about and engendering a desired future in others. The great news today’s quote suggests is that we can all use this bridge to leave a legacy and a lasting difference as we live each day.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can you develop and expand your own leadership abilities to create a more extraordinary life, and leave the personal and professional legacy you desire?

Values Unite Us

“Beliefs divide us, values unite us.”

-Jeff Rasley, Himalayan Trek Organizer & Author

QC #1014

As a student of leadership I have always been interested in what brings communities and organizations together, and what tears them apart. Prior to writing his classic book Good To Great, Jim Collins wrote a well-researched book titled Built to Last. He had studied many organizations in many industries and found that what today’s quote states is true, and highly valuable.

There is no question that values, beliefs, behaviors, norms, and attitudes shared and exemplified within organizations create the culture, and literally attract or repel staff and customers.

Stated simply: United we Stand, Divided we Fall.

EXERCISE:

How can you use the simple insight from today’s quote to help support and strengthen the personal and professional communities you care about the most?

All of us are Smarter

“All of us are smarter than any of us.”

-Douglas Merrill, Organizational Guru

Image from teamworkandleadership.com

Image from teamworkandleadership.com

Today’s quote got me thinking about teamwork and Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. In this leadership fable, Lencioni tells the story of an imaginary technology company struggling to grow and secure new customers.

Three key take-aways from this book will almost certainly make today’s quote true. In most cases, if the group of individuals does not demonstrate these characteristics, there may be good reason for going it alone:

  • Team members engender trust in one another by being vulnerable and open.
  • Healthy teams encourage respectful debate and dialogue to reach optimal decisions.
  • Team environments in which everyone’s ideas and thoughts are considered almost always generate heightened levels of buy-in and mutual commitment.

EXERCISE:

How and where can you foster enhanced teamwork to optimize the collective smarts of the groups with which you work?

Powerful Leadership

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.”

-John Wooden, late UCLA Basketball Coach

Image from en.wikipedia.org

Image from en.wikipedia.org

Would you like to be like you when you grow up? How and when do you set an excellent example for those in your personal and professional world? How happy would you be if your children turned out just like you?

John Wooden was one of the most admired basketball coaches to ever step foot on the court. The impact he had on great players and championships is legendary. Nothing he ever said to his players had more impact than the example he set for himself, as he led his daily life.

EXERCISE:

Consider your answers to the questions asked in the first paragraph. How can you set an even better example to those around you, to become the kind of person and leader you desire to be?