Confession time, again. I’ve been blogging about leadership for over two years now, and just recently read (listened to, actually) John Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.
The laws Maxwell lays out are concise and incredibly insightful. I would encourage you to pick up a copy today and check it out, after you finish reading this post.
The fifth law Maxwell shares, The Law of Addition–Leaders Add Value by Serving Others, grabbed my attention.
If you are reading this because you want to grow in your leadership influence (I’m writing this because I want you to grow in your leadership influence, btw), then take a moment today to ponder this law.
You make an impact on those around you not by how well you speak or plan, but by the value you add to the lives of those you lead. Now that’s no excuse to speak or plan poorly, but learning to live by the law of addition helps you grow as a leader.
Speak truth into tough situations.
Be the smiling face willing to answer questions.
Send a note of encouragement.
Find ways to add value to those you lead. Get to know them, their families, their priorities, their worries, and their dreams. When you make an effort to make their lives better, the return is incredible.
Don’t believe me? Take a moment to think of a great leader you know. I’m sure big names and authors come to mind, but chances are you remember a teacher or coach who went the extra mile with you. They made an effort to add value to your life by serving you, and you will remember them forever because of it.
You have a great opportunity today to add value to those around you. Make the most of it!
If you’re reading this near the original publishing date, I’ve got some good news: Lessons from the Farm is coming in April. Over the past two years, some of the best response I have seen has come from the Lessons from the Farm series. So, over the next few weeks, you might want to check out a few of the past lessons. Here are some of my favorites:
Today, let’s shift gears a little. I ran across a quote earlier this week and thought I would share it:
The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.Tony Blair
If you have been in leadership for very long at all, you have felt the tension of deciding between yes and no.
As a leader, saying no is not an automatic response, but many times the necessary response after weighing the possibilities. Our role as a leader is to look at the bigger picture and make decisions based on the information presented, as opposed to being able to zero in on a single situation and make a decision based on limited factors.
Parents know this struggle. Our child comes to us, wanting a toy/snack/prize/drink, but we know the looming results. Sometimes it can be exhausting to be the adult in the relationship, but the truth remains–someone has to be willing to say no.
I know for most people I don’t have to say the following, but for someone I do: Saying no all the time is bad leadership. Beware of being the person who never says yes. As someone who battles the balance, learn to say yes and pursue the adventure.
Today, you may be presented with an opportunity. It may be a great opportunity. It may be a mediocre opportunity. Do you have the wisdom to discern between the two, and the courage to give the right answer, not the easy one?
This year I got a daily desk calendar with leadership quotes. It’s been interesting to see the different quotes over the past two months. Some of the pages remain on my desk, making an appearance when I want to remember a quick lesson or share some encouragement with a friend. Other pages are not so lucky.
Several quotes hone in on a particular theme, one which I have been spending extra time pondering lately, and they make regular appearances in my reviews. So, today, I thought I would share one.
Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response to the error that counts.Nikki Giovanni
The past year has been full of lessons for me, but mistakes are something to which I keep returning. I am realizing over time the necessity of mistakes. I have gone through seasons in my life where I have been afraid to act out of fear of a mistake, and that missed the point. I have gone through seasons where I make mistakes, learn from them, and grow as a result.
Mistakes, as quoted above, are a fact of life. Everyone makes mistakes. You make mistakes. I make mistakes. Our heroes make mistakes. The question then comes down to: are we willing to make the change necessary to correct the mistake the next time around?
I don’t view this as a license to live by the mantra “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission”, but even that mantra is necessary on occasion.
If I can teach my children, student leaders, or adults one thing lately, it is that mistakes will happen. Mistakes have to happen. The magnitude and impact of the mistakes can be mitigated, but mistakes are natural.
We should not live in fear of making mistakes. We should live in fear of not learning from the mistakes we will inevitably make. The subtle shift provides remarkable freedom.
What’s holding you back in life right now? What action are you not taking for fear of making a mistake? What if you lived by the mantra that making a mistake is not the worst thing that can happen to you, but making a mistake and not learning from it is the worst thing that can happen to you?
On Tuesday I wrote about learning from everyone, and I got some good response from it. If you missed it, click here to read it.
Shortly after posting, I had a conversation that centered around the concept of the post, specifically what makes a great leader.
So, what do you think? What makes someone a great leader? I have a theory (obviously).
A leader never stops learning.
But who would argue with that? Someone who views themselves as a leader would likely agree rather easily that learning is essential for surviving.
The difference between an average leader and a great leader comes in where learning originates.
A great leader views everything as a growth opportunity.
A great leader understands learning opportunities are all around us. An average leader assigns learning to a few specific realms (classroom, books, etc.) and rarely learns outside of those.
Great leaders (like John Maxwell) are willing and ready to learn from anything and anyone. We never know where leadership lessons will originate, but great leaders learn from everything.
The danger we all face, regardless of our age, is limiting learning to locations. We can learn leadership everywhere, but that’s no excuse to sit back and wait. Leadership growth is also a pursuit. Read books, listen to podcasts, subscribe to blogs (convenient, right?), talk with other leaders, ask more questions, and observe dynamics around you.
The world is our leadership classroom, are you ready to learn?
We are one month into the New Year. At the beginning of January I posted how I love the momentum a New Year brings. Today, I thought we would check in to see how you’re doing after the first 30 days.
Carey Nieuwhof has become a leader in the ministry leadership space, and I found this post on his blog: 7 Reasons You New Year’s Resolutions Go Up in Flames and How to Change That.
I think evaluating is a key part of leadership, so if you set some goals on January 1 and aren’t making progress toward them, maybe it’s time to reevaluate and see what you need to do to make some progress.
One down. Eleven more to go. Let’s make progress this year.
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