Thoughts To Live By…

Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S INAUGURATION SYMBOLIZED, in part, fulfillment of one of America’s noblest dreams—the dream of racial equality.
Fittingly, President Obama took the oath of office at the same site where Martin Luther King Jr. had given his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech almost 45 years earlier.

An estimated 1.9 million onlookers gathered at the National Mall to witness the historic swearing in of America’s first black president. The spectators came from every corner of the country and every continent of the globe to witness King’s dream on display.

Although the United States cannot claim perfection in race relations, there’s no denying the country has made substantial progress in the 45 years since Martin Luther King Jr. articulated his dream of racial equality.

What made King’s dream so potent? How did his dream mobilize a movement that so radically changed American society?

Reasons why MLK’s dream passed the test:

1) King’s dream was rooted in serving others. Nearly everyone gives assent to the dreams of eradicating poverty, ending war and eliminating racism, but seldom does a man or woman devote his or her life entirely to a cause. To be frank, it’s hard to live for something beyond our petty self-interests.
Throughout his life, Martin Luther King pushed himself beyond a quest for personal gain to seek social justice in America. People bought into his dream, because they bought into the dreamer. They saw his personal sacrifices and rallied to his side.

All too often, leaders fall prey to the trappings of power, and their dreams stray into self-centeredness. King was able to keep his leadership focused on serving society. By seeing himself small, he amplified his dream into an immensely powerful vision for the future.

2) King had a clear strategy for his dream. To expose the evils of racism, King’s central strategy involved mass demonstrations of civil disobedience and emphasized the tactic of nonviolent protest. Civil rights demonstrators were coached not to retaliate when struck, and were taught to shield themselves from blows rained upon them.

At no point were they to fight back against their aggressors.

The strategy worked wonders. Images of defenseless protestors being attacked by police dogs and beaten with nightsticks pricked the conscience of the nation.

The appalling scenes of violence motivated many to enlist in the civil rights movement. Thanks to King’s firm but restrained leadership, the United States was forced to confront the ugliness of racism, yet was spared from widespread race warfare.

3) King paid the price for his dream. Chasing the dream came at a steep price for King. He was arrested more than 20 times on dubious charges, and he was assaulted physically on four occasions. His home was bombed, and he and his family faced countless death threats.

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. paid the ultimate price for his dream when he was assassinated outside of his hotel room in Memphis, TN. Although the man died, the dream lives on. Americans of every color and creed can be grateful for Martin Luther King Jr., and the legacy his dream has given to our country.

(Attend Developing The Leader Within You Workshop on April 29-30 at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel with Maxwell-Certified Trainer Francis Kong. Call 6872614 or 09178511115. You also can e-mail

FROM 1996 to 2007, manager Joe Torre led the New York Yankees to the playoffs every year—winning an astounding 17 series in the post-season. Over those same 12 years, the Los Angeles Dodgers did not win a single playoff series.

This past season, Torre departed New York to coach the Dodgers. The result? The Dodgers won their first post-season series in 20 years, while the Yankees missed the playoffs altogether.

Ask Yankees and Dodgers fans, and they will tell you that Joe Torre’s leadership matters. However, they may not be able to tell you exactly why Joe Torre is an excellent leader. What’s true of the fans in New York and Los Angeles is true for many of us. We experience the effects of leadership without understanding the cause.

In this article, I hope to make plain why the best leaders are the best leaders. In a nutshell, remarkable leaders give their best to their people, and get the best from their people. Let’s look at how this happens.

The best leaders give their best to their people by …

1) Growing

People naturally follow leaders they respect as being more advanced than they are. For this reason, personal growth is directly proportional to influence. If you desire to gain followers, then pay the price of getting better.

To give people your best, you have to elevate your leadership capacity. Consider the metaphor of walking up a narrow staircase—you can only go as fast as the person in front of you. When leaders stop growing, they quit climbing and impede the progress of everyone following them. However, when leaders grow, they ascend the stairs and create space for those behind them to climb higher.

Personal growth involves challenging yourself, and pushing beyond the realm of comfort. When was the last time you did something for the first time? How long has it been since you felt in over your head?

2) Serving

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”
– Albert Einstein

Serving others is an attitude issue. Unfortunately, many leaders operate under a king-of-the-hill mentality. They attempt to pull down anyone above them in order to secure the top spot for themselves. In doing so, they clutch at power, grapple for control of company resources, and strive to dominate others. Seeing relationships as win-lose propositions, they ultimately burn bridges and isolate themselves.

The best leaders take an entirely different approach. Rather than dragging down anyone who threatens their position, they extend a hand to lift the performance of teammates and coworkers. They function with a mindset of abundance as opposed to an attitude of scarcity, and they wield their influence to prop others up rather than to elevate themselves. Over time, they are honored for the contributions they have made to the lives around them.

All leaders serve. Sadly, some serve only themselves. Serving is a motives issue, and the crux of the matter boils down to a simple question: “Who?” Does a politician serve the public or his pocketbook? Does a CEO serve to benefit her shareholders or to support her lifestyle? The best leaders set a tone by serving and prove they are deserving of being out in front.

3) Modeling

Growing leaders have something to share; serving leaders have something to give; modeling leaders have something to show. As VJ Featherstone said, “Leaders tell, but never teach, until they practice what they preach.” The best leaders embody their values. Their passion exudes from every pore and demands respect.

The best leaders get the best from their people by …

1) Listening

The smartest leaders realize the limitations of their wisdom, and they listen to their people in order to capture invaluable insights. However, leaders don’t just listen to gain knowledge, they also listen to give their people permission: Permission to challenge the process, permission to test assumptions; and permission to take risks. Nothing turns off an up-and-coming leader like the deaf ear of a superior. The best leaders don’t simply listen to incoming ideas; they proactively draw them out of their people. They listen actively, not passively.

2) Relating

Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. To touch a heart, a leader has to be open to disclosing his or her identity by sharing personal stories and owning up to professional weaknesses. Mysterious or aloof leaders may be successful decision-makers, but they won’t get the heartfelt loyalty that comes from authentic relationships.

As simple as it sounds, making a person feel known correlates powerfully to their job satisfaction. In fact, Patrick Lencioni lists anonymity as one of the top indicators of a miserable job. Leaders dignify their people by studying their interests, learning about their families, and finding out their hobbies. Conscious of the power of connection, the best leaders refuse to be barricaded inside of an office, and they take responsibility for relating with others on a regular basis.

3) Teaching

Gifted teachers have a way of making students out of disinterested bystanders. The best leaders have an infectious thirst for knowledge, and they take pride in cultivating knowledge of their craft and awareness of their industry. A leader’s teaching ability depends upon ongoing personal growth. As Howard Hendricks said, “If you stop growing today, you stop teaching tomorrow.”

4) Developing

The best leaders understand the differences between training people for tasks and developing people to be better leaders.

The best leaders view their people as appreciable assets and prioritize investing in the talent on their teams.

5) Motivating

After one of my presentations, an audience member approached me who was visibly indignant about my speech. “Why is motivation last on the list?” he demanded. “Well,” I replied, “because if you listen, relate, teach, and develop your people, then they will be motivated!”

Sustained motivation comes by creating the right environment for your people and by doing the right things consistently to nurture them. Consider a flower. It cannot grow in the Arctic; it requires a climate conducive to growth. Yet, even in the right environment, the flower must be planted in hospitable soil, exposed to sunlight, watered and freed of weeds.


The best leaders give their best to their people by …
1. Growing, 2. Serving, 3. Modeling

The best leaders get the best from their people by …
1. Listening 2. Relating 3. Teaching 4. Developing 5. Motivating

Author:  John C. Maxwell
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Salespersons are coached in the power of a first impression. Orators devote hours to opening statements. Journalists are admonished never to bury the lead. Sprinters practice racing out of the starting blocks. Interviewees are taught the importance of their initial handshake with a potential employer.

In leadership, as in many other areas of life, the beginning often determines the end. False starts and weak foundations can be ruinous. Here are five insights to help you start successfully.

How to start successfully

1. Start with yourself.

As Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you want to be in the world.” By starting with yourself, you build the self-confidence needed to attract and inspire others. Leading yourself well is a precursor to accomplishment, and accomplishment earns respect.

In order to make deposits in the lives of followers, you have to have a beginning balance in your leadership account. Start leading by proving your mettle-to yourself and to prospective followers.

2. Start early.

Sadly, many leaders squander their early years and spend the rest of their careers trying to make up for lost time. In leadership, as with finances, decisions made early in life accrue the most interest. When we choose poorly or establish bad habits, we put ourselves in debt.

Then, we must not only repay our loans, but the interest on them as well. On the flip side, when we invest our time and talent wisely from a young age, we reap the benefits of compounding interest on our leadership.

Specifically, where should leaders start? What areas should take precedence at the beginning? From my experience there are 10 things you should do as a leader prior to reaching age 40:

1. Know yourself.

2. Settle your family life.

3. Determine your priorities.

4. Develop your philosophy of life.

5. Get physically fit.

6. Learn your trade.

7. Pay the price.

8. Develop solid relationships.

9. Prepare for the future.

10. Find purpose for your life.

If you’re over 40, it’s never too late to make improvements. Unfortunately, an old dog doesn’t easily learn new tricks. Undoing years of misplaced priorities and poor self-management will take extra effort.

3. Start small.

Don’t expect to understand what it takes to get to the top, just take the next step.

Think big, but start small. Doing so encourages you to get started, and keeps you from being frozen by the magnitude of the vision in front of you. When you accomplish a small step, you gain confidence that you can accomplish the next step.

The success found in starting small comes when you diligently apply the lessons you learn. As my friend, Dick Biggs, has said, “The greatest gap is between knowing and doing.” Commit to mastering the details under your control, and follow through when experience has given you instruction.

4. Start with the end in view.

“Most people spend more time planning their grocery shopping than designing their future.”-Tom James, “Personal Development Coach”

To start with the end in view, you need energy and direction. Let your passion pull you forward, and let your planning give you guidance. In order for passion to be a driving force in your life, you must identify a purpose for you life. To locate your purpose, consider your strengths, interests and past successes. What roles do you find most enjoyable? What brings you the greatest sense of satisfaction? Examine the areas that make you feel strong and angle your career toward them. Also, find people who have been successful in the area of your interest. Listen to them and watch their lives.

For planning to give you direction, you need to write down goals. Goals lend structure to your purpose, and they keep you leading “within the lines.” They focus your action and move you toward your overall vision.

5. Start now.

We exaggerate yesterday, overestimate tomorrow and underestimate today. Embrace action daily. Don’t wait until it’s too late before you begin to pursue the visions implanted in your heart. Make each day your masterpiece; you’ll be surprised where you end up after stringing together a few months of superb days.

I’ll leave you with one final thought:

“How wonderful it is that we need not wait a single minute before starting to improve ourselves and our world.”-Anne Frank

Review: Five steps to starting successfully

1. Start with yourself.

2. Start early.

3. Start small.

4. Start with the end in view.

5. Start now.

Author:  John C. Maxwell
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Boss drives his men, The Leader inspires them..
The Boss depends on authority, The Leader depends on goodwill..
The Boss evokes fear, The Leader radiates love..
The Boss says “I”, The Leader says “We”..
The Boss shows who is wrong, The Leader shows what is wrong..
The Boss knows how it is done, The Leader knows how to do it..
The Boss demands respect, The Leader commands respect..

By: Bill Greer, Chicken Soup for the Veteran’s Soul

July 2020


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