Everybody be yo’self

Although I have personalized this, I have give credit to Dan Rockwell for this post. Dan’s leadership blog sets a high standard for me, but it is very much what I would like my blog to be. You can find a link to his original post at the end of this post.


Jim Parker, former CEO of Southwest Airlines, was once asked for his favorite advice. He said, “Be yourself.”

This may not seem like very exciting advice, but when a leader with experience leading during difficult times gives advice, you should pay attention.

There is great power in “Be yourself.” The song “I Am A Child of God” describes the core of my identity, both as an individual and as a leader. Everything else, I hope, builds on that.

Dan Rockwell, in his Leadership Freak Blog, discussed being yourself. I have added my own thoughts to his.

#1. “Be yourself,” is self-affirming nonsense unless you give yourself in service.

Sammy Davis Jr. made, “I’ve Gotta be Me,” a hit song in 1968.  If you embrace the message of this song, do it in service to others. And Frank Sinatra did it his way, which always seemed pretty selfish to me.

I think Keb’ Mo’s message is better than Sammy’s. See “Everybody Be Yourself” from Sesame Street, or the original album version (sorry, no video).

In the bridge, he sings;

Everybody’s got a will, everybody’s got a way.
Everybody got to listen to what everybody say.
Everybody got a nighttime, everybody got a day.
Everybody’s got to give a little love away.
Everybody’s got to stand up if you’re gonna be free.
Everybody got to know how to live in harmony.

A life lived in service to itself is a colossal waste; a life given in service to others is a life well-lived.

“I’m just being myself” is never a good excuse for poor behavior or failure to lead.

#2. “Be yourself,” stabilizes your leadership in turbulent times.

If you don’t know who you are, you end up tossed in the wind. You lose yourself to the expectations of others. Everyone’s advice seems good.

Being yourself is making forward-facing choices that align with your aspirations, affirm your values and leverage your strengths. And in difficult times, you don’t have to try to remember who you said you were.

#3. Don’t simply, “Be yourself.” Be your aspirational self.

Leadership demands personal growth. A leader who is not growing cannot lead effectively.

Aspiration adds dignity and direction to self-discovery.

Get a picture of who you aspire to become and live up to your aspiration.

Your aspirational story is important. Begin with formative aspects of your story.

  1. What stories do you frequently share about yourself? What do those stories say about you?
  2. How are you like your parents or relatives?
  3. How has adversity shaped you?

Use your story as a beginning, not an end. And don’t be afraid to share your story.

Tip: Include others in the process of self-discovery. What do others see in you? You never know yourself in isolation.

What does Jim Parker’s advice – Be Yourself – mean to you?

What prevents leaders from being themselves?


Read the original blog post here.

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Sharing the spotlight

 

This post originally appeared in The Military Leader. But as every leader knows, leadership is leadership, regardless of where one serves. Most of the posts are not military-specific. This post shares a truth that I have come to appreciate as I have served in various leadership positions, as well as in some high-level following positions, for example on councils and committees. This one is well worth sharing, so please enjoy, learn, and share the spotlight.


Every leadership position comes with its own spotlight. As a leader, you’re the one on stage, you make the decisions, you take responsibility for consequences, everyone is watching and waiting for you to take action. The default expectation is that you will do it on your own and everyone else will follow.

But what happens if you decide not to “do leadership” on your own? What if, instead of spinning inside your own head about what to do next then issuing a decree, you instead brought your team in and asked for their input? What if you said, “Hey guys, here is the situation I’m seeing. This is why it’s important. These are the factors I think are relevant. What am I not seeing? What do you think we should do?”

Would involving them undermine your authority? No.

Would it reveal weakness? No.

Would it take too much time? Not for most of the decisions you face.

On the contrary, when you involve subordinate leaders in the decisions you make, you…

…make them feel valuable and regarded.
…get their buy-in and gain a glimpse of how your impending decision might affect the team.
…reveal their strengths and gaps, which you can note for later development.
…infuse their input, making your decision stronger.
…show them how to lead at the next level.

The notion of the solitary, all-knowing leader is outdated at best. At worst, it is a weak response to the opportunity leaders have to improve the quality of their decisions and develop the team. If leaders can move past the notion that they are the only ones on the stage, the performance will be much better.

mefirst-1


You can read the original post here.

We can all benefit by sharing the spotlight.

Hello, My Name is Bob—and I’m an Egomaniac

I love the concept of servant leadership. I believe that this is applicable in any leadership situation. I have even seen military leadership blogs that have discussed its importance in leading the troops.
Blanchard has made this a focus of many recent posts, and this one really resonated with me. Especially the question about recalibrating oneself.
The original post can be read here.

How We Lead

I want to share a method for getting your ego out of the way and clear your path to becoming a servant leader. There are two sides of the human ego that can cause trouble. One is false pride—when you think more of yourself than you should. When this occurs, you spend most of your time looking for ways to promote yourself. The other is fear—when you think less of yourself than you should. In this case, you spend time constantly trying to protect yourself.

I love to start meetings with an Egos Anonymous session. It is a simple but powerful opening activity with a format similar to one used in many 12-step programs. Individuals stand up, introduce themselves, and then share an example of how they have let their ego get in the way of being their best. For example, I would say, “Hi, I’m Ken, and I’m an…

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