The Essence of Leadership

The topic of leadership is always popular in business, and in life in general. It’s been a highlight for me to share the seminar stage with some of the greatest leaders in recent history. I’ve met and spoken with people like Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Former First Lady Barbara Bush, Retired General Norman Schwartzkopf, Zig Ziglar, and Rudy Giuliani. During these wonderful times with them, I’ve done my best to keep the mindset of a student. As a dedicated student, I’m always prepared to ask a lot of questions. I try my best to be an intent listener—especially when I’m around people of the above-mentioned stature. They have shared some wonderful concepts during their speeches and during our conversations that have meant a lot to me.

For example, General Schwartzkopf, who commanded our troops during the Persian Gulf War of the early 1990’s, had a great definition of a leader. He said, “A great leader is an average individual who is extremely well-prepared when an incredible event occurs.” If you think about that definition, we’re all pretty much the same in the beginning of our lives as far as being average people. As babies, we all have the same basic mentality and skill levels. How our lives are lived out depends on how we prepare ourselves by developing skill sets and stretching ourselves with new experiences.

Regardless of what you’re doing in life, you’re either leading or following at all times. As a parent, you lead your children. As a spouse, there are times when you take the lead and others when you follow. As an employer you lead your people. Employees follow the leadership of their companies.

But what is it that makes leaders different? Here are 10 key points about leadership:

  1. L          They fall in Love with what they do.
  2. E         They are Enthusiastic.
  3. A         They have the right Attitude. Attitude is everything when it comes to leadership.
  4. D         They have a Desire to learn everything they can about their situation.
  5. E         They Emulate other leaders who are greater than they are.
  6. R         They have the Respect of the people who are following them.
  7. S         They enjoy the Success that leadership brings them.
  8. H         They are Humble about their success—always open to learning more.
  9. I           They have tremendous Imagination to envision themselves in their next position of growth.
  10. P         They develop a burning Passion for life and for what they do.

There are a few kinds of success that don’t require leadership. A very few. Unless you’re convinced that you’ll never need to display leadership, miss no opportunity to develop it.

What is the essence of leadership? It’s the ability to make your followers believe that you possess superior knowledge of the situation, greater wisdom to cope with the unknown, or greater moral force. Unless you seem to have more of these things than the average follower does, they won’t follow you around the first corner.

Superior knowledge of the specific situation you’re involved with must often be acquired on scene. Greater wisdom comes from study that’s tested by experience. Although moral force is also a learned trait, it springs from an inner commitment to greatness that any of us can make.

One of the best examples of leadership I know of comes from Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great was a Macedonian king and great conqueror. At one time, Alexander led a forced march across and hot and desolate plain. On the eleventh day of this march, he and all the soldiers who were still with him were near death from thirst. Their water supply was gone. Even so, Alexander pressed on. At midday, two scouts brought him what little water they had been able to find—it hardly filled the bottom of a helmet. Their throats burning, Alexander’s men stood back and watched him enviously. Alexander didn’t hesitate. He turned the helmet over and poured the water on the hot sand at his feet. Then he said, “It’s of no use for one to drink when many thirst.” His men desperately needed water—quantities of it—when Alexander was only able to provide a few drops. So he gave them the only thing he did have: inspiration to press on for the good of all.

That’s leadership.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. My best self-development content is in the book, The Official Guide to Success. NOTE: We match or beat Amazon investments for my books!

The Accountable Person’s Bill of 39 Rights

This accountable person’s Bill of 39 Rights is a guest blog post by John G. Miller of QBQ, Inc. I highly recommend reading it, and perhaps, taking it to heart.

  1. I reserve the right to choose my words carefully, taking responsibility for each of them.
  2. I reserve the right to worry less about how others live and more about how I live my life.
  3. I reserve the right to share my opinions without fear my character will be attacked.
  4. I reserve the right to not call people names when they disagree with me.
  5. I reserve the right to not be easily offended.
  6. I reserve the right to not live a life of griping and grievances.
  7. I reserve the right to not rejoice when others stumble.
  8. I reserve the right to remember that my actions always speak louder than my words.
  9. I reserve the right to not hide behind the Internet to lash out at people.
  10. I reserve the right to not start or engage in purposeless arguments on Facebook.
  11. I reserve the right to disagree.
  12. I reserve the right to not scream and yell at those who disagree with me.
  13. I reserve the right to use social media in a positive, uplifting manner.
  14. I reserve the right to say “I don’t know” when I don’t know.
  15. I reserve the right to admit when I am wrong.
  16. I reserve the right to work for all I have and not become entitled.
  17. I reserve the right to change the one person that I can—me.
  18. I reserve the right to not speak of things I know nothing about.
  19. I reserve the right to dismiss Hollywood stars who have decided they’re experts in all matters.
  20. I reserve the right to not put any celebrity—including politicians—on pedestals.
  21. I reserve the right to treat all human beings with respect.
  22. I reserve the right to honor my country by honoring its laws as written.
  23. I reserve the right to believe the U.S.A is the greatest nation on Earth.
  24. I reserve the right to vote for politicians based on their competence, experience, and principles—and no other factors.
  25. I reserve the right to not form an opinion until all facts are known.
  26. I reserve the right to makes decisions based on my values, not expediency.
  27. I reserve the right to be more concerned about my integrity than another’s.
  28. I reserve the right to share my blessings with the needy and not judge those who don’t.
  29. I reserve the right to turn off television shows that are counter to my family’s values.
  30. I reserve the right to ignore all talking heads on all television networks.
  31. I reserve the right to tune out any journalist who goes beyond reporting the news.
  32. I reserve the right to object to teachers using my kid’s classroom to share their politics. (Note to 1st – 12th grade teachers: Please stick to teaching reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic!)
  33. I reserve the right to not get caught up in fads, including the latest “diet” plan.
  34. I reserve the right to think before I speak.
  35. I reserve the right to resist marketer’s pitches for shiny new things and spend less than I earn.
  36. I reserve the right to engage in strong, confident, and loving parenting.
  37. I reserve the right to break from group thinking and reason for myself.
  38. I reserve the right to own my decisions and not blame the lousy ones on someone else.
  39. I reserve the right to take personal accountability for my life and make NO EXCUSES!

[Read more…]

Self-Discipline, the Foundation of Self-Improvement

What is the one thing you must have in order to succeed? It’s a little thing called self-discipline—something that’s little only in the sense that it’s yours any time you choose to employ it. In its effect on your life, having self-discipline makes a tremendous difference—a difference too great to measure. It’s not something you’re given not something you inherit. Self-discipline is something that you acquire by yourself and for yourself. You get it from the inner person—from the voice that talks to you all the time.

SP001708Self-discipline is the foundation of self-improvement. It channels your resources of time, energy, and money into the habit of learning and growing towards something new and better each and every day. I believe in surrounding myself with happy and successful people. I believe that happiness and self-discipline are found together and that together they are the fountain of greatness.

People who achieve success share at least this one thing called self-discipline. Regardless of the endeavor—whether they are professional people, students in school, business owners, corporate executives, athletes or whatever—the one characteristic that is common to all succeeders is self-discipline. [Read more…]