Learn to Lead

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more
and become more, you are a leader.”
— John Quincy Adams, sixth U.S. president

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders,
not more followers.”
— Ralph Nader

Here’s something that might surprise you. Leadership development is NOT just for CEOs or aspiring middle managers. Whether you know it or not, someone in this world looks up to you as a leader. That’s why all of us ought to improve our leadership skills for our roles at home as parents, at work, at church, and in our neighborhood and civic organizations.

“While great leaders may be as rare as great runners, great actors, or great painters, everyone has leadership potential, just as everyone has some ability at running, acting, and painting.” — Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus in Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge. p. 222.

“Our earlier belief that leadership comes about primarily through managerial ability has been replaced by an awareness of skills needed for understanding people and dealing with their problems productively.” — Academic Leader, p. 3, Sept. 1994.

The first part of leadership development involves feeding the mind. Zig Ziglar says that from the neck down, we’re each only worth about $10-20 an hour. But from the neck up, we have unlimited earning potential. So, what do most people do? They feed the $10-20 part three times a day and neglect the part that has the most potential. With the limitless supply of courses, books, recordings, workshops and seminars, there is no excuse for this. The solution is simple. Start a new habit. For example, while driving, instead of listening to a Jon Bon Jovi CD, listen to a John C. Maxwell CD. Transform your car into a “mobile university.”

Mentoring is the second crucial component of leadership development. Everyone should have a trusted someone who can help guide him or her along the journey. In fact, I recommend a team approach. I have such a team that I privately refer to as my Board of Directors. These are people whose opinions I seek when I am wrestling with an issue or need a second opinion about something.

Some are people I associate with on a regular basis who care how I’m doing and are available and willing to offer guidance when I need it. They support my journey with advice, patience, understanding and wisdom. They are part of my accountability team, helping me up when I fall and keeping me grounded when I get flighty. They watch my back and my step.

“Nothing makes it easier to resist temptation than a proper bringing-up, a sound set of values – and witnesses.” — Franklin P. Jones

Now, I’m not implying that my Board follows me around 24×7. But, in one sense they are. Just asking myself what they would do is often all I need to get back on track. You should have a Board of Directors, too.

“Where there is no leadership the people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” — Bible, Proverbs 11:14

“A leader lives with people to know their problems. A leader lives with God in order to solve them.” — John C. Maxwell

Leadership preparation without implementation is hollow. So the final piece is an opportunity. The first leadership opportunity is found within. We all have the responsibility to first build leadership within ourselves. It is impossible to lead others effectively unless one can effectively lead himself.

As people see the changes in you, leadership opportunities will seem to appear out of nowhere. In fact, there are an infinite number of opportunities. Why not start a small business?  It’s an ideal workshop for leadership development, especially a simple, home-based business.  Because these types of businesses come prepackaged and are relatively simple to operate, you can get started quickly and learn as you go.  Your business will grow in proportion to your leadership growth.  It’s a leadership development workshop and a business all in one.

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” — Bill Bradley (U.S. Senator)

“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” — Tom Peters

I’ll close with some of my favorite leadership quotes.

“It is not such a fiercesome thing to lead once you see your leadership as part of God’s overall plan for His world.” — Calvin Miller

“Effective leadership is the only competitive advantage that will endure. That’s because leadership has two sides: what a person is (character) and what a person does (competence).” — Stephen R. Covey

“Leadership is not something that you learn once and for all. It is an ever-evolving pattern of skills, talents, and ideas that grow and change as you do.” — Sheila Murray Bethel

“True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not the enrichment of the leaders.” — Robert Townsend

“Leadership has less to do with position than it has with disposition.” — John C. Maxwell

God bless,

— CC

© Copyright August 2008, December 2010, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com

Make More Mistakes

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Series: The ABC’s of Professionalism

“Abraham Lincoln became America’s greatest Precedent. Lincoln’s mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. When Lincoln was President, he wore only a tall silk hat. He said, ‘In onion there is strength.’ Abraham Lincoln write the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. He also signed the Emasculation Proclamation, and the Fourteenth Amendment gave the ex-Negroes citizenship. But the Clue Clux Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposedly insane actor. This ruined Booth’s career.”

— From a compilation of student bloopers and mistakes, attributed to Richard Lederer. (Source: http://www.innocentenglish.com)

Now that you’ve hopefully had a good laugh, let’s get serious about “mistakes.” Human beings are deeply flawed in two respects. First, we make countless mistakes every day. No surprise, right? The curious part is why we harbor fears about making more. Fear of imperfection is the second and far greater flaw.

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” — Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915)

“To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all.” — Peter McWilliams, Life 101

 

“If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.” — Frank Wilczek (1951- )

We fear mistakes because it reveals that we are imperfect.  But, everyone already knows that. So why do we think that makes us look bad?

“While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior.” — Henry C. Link

“I have learned the novice can often see things that the expert overlooks. All that is necessary is not to be afraid of making mistakes, or of appearing naive.” — Abraham Maslow, Psychologist

“Assert your right to make a few mistakes. If people can’t accept your imperfections, that’s their fault.” — Dr. David M. Burns

Mistakes should be welcomed and valued because they are opportunities to learn and improve.

“Mistakes, obviously, show us what needs improving. Without mistakes, how would we know what we had to work on?” — Peter McWilliams, Life 101

“An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats failures simply as practice shots.” — Charles Franklin Kettering, inventor

What we learn from our mistakes they will guide us and nudge us along the path toward success.

“If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” — Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968 )

“If I had my life to live over… I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.” — Nadine Stair

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t as all. You can be discouraged by failure – or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that’s where you will find success.” — Thomas J. Watson

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” — George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

“It’s a sad day when you find out that it’s not accident or time or fortune, but just yourself that kept things from you.” — Lillian Hellman (1905-1984)

If we are wise and able to suppress our arrogance, it is also possible to learn from the mistakes of others.

“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” — Sam Levenson (1911-1980)

To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes, the wise and the good learn wisdom for the future.” — Plutarch, Historian

Still, one’s own mistakes handled professionally are the best-learned lessons.

Don’t argue for other people’s weaknesses. Don’t argue for your own. When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it immediately.” — Stephen R. Covey, Author and Speaker

“It’s always helpful to learn from your mistakes because then your mistakes seem worthwhile.” — Garry Marshall, ‘Wake Me When It’s Funny’

There are proper and improper responses to mistakes.

“Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else’s can shorten it.” — Cullen Hightower

“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: admit it, learn from it, and don’t repeat it.” — Paul “Bear” Bryant, “I Ain’t Never Been Nothing but a Winner”

History has proven there’s an undeniable connection between mistakes and innovation.

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” — James Joyce (1882-1941)

“He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.” — Samuel Smiles

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” — Steve Jobs

Here’s the lesson. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, then commit to improvement. As long as your intentions were moral and ethical and your efforts were careful and thorough, there is no valid reason to feel guilty about a mistake, even if it caused harm. Of course when harm has occurred the whole matter of forgiveness and reparations must take place. After that, there’s not much else you can do but move on and do better.

“How unhappy is he who cannot forgive himself.” — Publilius Syrus (~100 BC)

“Life is an adventure in forgiveness.” — Norman Cousins (1915-1990)

“Forgiveness does not always lead to a healed relationship. Some people are not capable of love, and it might be wise to let them go along with your anger. Wish them well, and let them go their way.” — Real Live Preacher, RealLivePreacher.com Weblog, July 7, 2003

The worst thing is to allow one mistake to turn into more.

“A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it, is committing another mistake.” — Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC)

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” — Mary Pickford (1893-1979)

Accepting our limits and imperfections as humans is not the same as being cavalier about mistakes. Errors are inevitable and they are serious business. Learning to deal properly with mistakes is the mark of a professional.

“Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life” — Sophia Loren

God bless,

— CC

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© Copyright October 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
Read more “Clancy’s Quotes” at: ClancyCross.WordPress.com