Tag Archives: John Maxwell

five ways to lead better

“As we live out of such a mind, we become generous, with no sense of tolerance. We become patient, with no sense of putting up with anything. We become compassionate, with no sense of separation. And we become wise, with no sense of having to straighten anyone out.” 
― Steve Hagen

Growth

Leadership means something different to just about everyone you meet.  Some people have the title of leader and believe they are.  Some don’t have a title to lead, they just do.    John Maxwell, a leadership master, has written over 70 books on leadership, and yet we are still debating what leadership is and what a leader is.

So, what can be done to lead better, to lead effectively and lead others near and far from you?  Let’s look at five ways to lead better.

1. Let go.  Leadership is about letting go of control.  It is about letting others contribute.  As a leader ask others what they are thinking and instead of judging their thoughts give their thoughts life.  How would you take that idea and make it bigger?  Value the contributions of others.

2.  Listen more.  Listen always.  Be the first to listen and the last to speak.  What do you really hear?   What is being said that isn’t being spoken?   What is on the hearts of the people?   Listen to what is being said between the words.

3. Be vulnerable.   The last thing that some leaders want to reveal is their own weaknesses as they are hiding behind their own insecurities as a leader.  They believe if people really knew who they are they wouldn’t be in the position they are in.  The lack of vulnerability disables the full contribution of the followers.   They will do as commanded, but rarely do more than that.

4. Be open.  Sometimes leaders feel that they have to be “right” all of the time.  Being right shuts down the contributions others can make.   Why would you contribute if you knew your ideas wouldn’t be valued?  Leaders who have to be right disable the contributions of others.

5. Invite others in.  Sometimes leaders believe things just have to get done and they get it done.  Visions are cast in close quarters and given to the followers.  Decisions are made, directives delivered and pronouncements made.  The more a leader does things in isolation the less the leader is leading.  Let others give voice to ideas, visions and direction to initiatives and embrace the rich variety of creative energy that can be obtained from inviting others in.

What can you do to be a better leader?

life worth living

“We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”    Tara Brach

Living life without limits is not just for the few it is for everyone.    Nearly everyone is struggling with some aspect of life.  It might be financial, relationship, career, wellness, health, friends, family,  or something that is sucking the life out of them.    Maybe you know of someone who feels their life is being sucked out of them.    What are they telling you?

Are they telling you how miserable life is and there is nothing that can be done to make life better.   Their life is bad so their goal is to gain sympathy from someone else,  someone who will agree with them that life is just miserable.

Have you met someone who is overwhelmed with life, with the daily grind of life?    Maybe their career is not even close to what they really want to do so they suffer day after day earning enough that it keeps them locked into work they really hate.    Each day they attempt to put on a happy face and walk into their place of employment with a little less energy than they had the day before.    Who are they fooling with their less than optimal performance?

Life without limits means doing, being and living at what you are best at.   It means allowing your strengths to be used fully and that you are passionate about what you are doing in life most of the time.

Let’s look at some ideas that John Maxwell shares with us that will help us live life without limits.

1.  On Failing,  Fail Forward –  “‘Failing forward’ is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction.”

2.  Quit at the right time – “When to quit: (1) Quit something you don’t do well to start something you do well. (2)  Quit something you’re not passionate about to do something that fills you with passion. (3) Quit something that doesn’t make a difference to do something that does.”

3. Forge a new attitude – “Whether you are eleven, forty-two, or sixty-five, your attitude toward life is still under construction.  It’s never too late for a person to change his attitude.”

4. Be confident – “Affirmation from others is fickle and fleeting.  If you want to make an impact during your lifetime, you have to trade the praise you could receive from others for the things of value that you can accomplish.  You can’t be ‘one of the boys’ and follow your destiny at the same time.”

Use what you have right now and start living your life.   Take a lesson from Nick Vujicic and learn what it means to live a life without limits.

Learn more about living your life without limits.    When do you start, now, right now!   Stop making excuses and start living a better life.

the new leader

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

What is a leader?   What is your definition of a leader?  

It seems that there is no one definition that defines what a leader really is that used by everyone.   There are thousands of definitions of a leader.   Some people say a leader is a person of “integrity”.   What does that really mean to you?

A leader has a number of characteristics that define a leader yet within the spectrum of leadership qualities is no one definition that accurately and consistently defines a leader.   Jim Collins the author of “Good to Great” has a definition of a leader and spells out those qualities in his book “Built to Last” lists a number of qualities that make a great leader.  

John Maxwell, America’s authority on leadership speaks of leadership as being “Influence”.   And is influence the hallmark of a great leader?


In this chart are a number of qualities that could be used to define a leader.   If you were to rate a leader on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 = Low need and 10 = high need, how would you rate a great leader?   How would you rate yourself?   What characteristics are critical for a leader to really have?

Most leaders would see themself as being strong in a few elements or even most of the elements.   Is there  a specific combination, or score that makes the leader great?

Even if someone were to score all 10’s on every attribute, that score is a reflection of the scorer’s values not necessarily the score of the leader being evaluated.   A leadership score is a relative score, but relative to what?   That is part of the problem.   Leadership is not defined by some standard that people are measured against, but rather the opinion of others.   It is the person’s own personal definitions of honesty, integrity, compassion or leadership that define a leader.

What makes a great leader in your mind?   How would you score the leader you most admire?  What score would they get?

Joanne Ciulla proposes this definition, “It is a complex moral relationship between people, based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good.”

 

Leadership is self-development

A lot has been written about leadership, leadership development and being a leader and yet more and more books are written about leading.   Top leadership development experts like John Maxwell pump out books year after year exhorting would be leaders to “be” a leader.

The top leadership development experts continue to inspire and move people to develop their leadership skills?  Why?

What would happen if we had great leaders in every organization, every non-profit, every community activity, every neighborhood and in every household?   Things would change.

Here are a few things from a list of things people can do to become a better leader and they aren’t hard to do.  It just takes thinking about leadership consciously, practicing leadership consciously and living leadership consciously.

Here’s a good one, “don’t micromanage“.   How many people in leadership positions micromanage?   Some say they don’t and then out of habit give direction rather than helping others find direction.   Micromanagement is faster some say and micromanagement leads to an exact result.   Certainly working with someone to develop their skills and talents takes more work initially.   The end result though is someone who is more passionate about the work they do and it takes less time to “manage” someone if they can solve problems rather than asking for permission to own their work.

Micromanagement is often a result of a manager/leader who is not confident in themselves.  They don’t trust who they are and as a result they don’t trust others either.   A micromanager  has difficultly in letting go and letting others get going.   In most cases the result of someone that is being micromanaged will never be good enough.   The micromanager will insist on a level of perfection that is unobtainable thus setting up the employee for failure.   The micromanager will assert a “BLM” (Be like me) attitude that all their cohorts should exhibit.   Differences in opinion, style and thoughts are often discarded by the micromanager as it is only their agenda that matters.

Those who work for a micromanager may never fully be able to utilize all their strengths and talents.    The micromanager has to first realize they are not leading effectively and then to get help so that they can become a leader and develop the potential in others.

For the micromanager a good first step would be to absorb the advice of John Gailbraith  when he wrote,  “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”

Talent is never enough … by John Maxwell

“Talent is never Enough” is one of the more recent books written by John Maxwell.   In his usual style the book contains lists of things to think about , act upon and learn.   “Talent is never enough” is filled with great quotes and stories.  I have found a nugget of wisdom on nearly every page of the book.   Ancient wisdom is still useful as a teaching tool in today’s world.   The condition of man has barely changed in over 2000 years – we still struggle and we search for answers to lifes questions.

Chapters like:

Belief lifts your talent

Passion energizes your talent

Initiative activates your talent

Focus directs your talent

Preparation positions your talent

and more.

 

In each chapter is a great lesson to think about and act upon.   A book well worth the time and effort to read and meditate upon.   Best of all, if you use the material your life will become better.

It’s about my dreams …

I’ve dreamed many a dream that’s never come true,
I’ve seen them vanish at dawn,
But enough of my dreams have come true
To make me keep dreaming on

I’ve prayed many a prayer that seemed no answer would come,
Though I’d waited so patient and long;
But enough answers have come to my prayers
To make me keep praying on

I’ve sown many a see that’s fallen by the wayside,
For the birds to feed upon
But I’ve held enough golden sheaves in my hands
To make me keep sowing on

I’ve trusted many a friend that’s failed me
And left me to weep alone
But enough of my friends have been true-blue
To make me keep trusting on

I’ve drained a cup of disappointment and pain,
And gone many a day without song
But I’ve sipped enough nectar from the roses of  life
To make me want to live on.

“I don’t Regret a Mile” by Howard Goodman

 

What is your story?   Does it ring true with the poem “I don’t Regret a Mile”?

Our life is not always going to be easy and it’s not always going to be rewarding.  We can however set the stage to bring forth the best possible life.  When we prepare daily for personal growth we enable ourselves to get better.  When we compare ourselves to others we fail to maximize our own potential.  Does it matter what someone else is doing if we aren’t doing our best? 

Build your personal skills and keep developing those skills until your talent is exhausted.  At that point you will be all that you can be with that skill or talent. 

John Maxwell wrote, “To improve my game, I had to change the way I played golf.  I had to relearn the game, and that meant getting help.”   Sometimes, perhaps many times we have to ask for help.   “How can I get better at what I am good at?” 

What is the objective?

1.       To get as good as we can get using our talents and gifts.

2.      To learn as much as we can about our gifts.

3.      Get help we need it and recognize when we do need help.

4.      Never give up until the summit is reached.

Keep dreaming, keep working on those dreams, and have patience and perseverance to go the extra mile.

Personal Growth

“Most people don’t realize that successful and unsuccessful people do not differ substantially in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential. And nothing is more effective when it comes to reaching potential than commitment to personal growth.” – John Maxwell, Your Road Map for Success

 What is your commitment to personal growth?

Are you able to spend some time each day improving?

Are you taking the time to reflect on what transpired during the day?

Do you say thank-you to someone?

Are you appreciated?

What is the most imporant question you ask yourself?