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Leadership, Part 2

May 12, 2012

Leadership, Part 1 HERE

2. Listening to the team 

“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” – Benjamin Disraeli 

A good leader should have a clear sense of direction. A good leader should also realize that the clearest sense of direction is not always going to be their own. In fact, the people in the trenches often have the best perspective. The best kind of leader is going to be in the trenches right alongside everyone else and listening to what everyone has to say. If everyone is going to follow, everyone’s best interests should be considered.

3. Commitment to Excellence 

If people are going to be following you, you better be doing the best you can and always striving to be better.  As the oldest of nine I have learned all too clearly that if I settle for less than excellent, my younger brothers and sisters will learn that less-than-excellent is just fine, thank you. Do I want them to be less-than-excellent? No! Should I expect that they will learn all on their own that the way Rebecca works on projects is not as good as it could be and they should strive to do better? No! Children (and adults) learn by example and it’s up to the leaders to make sure that the example they see is a really, really good one.

I admit I fall short here. There’s a fine line somewhere between seeing failures, acknowledging them and allowing them to discourage us and seeing failures, acknowledging them and letting them press us higher. I often tell my younger siblings that they can be better than me and that they can do more than me because I am so much less than I should be. When, all along, I should be SHOWING them how to be better than I used to be. Does that make sense? A good leader doesn’t lead by falling in a pit and then staying down there yelling up at everyone not to fall in the same pit. A good leader falls in the pit and then gets out again so that they can help people avoid the pit and also so that if anyone else falls down they will be in a good position to lift them out.

A good leader should be committed to excellence for themselves AND everyone else. A good leader wants the best and walks in that direction all the time so that others will have a guide to follow. A good leader will fail, because we ALL fail and that’s unavoidable. But, a good leader will not let failure define them. A good leader will let their commitment to excellence define them in spite of failures. Our failures should become stepping stones that lead us upward and onward.

To be continued…

Do you have any tips on making failures into stepping stones? 


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