The Humble Leader

close up photography of a cellphone
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels.com

The concept of the humble leader sounds contradictory to what most people envision in the workplace.  The traditional leadership view (real or perceived) cast leaders as hard charging, take no prisoner and only out for themselves.

Humility: the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s importance, rank, etc. (Dictionary.com)

A true leader understands you lead people and manage programs.  Not the other way around.

A humble leader displays a level of self-awareness within the workplace to ensure growth for everyone.  A humble leader does not seek or need the spotlight to highlight the great work of the team.  The humble leader can inspire better team cohesion, eagerness to learn and a better performance outcome for their teams.

The process of leading by example and a leader with a humble approach when working with individuals and teams is an excellent example of this concept.  This consistent approach provides a template for others to follow and allows the team to perform knowing the true nature of their leader.

Humble leaders:

  • Build relationships
  • Listen
  • Enable trust in the workplace
  • Show appreciation
  • Reflect
  • Display authenticity

A humble leader puts the needs of others before themselves.  This could be a simple process of ensuring direct reports have the tools needed to perform their duties.  Sounds simple but how many times are work assignments delegated with deadlines, but instructions/tools needed to perform are not provided.  The humble leader looks to provide tools needed to ensure overall team success.  They are also not afraid to ask questions to ensure the assignment is fully understood.  Asking follow-up questions does not show weakness but shows the leader cares and wants to optimize time spent on a specific project.

Being a humble leader does not imply weakness.  Humble leaders are always looking to improve themselves and focus on larger, organizational goals—not just their individual goals.

A leader is best when people hardly know that they exist. (Lao Tzu)

What impact does humility have within your current work environment?  How would this concept enhance overall productivity in the work environment?

 

 

 

 

Motivated or Inspired?

  • Motivation—the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. It is the set of psychological forces that compel you to act.  (Dictionary.com)

Motivation2.jpg

  • Inspiration—the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. (Dictionary.com)

Inspiration

Most people use the words motivation and inspiration as interchangeable concepts when trying to express something to the outside world.

Looking at the definition of motivation identifies it as something that comes from within.

You have to ‘act’ upon what’s motivating you for it to become manifested and seen by others.  There are many times when I see the words ‘motivational speaker’ and wonder exactly what that truly means.  It implies someone can provide a series of words that will suddenly motivate others.  Sure, hearing someone speak can generate a spark, idea or urge to go do something great.  But did that motivational speech give you motivation?  I’m sure in the short-term you may find a way to act on the concepts you hear.  The internal motivation must already be there for you to sustain this level of action.

Now, contrast the definition of inspiration as being mentally stimulated to do or feel something.

This identifies the concept of inspiration can be ‘provided’ directly to another person if they are ready to receive and have the internal motivation to act.  Again, contrast the motivational speaker versus the inspirational speaker.  The inspirational speaker can provide a level of mental stimulation on a subject (leadership, mentoring, goal-setting, etc.) and then walk away from their audience knowing the seeds have been planted.  It’s now up to the individuals who heard the inspirational speaker to decide to act or not.

Why contrast these two terms?  Well, I view myself from the inspirational concept.  Blog topics, emails, direct conversations with me are designed to provide inspiration to everyone I contact.  I cannot give anyone the internal motivation to act but can provide a platform to generate the inspiration needed to create an action plan to walk into the future.  I view my workshops, podcast contributions and conversations as inspiration to others.  Some branches of my tree will act on these things and others may not—totally up to them but I’ve done my part.

The biggest thing I want to do daily is make a difference in the world.  I do this by continuing to inspire my tree to grow daily and then reach back and help others.

So, what did you decided?  Are you motivated or inspired?  Curious to hear your thoughts!

Motivation_Inspiration combo

The Self-Aware Leader

Self Awareness2

“If we agree on everything, one of us is redundant”

(Colin Powell)

This is one of my favorite leadership quotes from Colin Powell.  This statement identifies true leaders want and encourage feedback from their direct reports.

This concept provides the leader with information needed to make sound decisions to help organizational growth.  New and ineffective leaders miss the opportunity to engage with direct reports on decision making for multiple reasons.  Some can be attributed to inexperience, lack of trust, and lack of self-awareness.  All can be overcome with concerted efforts to develop as a leader and engage within the work environment.  Leaders who are self-aware can begin to mitigate the inexperience and lack of trust mentioned earlier.

How do you become a self-aware leader?

  • Look inside and become introspective
  • Identify your strengths, weaknesses, values and how others view you
  • Understand how your self-view impacts others and the work environment
  • Knowledge of how your interactions (positive or negative) influence direct reports
  • Ensure actions and decisions are based in an authentic framework
  • Strive to build authentic relationships with everyone within the organization
  • Adjust based on interactions and feedback from others
  • Advocate for a continuous learning work environment

Work place impact of the Self-Aware Leader

The self-aware leader improves the work environment by modeling the attributes of self-awareness.  This modeling allows direct reports to see and understand the importance of self-awareness.  The leader actively acknowledges strengths and weaknesses.  This provides a framework to enhance staff members’ development within the work environment by catering to staff strengths and working to mitigate weaknesses.

The self-aware leader provides direct reports an engaging work environment where they know they are valued and input is encouraged.  This attribute showcases a leader who fully understands how they are viewed within the work environment.

Finally, the self-aware leader provides an organizational foundation for success by creating additional self-aware leaders.

How can you model self-awareness in your daily interactions?  What benefits would self-awareness bring to your work environment?

Self Awareness

Walk-up Music

Walkup music image

Major League Baseball (MLB) players leverage music to help in their in-game preparations.  The concept of hearing music at MLB games is not new but today’s modern players have really stepped up their games and insert their personalities and thoughts into their ‘Walk-up’ music selection.  Walk-up music is what you hear as a hitter steps up to the plate for an at-bat or a pitcher enters the game.  The music is normally picked by the hitter or pitcher and played over the stadium speakers to energize the crowd and the specific player.

View a list of 2017 Walk-up music here:  https://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/04/mlb-walk-up-songs-list-best-nelly

As you can see, the players select a wide range of music to represent them and to hype them up.

So, why are we discussing Walk-up music as part of your Walk into the Future?

Excellent question!  How do you get ready to tackle your day?  What actions do you take before giving a big presentation at work?  What impact would your personal Walk-up music have on your daily interactions?

Incorporating Walk-up music or some semblance into your daily interactions can provide the inspiration needed to accomplish your task.  Not saying you will have music blasting over a stadium PA system, but you can find your inspiration in music to generate the mindset needed for success.

As an introvert I still need an extra push prior to any speaking engagement I have.  My speaking engagements range from on-campus workshops, Chamber of Commerce presentations, Economic Vitality Council recruiting events and Keynote speaker responsibilities.  Most people who have seen me in front of a crowd assume I don’t experience nerves or anxiety before I take the stage.  Well, truth be told even with the amount of speaking I have done, I still need that extra push to get me prepared to speak and deliver the content needed.

I have leveraged Walk-up music my entire professional career like MLB players are doing.

Big presentation for me and I go directly to an 80’s Hip Hop classic by Eric B and Rakim:  Move the Crowd.  This song reminds me the main reason I’m speaking is to connect with my audience and provide them with content they can use.  It reminds me to lock in and focus on what I’m saying, how it’s said and why it’s needed.  I play this music in the car, on the computer or on my phone prior to my presentation.

I switch up my Walk-up music and where it’s played when I do Keynote speaking.  I have a love for Reggae music and the ‘Irie’ vibe it provides.  I like to play Bob Marley music for my audience prior to my introduction.  The Reggae sounds helps relax and focus me and seems to put the audience members into a great mood to receive my message.  I always play the song Jammin’ right before I’m ready to take the stage and impart my words of wisdom on the audience.  Again, the concept of Walk-up music is designed to get me and the audience ready in these situations.

So, I ask again:

  • How do you get ready to tackle your day?
  • What actions do you take before giving a big presentation at work?
  • What impact would your personal Walk-up music have on your daily interactions?

Look to generate your own Walk-up music ideas to help you during the day.  Leverage this concept to help mentally prepare for that big presentation you have coming up.  Find the music needed to help you thrive and enjoy the process.

Let me know your final selections for your Walk-up music!  Thanks!

Walkup music stats

Meditation

Funny Meditation

Meditation is an active process to train your mind.  This form of training can be done to relax or focus your mind when needed.

According to Harvard Researcher Herbert Benson, meditation triggers a ‘relaxation response’ that causes activity reduction of the sympathetic nervous system.

Areas meditation research have shown to help are:  lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, stress relief and my favorite deep relaxation.

Meditation practice can be used throughout the day to help improve your walk into the future.

Find a comfortable place when needed to begin your meditation process.

My day starts with a minimum of 5 minutes to meditate and properly prepare for the day.  I prefer a completely dark room without distractions (TV, music, etc.) in the background.  This process allows me to calm my thought process and identify things I want to focus on for the day.  I make a few declarations during this time:

  • Today will be a great day
  • I will make a difference today
  • Positive thoughts create positive results
  • Others as needed

This provides the springboard needed to start the day off to generate desired results.

Meditating at work is a little more challenging but can be accomplished.

For those with an actual office, look for an opportunity to close your door for a few minutes.  Sit comfortably and close your eyes to begin.  Focus on your breathing and how your body reacts.  Let the concepts of your breathing rhythms help calm your mind, body and heart rate.   This process provides the most benefit when experiencing high stress periods in the work day.  Consistency in your meditation practice will allow you to find time in the day to take this mental and physical break needed.

For those in a cubicle environment, look for an opportunity to get up from your desk and walk.  You can use this time to refocus, collect your thoughts or relax as needed.  A quick trip down the hall or outside to find a quiet spot to recharge can be the thing needed to get through a trying day.

Leverage meditation during your day to regain focus, relax and eliminate stress.  It will not be one size fits all but can be beneficial to help you accomplish what’s needed.

How can you use meditation to help conquer your day?  Curious.

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Wisdom

The series of daily challenges presented

Provides a template to view

How to conquer the challenges?

It is all up to you

Life provides many opportunities to grow

The direction you chose, only you will know

Continue to strive through the growing process

Knowing you hold the key to it all

The wisdom you gain

Helps to move your journey forward

And makes the challenges easier to maintain

Wisdom

Difference

Irie

The easiest definition for the Jamaican word Irie is total peace with your current state of being or the way you feel when you have no worries (Urban Dictionary).

Spend anytime with or around Jamaicans and you will hear someone respond to a greeting with Irie ‘mon.  This laid back and carefree way of life can be infectious and inspiring if you let it.

So, how can you get to the Irie level in your daily life?  Positive self-talk!

Positive self-talk and thinking can transform your daily interactions.  The benefits to your psyche are visible as soon as you start the process.  How many people say they are not a morning person?  This is a negative self-talk concept.  You have just ruined your day by putting yourself in a negative state of mind.  Why not welcome the morning with open arms?  Change the negative thoughts of the morning with positive thoughts.  State today will be a great day and watch how your actual day matches up with your positive thoughts.

Positive self-talk can be applied in multiple areas of your life.  Apply for a new job with confidence and know you have put your best efforts into the process.  Don’t openly doubt yourself and take on the negative side of a situation.  Positive self-talk will allow you to enjoy the prospects of going to the gym, meeting new people, finding a hobby.  I could go on and on with this concept but hopefully you can see ways to incorporate positive self-talk into your daily routines.

Make a few declarations:

  • Today will be a great day
  • I’m a fantastic student
  • I’m feeling great
  • Looking forward to my run
  • Nothing can stop me today

How can you add positive self-talk into your personal conversations?  Curious!

Let’s get Irie!

Irie

What’s your Why?

Had a fascinating text message conversation with one of my favorite people and friend.  She identifies on her LinkedIn profile as a ‘Destiny Activator’.  This means she is very adept helping people discover their true calling in life or more specifically their ‘Why’.

She was working on a keynote speech for a large conference and decided to include a little about me in her speech.  She was the first person I mentioned the concept ‘Walk into the Future’ to and she wanted to gauge my progress on the project.

She asked me the following questions:

  • What is your why? The purpose why you show up every day for what you do
  • How does your purpose keep you going during the difficult seasons?

It took me a little time to fully understand her questions and then formulate a response she could use in her keynote address.

My ‘why’ is to impact people in a positive way to leave them better than when I found them.  This includes normal conversations, consulting sessions, mentoring opportunities or just when they have questions or concerns.  Making a positive difference has always been my mantra and now I can say this is my purpose why I show up every day for what I do.

I review who I have helped in the past and see them giving back to someone else.  This is how my purpose keeps me moving forward during the difficult seasons.  I view people I have helped as ‘roots or branches’ to my tree of life.

Don’t think I would have formulated this concept without my friend asking me these pointed questions.  I am happy she asked me, and very excited she wanted to highlight me during her keynote address.  Looks like my ‘why’ is still going strong!

What is your why?  How does your purpose keep you going during the difficult seasons?

Keynote Speech 2018 FloridaACE (2)