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Becky Robinson

Hop on your leadercycle today -- I love it, Steve. Perhaps a good title for your next book?

But of course this makes perfect sense: the way to learn leadership is to do it, ask for feedback, and do it some more.

Thanks Steve. Wonder where my ride will take me today?

peter vajda

Good stuff, as usual, Steve.

Some thoughts:

You write: "As for the books, look for the consistent underlying principles that never change--regardless of time. One of them is this: If you only read you'll never lead." The same issue as those who drastically want to change their personal self-and never do, albeit their bookshelves are filled with the latest self-help books, DVDs, etc. Thinking, wishing, hoping are not do-ing.

My experience says that one cannot simply "open up" at 9:00 Monday morning and begin asking, "How am I doing?" unless there is a container and foundation of trust and safety. If this dynamic is lacking or broken, it has to be established or fixed, respectively, before one can ask those open and honest questions. If there's a history of asking folks and then never acting on their responses then the effort is futile and comes across as fake and phony.

This process also requires vulnerability (and subjugation of ego) and leaders who resist allowing their vulnerability will often find the "sincerity" process challenging until they work on allowing their vulnerability.

Many of these bikes require "training wheels" and there are those who are embarrassed by such, even some "children" at work. It takes courage and strength and self-awareness to be vulnerable and put one's self out there without a safety net. Kudos to those who do!

Another question that gets to the heart of the matter, is less direct but equally informative, establishes trust and encourages engagement at the same time is "What do you think?" but, only if the responses are taken to heart.

Marvin

As a family leader I'm guilty of reading instead of leading -- my leadership books respect me without demanding that I do something to earn that respect.

Thanks for the slap to the back of the head!

Mile High Pixie

Yet another great post, Steve. I actually laughed out loud at your examples of Jesus and Lincoln. I keep wondering how best to lead, keeping my intern busy with things she'll actually learn from and keeping all the interns in the office up to date with issues that affect them, and it finally occured to me in the past year or so--I just had to do it. If you want to keep people busy, then find good stuff for them to do and have them do it. If you want to keep people updated, then do the reasearch and then summarize it for them. Leading is hard, and yet it's that simple. Do it. Do it well, do it poorly and then learn from it, and do it again and again.

Steve Roesler

Becky,

We're looking forward to hearing where it did take you. Check back in, eh?

Steve Roesler

Peter,

That photo with training wheels is there quite deliberately.

There seems to be the notion that people who lead somehow woke up one morning on the front page of their trade publication. We almost all used training wheels as kids; why not acknowledge that the same process is valuable as adults?

It just struck me that if we viewed ourselves in the 'training wheel' phase, we'd be more inclined to ask honest questions and listen to honest answers.

Steve Roesler

Marvin,

I confess that the reason that particular line came to me was because of my own tendencies to lapse into reading instead of leading. Given the importance of our families and our role in them, it occurred to me that my daughter wasn't really getting much from watching me read books about faithful fatherhood and the like.

So I knocked it off and started doing more with the fam. Paid off in spades.

Thanks for adding that dimension to the conversation. . .

Steve Roesler

MHP:

You consistently use a word that is ignored in much writing on leadership: "Doing".

'Leadership'is a noun: Leadership, n. Capacity or ability to lead: showed strong leadership during her first term in office.

Lead, v.tr., to show the way to by going in advance. To guide or direct

1. To direct the performance or activities of
2. To inspire the conduct of

We can study the noun til the cows come home, but they won't come home until we lead them.

Keep those interns learning...

Wally Bock

Wow! What great post. And Peter's comment add richness, too.

I think sometimes thinking about leadership is the wrong thing altogether. It's like playing tennis while looking at the scoreboard, instead of focusing on the game. If you are there with your team, having conversations, checking for understanding, helping everyone focus on the objective and letting them help you, you will wind up with a team with high morale that delivers high performance. Voila! You will be considered a leader without ever having to think about "leadership."

Ian

Steve really makes you re think your life when you think you are actually leading.
Ian

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