The purpose of the material in this article is to provide an opportunity for leaders to learn and adopt methods to promote their success in a given task. Reminding yourself of your own purpose for being a leader helps you stay on task throughout your daily activities. A purpose gives meaning and importance to what you are doing. Examining purposes and keeping them in mind supports leadership.
The intention of the following program is made clear by closely examining your leadership purpose. You can carefully review the purpose by discussing each of the following key phrases:
- Purpose—Everyone has untapped potential. Becoming a leader is a lifelong process. The purpose does not prescribe a final destination. It suggests a direction of growth and learning. It is impossible, for example, to arrive at a destination called “east.” Traveling east makes more sense. We can use this purpose like a point on a compass and continually monitor our progress.
- Provide an opportunity—The American Heritage Dictionary defines “teach” as “To cause to learn…” “Cause” is defined as “A person or thing responsible for an action or result.” Since everyone is responsible for his/her own learning, no one else can be the source or cause of that learning. So we have an interesting dilemma. No one can cause another’s learning and teaching is causing another’s learning. There is only one possible conclusion. Teaching is impossible!
Don’t be discouraged. Leadership as a profession is not in jeopardy. Even though it is impossible, leaders have an incredibly challenging and useful job. They provide an opportunity for others to learn. They can invite others to learn. Leaders set the stage in the most effective way possible for learning to take place. The responsibility rests with the individual. Learning, defined as “the act of gaining knowledge or skill,” is not only possible, it is the most natural act humans perform. It begins before birth and continues at least until death. Leaders are responsible for providing an opportunity. The individual is responsible for learning.
- Learn and adopt—Knowing what is needed to be successful is not enough. Unless strategies for success are put into ACTION, they are useless. The ideas shared here encourage leaders to not only learn but also adopt methods to be successful in life. This often requires behavioral change. Selling leaders on the idea of changing their behavior is the ultimate challenge of this program. Shift in attitudes, values, and beliefs accompany shifts in behavior.
- Method—Most of the concepts involve concrete techniques and specific strategies for success. Parts of it, however, are philosophical in nature. These are ideas that can be used as tools to build a successful experience in leadership and life!
- Successful in leadership—There is no one model of leadership success that is appropriate for everyone. People are different and so are their pictures of success. It is not the intent of the ideas present here to promote leadership as defined by parents, teachers, or other leaders. Success needs to be defined individually by each unique leader.
Being a successful leader may help ensure success later in life. While some of the ideas presented can be seen as dealing with general life skills, the purpose is to teach effective leadership through intense self-development, communication skills, and sensitivity to others. SEEK TOTAL EXCELLENCE.
A Leadership Program Philosophy
The underlying philosophy of the concepts presented here is based on three assumptions. They are:
1. There are no secrets.
2. There are no victims.
3. There are no solos.
- There are no secrets. It is usually a mistake to assume that leaders are prepared to adjust to drastic changes in their environments and lifestyles. Assuming they know how to lead and how to be effective followers is also often a mistake. Being a leader for many years is no guarantee that you have mastered the process of leadership!
When talking to leaders who have dropped out, we discover that most leaders took the position with both the ability and the motivation to succeed. What they lacked was a clear understanding of the specific strategies needed to get the job done.
There are no secrets about how to be a successful leader. Anyone who can read a paragraph and follow simple directions can succeed in leadership. The path to success is clearly mapped. It is rarely a question of fundamental ability or motivation. More often it is a question of a leader being aware of effective strategies, experimenting with them, finding the ones that work for him/her, and adopting them as habitual behaviors.
Once a leader sees that there is no secret or magic associated with being successful and begins to identify with a successful image, a powerful thing happens. The daily activities and performances begin to fall into alignment with the self-perception. This is more than halfway to his/her goal of becoming a master leader!
- There are no victims. Blaming, whether we are blaming other people, ourselves, or circumstances, does nothing to empower us to get what we want in our lives. YOU CREATE IT ALL! (Both good and bad…leadership is Total Responsibility!)
- There are no solos. We are social animals. Peer pressure is a major force in our lives. Others play a powerful role in the development of our values, belief systems, and behaviors. A supportive environment, which includes positive support groups, is a critical element of leadership success.
Quality Leader Traits We All Like
Have a sense of humor
Have a passionate interest in some things
Have high energy levels
Are tolerant of changing moods
Know how to listen
Are sympathetic when I fail
Appreciate when we can be together
Don’t fuss when we are not together
Have a keen sense of justice and injustice
Are sensitive to the needs of others
Can take risks
Have an air of mystery about them
Are not sure of everything
Don’t make fun of people
Can offer love unselfishly
Are people in whose presence I like myself more and more.
If You Think…YOU CAN!
If you think you’re beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win but think you can’t,
It’s almost for sure you won’t.
If you think you’re losing, you’ve lost.
For out in the world we find–
Success begins with a person’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.
If you think you’re outclassed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You have to stay with it
In order to win the prize.
Life’s battles don’t always go
To the one with the better plan.
For more often than not, you will win
If you only think you can.
Bandworld Magazine: Vol. 14, #4, p.33 (March-April 1994)