Category Archives: Leadership Development
We live in a time-starved world. New challenges and duties that must be met with urgency (whether yours or someone else’s). Shifting focuses that change daily, disrupting our efforts. Outside influences that pick us off from our targeted objectives.
We have many of the same challenges when we examine our personal lives as well. When our careers and home lives converge, it can become quite overwhelming.
There is as much a time crisis as there is a leadership crisis these days. Yet in order for great leaders to be effective and instigate change, they need to attain some harmony of a work-life balance as well.
Work-life management is like a buffet – there are a variety of options, you just need to choose the ones that work for you and put them into action.
For instance, Tal Schnall wrote in his Leadership Cafe blog about some strategies that leaders can use to achieve this elusive work-life balance. Talent Culture regularly posts strategies on how this balance can be sustained. These are just some examples of how leaders are reaching out to help stabilize the noise in today’s hectic world. Motivation To Move recently had a podcast that shows a rolling 7-day week to keep goals progressing.
Today I present a quick sampling of a technique I call “The 7-Day Way” to help achieve some balance in our professional and personal lives.
- Take a piece of paper, your Moleskine, Franklin Planner, Planner Pad, smartphone, tablet, etc and jot down 7 life areas or roles that comprise your life. For instance, one can use: Faith, Family, Development, Work, Recreational, Health, Social. Another can use Parent, Coach, Administrator, Creator and other roles. Make them yours and relevant to your goals. These are areas that you want to focus and spend some elusive time on.
- Look at the week ahead. Take each life area and write down what day you will focus on that. Think of it as dragging the task from your to-do list and dropping it on your calendar. (For me, I have Faith on Sunday, Thursdays are time spent on extra work activities, Saturday mornings are Home projects). You can keep the same areas on the same days (see my example below on #7), or you can change them week to week.
- Look at your to-do list (or your “to-be” list). Find the most important task to be done in each category and make a time on that day for it. It’s doesn’t matter how long it takes – 2 hours, 30 minutes, or even 5 minutes to change a doorknob or write a book outline. Morning, lunch break, evening after dinner, late at night before retiring, however your schedule permits. What matters is that you have the time to focus on that goal.
- Look at this list daily, morning and night (3-5 minutes). Do it while you have your morning coffee or evening tea. What happens is that you know on Saturday afternoon is a time to talk with your neighbor or read or get the materials for that research paper. When you can see the next few days ahead, you start to plan to achieve those tasks and your mind will be in gear formulating the ways to accomplish it.
- Be forgiving and flexible. If a day gets so busy that you were not able to work in that life area, don’t fret. Just plan it for another time that week, or schedule it in the next week. You may find there are days you can accomplish more than 1 life area task in the same day.
- Reschedule, and build on the past week. As mentioned, if a task simply cannot be done, reschedule. As the weeks go on, you may find that your Mondays become more open for you to read, and you will start to look forward to that time for relaxing and growing.
- Have fun. While the discipline this creates is wonderful, you must also be flexible and have fun with this. Don’t sweat the missed days. Use a white board w/ color coded markers, or a calendar with magnets or stickers. Be unique and make it yours. I included a sample infographic below for you as a guide.
While this method is only one of many methods out there for you to be more productive, I believe the flexibility and ease of this method will give it effectiveness and longevity in your life’s pursuits.
Work hard. Play hard. Rest easy!!
(infographic: Paul LaRue © 2019)
Over the weekend I came across a series of content by a leadership author who heavily discounted what they would proclaim as so-called leadership experts.
As I mulled over their claims, I realized how many people in higher levels of leadership discredit others because their credentials don’t seem to be to their standards.
Let’s calibrate our understanding of what experts are:
- a person having a high level of knowledge or skill in a particular subject (Cambridge Dictionary)
- having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
We should also review the definition of a leader:
- a person who manages or controls other people, esp. because of his or her ability or position (Cambridge)
- a person who leads (Merriam-Webster)
It is essential here to point out that in none of these definitions (or others) is there a criteria for PhD’s, MBA’s, being on a board of directors, authoring books, teaching at universities or needing any other qualifying experience or education.
Unfortunately people who look down on others in this fashion tend to do so from an aura of superiority, resting on their own laurels. Experientially these people tend to be the least teachable and most difficult to create an engaged team that will trust and rally around them. They place themselves in a position of higher criticism and use their sole judgement to assess who is worthy of credibility.
And what these folks do is exhibit the same poor leadership behaviors that they denounce in their content. They place roadblocks into building another person up or giving them a platform for voice and value in what they know.
Here are some real-life situations in which someone has discounted another’s opinion because it didn’t meet the person’s prejudices:
- Engineering experts who told Henry Ford his V8 engine idea was impossible
- A restaurant executive who discounts others input because no one who is not a chef can talk about food at their knowledge level
- Critics of Gary Vaynerchuck simply because he struggled in school and just rants about social media
- Tenured university professors who discount the education and real-life experience of adjunct faculty
- Football leaders and experts discounting Tom Brady in their scouting report
- Leaders of all kinds of levels and organizations who devalue the input of front line managers
Leaders and experts don’t need to have letters behind their name or have high-level positions.
As I have mentioned before, teenagers and the person you meet in everyday life can be effective leaders. All someone needs to be an expert is experience and the application through study and practice of their daily sphere.
The greatest experts in the field of leadership will tell you lifting others up, giving them value and a voice, and offering them a platform to showcase their talents is what true leadership is about.
Being an expert and leader is more than just letters after a name. It’s about the application of real-life principles to teach, lead and positively influence your sphere.
TODAY IS THE LAUNCH OF THE NEW BOOK “THE LEADERSHIP KILLER” BY BILL TREASURER AND JOHN HAVLIK. THEY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TODAY’S POST AS A TEASER FOR THIS TIMELY LOOK INTO THE STATE OF LEADERSHIP.
THIS IS A GREAT BOOK FOR US NOT TO “PITCHFORK” AND SAY “SO AND SO COULD REALLY USE THIS” BUT TO DEEPLY LOOK INTO OURSELVES AND HOW THE LEADERSHIP KILLER CAN AFFECT EACH OF US IN OUR ABILITY TO LEAD OTHERS. I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO HELP US KEEP NECESSARY GUARDRAILS IN OUR QUEST FOR POSITIVE IMPACT IN OUR LEADERSHIP.
First, you might ask yourself, what is the Leadership Killer? And to that I say, good question indeed. As a leadership consultant for more than 20 years, I’ve come to recognize definitive patterns in styles and behaviors of good leaders. There are key characteristics that bolster the leader and there are certain habits that will take the leader and their team down. One of these habits is what I call The Leadership Killer. There’s a little Killer in all of us and if that doesn’t sound ominous to you, you might already be in trouble.
My friend of 30+ years, Captain John “Coach” Havlik, Navy SEAL (Retired), and I recently co-authored a new book, The Leadership Killer: Reclaiming Humility in an Age of Arrogance. We wrote the book while examining hubris and the role it plays in killing leadership. Hubris, according to Merriam-Webster, is defined as “exaggerated pride or self-confidence.” Other authorities define it as dangerous overconfidence. Neither definition sounds like something you should want to aspire to as either a new or experienced leader. Rather, your goal is to avoid this at all costs—either by never becoming hubristic or taking a good hard look at yourself in the mirror and changing your ways tout suite, if you’ve already headed in that direction.
How Dare We Talk About Good Leadership?
John and I aren’t shy when it comes to admitting that we’ve both fallen prey to the Killer, hubris. We have both been the victims of our own ego-driven self-sabotage. We are seasoned, but not unscathed. Many of the lessons we offer in our book were earned the hard way, through our own faulty and arrogant leadership styles. We suspect though, that you’d rather avoid similar circumstances and instead learn from a couple of guys who have “been there, done that.” Whatever bad you’ve done as a leader in the past, put it in the ground so those good leaders can grow. If you’re just starting your leadership journey, grow where lessons are cultivated. Those are the best environments for learning and ensuring your path will be challenging and rewarding.
Speedbumps are Inevitable
No one can choose a leadership career and expect it to be easy. As you progress, you will face many challenges, obstacles, and setbacks. Be thankful for that, because facing them is how you develop and strengthen your leadership. A leader’s character is defined by how he handles, or mishandles, such speedbumps. Speedbumps cause stress, and that stress can increase the temptation to misuse your leadership power. The leader who deftly manages the Killer will be able to learn from speedbumps without skidding off the road.
The Killer is out There
The Killer is deadly serious and means business. Most leaders set out to do good, but even they can be corrupted and the culprit is most often the Killer. So be proactive. LOOK for the Killer in you. Think about a time when life let you know that you’d gotten too cocky, and write down the answers to the following:
- What caused you to become so full of yourself?
- What outcome did the cockiness lead to?
- Now…..think….What did you learn about yourself in the process?
- How do you honor those lessons in the way you lead today?
Knowing that the Killer can strike anytime, this gives you the opportunity to examine past behaviors and the awareness to keep your ego in check before anything unfortunate happens again.
You Get to Decide
You may find it surprising, but what the Killer does with you and your leadership is up to YOU. Hubris wreaks havoc when your self-will runs amok. Hubris appears when you let your leadership power go to your head. The Killer arises from immodesty and immaturity. What tempers hubris, what will bring your leadership back to a career filled with altruism, opportunity, and authenticity is humility. It’s within you just as much as the Killer, but accessing it can be a challenge. You can move from the darkness of hubris in the lightness of humility. Are you ready for the journey?
Bill Treasurer is the founder of Giant Leap Consulting and author of five books on courage and leadership, including the international bestseller, Courage Goes to Work. Giant Leap has led over 1,000 leadership programs across the world for clients that include NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, UBS Bank, and eBay. Treasurer is a former member of the U.S. High Diving Team, and attended West Virginia University on a full athletic scholarship. @BTreasurer www.BillTreasurer.com
CAPT John “Coach” Havlik, U.S. Navy SEAL (Retired), led special operations teams around the world during his 31-year naval career, to include the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the SEAL’s most elite operational unit. CAPT Havlik was a nationally-ranked swimmer, and is a member of the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame and Mountaineer Legends Society. @CoachHavlik www.CoachHavlik.com