Leadership Point of View
Sharing Mutual Expectations
If you are going to lead, it helps to have a perspective or a point of view. Knowing and communicating yours gives people a fighting chance of success when working and interacting with you. I’ll share mine and then give you a brief outline/tutorial on how to draft yours.
My Leadership Point of View
Sharing my leadership perspective will give you a better understanding of who I am as a leader and what I stand for. You will also gain insight into where I’m coming from and how I think.
There are four philosophies you should know about me right up front.
I love the study of leadership.
I have high expectations and high hopes for people.
I’m more interested in strengths than in weaknesses.
Poor leadership decisions don’t just tick me off; they motivate me to find better ones and to foster the leader within others.
When I was a child, I was ambidextrous. Because I had equal comfort, I often switched between my left and right hand mid-sentence or in the middle of drawing a circle. This befuddled my teachers, so they told me I had to choose a hand because they felt it was interfering with my school work. I picked my left, which seemed congruent with my lifelong habit of choosing the more difficult path.
A few years later, my parents divorced, although I don’t think it had anything to do with my hand choice. My school work suffered regardless, and my teachers felt it was better for me to be placed in a “slower” class. I don’t know if you remember those Resource Centers, beautifully named but socially ostracized places. I was put in a room with other “slow” kids. When we were released to join the rest of the students in easier subjects like art and gym, you couldn’t help but feel like a second-class citizen. That went on for about six years, and my mild dyslexia didn’t help me feel better about myself.
I wanted to enter high school without the “help” of the resource center. I recall the first grade I received; it was for social studies, and I got a “C” on my assignment. The teacher asked to meet with me after class and explained that he originally graded me a “C” but later received a note from the Resource Center people; I guess I was on some sort of watch list. He said he could up it to a “B” based on their scale if I wanted him to. I didn’t give it a second thought before I told him I’d take the “C” because how else would I improve if I wasn’t held to the same standard as everyone else? He seemed impressed with that, and I was never bothered by the Resource Center people again.
Since then, I’ve been attracted to the leaders and artists who have focused on people’s strengths. I learned to intertwine the values of strength and creativity from my parents. I don’t dwell on life’s hurdles. Instead, I focus on the talents and gifts we have to clear those hurdles.
I have a thirst for making a difference. Using insightfulness and creativity, I’m happiest when I can lead and inspire others to maximize their strengths and continuously improve themselves, their organization, or our society through the powers of vision, passion, and action. I believe good leadership helps positively energize our nation and contributes to greater peace, prosperity, fun, understanding, responsibility, and liberty in the world. I encourage others to lead well by regularly focusing on the four pillars of my mission.
Make a Positive Difference in the lives of others.
Strive to Lead and Inspire through my words and deeds.
Maximize the Strengths of others by using my own strengths.
Continually Improve and Contribute to a “more perfect union.”
I enjoy inspiring people who, in turn, inspire themselves. I like to help others find their strengths and see what they have to offer to our joint endeavor.
I want to help you clear the obstacles off your path so you can reach your goals.
I want to help you find your vision or purpose. If you’ve already found it, that’s great.
I help others partly for selfish reasons. I like how it infuses me with energy. It forces me to take my focus off myself and put it on others, the way a servant leader should. I can also combat the damaging effects of poor leaders, influencers, and others who abuse their enormous power through intent or ignorance.
What does helping bring out the best in people and having a clear goal look like? Think of President John Kennedy and his crazy idea of landing on the moon. He said;
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills; Because that challenge is one that we’re willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone and one we intend to win.”
Humankind had been staring up toward the sky for thousands of years, wondering about the moon. One day -- not that long ago, one of us said, let’s do it, let’s go there within ten years — and we did it! A fascinating feat that illustrates how just about anything is possible with vision, passion, action, and a deadline.
I like to measure things, less to see shortfalls, but instead to see what we’re capable of doing and to build our credibility. I love to see the charts and graphs of goals and measurements of success, to see the results of common things in uncommon ways. I’m an observer, both deliberative and analytical. I used to read American Demographics magazine for pleasure, so that should give you some clues.
I am in a constant state of learning and application when it comes to leadership, and this can sometimes come across as tinkering, although I prefer the word refinement. I focus on strengths instead of weaknesses. Yes, sometimes weaknesses need to be addressed, but to overcome them, I discover what can be done versus what can’t. I lead toward the future, not from the past. I measure and monitor with success metrics, managing by fact, not by whimsy.
Here are a few things you can expect from me in our interactions:
Two questions asked equally often, “Why?” and “Why not?”
A quest for continuous improvement, to make good things into great things.
Measures for success, setting you up to win.
The testing of assumptions, tasks, and decisions against the Vision or Objective.
A greater interest in strengths rather than irrelevant weaknesses.
An abundance mentality that will push you to explore possibilities.
An irritation with poor leadership decisions, be they my own or others.
And here’s what I expect from you if you want to build a beneficial relationship:
Be open to new or alternative approaches.
Ask me, “So what?” or “Who cares?” to keep me focused.
Give seemingly “crazy ideas” a chance to breathe.
Support vetted processes that we prove work.
Give and receive education easily.
Call BS, BS.
Have a sense of humor about yourself, the world, and me.
I believe everyone has the capacity to become a leader, and it’s the responsibility of each of us to identify that special talent we possess and to pursue it relentlessly.
While you make your mark and decide what you want to be positively remembered for during your time here, know, feel, and act like you make a difference because you do. That’s why I’m committed to helping talented leaders and artists find the a-ha within. So, how can I help you today?
Your Turn: Drafting Your Leadership Point of View
Having a leadership point of view is an important step in managing better and leading well. It takes some work, but the exercise allows you to learn more about yourself, how you lead, and your expectations. Capture your initial thoughts on the following areas.
Who are the 3-4 people who have most impacted your life?
What have you learned about leadership from them, and how have they influenced you?
Why are you here, and what do you want to accomplish?
Which 3-5 values guide your behavior and keep you on Purpose?
Rank them in order of importance.
Based on your Influences, Purpose, and Core Values, what are your beliefs about leading and inspiring people?
What can people expect from you?
What do you expect from others?
How will you clearly model the values and behaviors to others?
Once you complete your leadership point of view, you’ll know what you stand for. Communicate it regularly!
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