Today more than ever, we need a leader to provide HOPE – Helping Other People Excel. People are willing to stand beside, behind or even risk their lives and stand in front of a leader who serves up HOPE for those he or she is charged with leading.
This article is one of the ways I choose to serve up HOPE for today’s leaders as they endeavor in Helping Other People Excel.
In September 2012, I was named Manager of the Houston Astros. It was an APEX moment in my career. I was 40 years old and At the Pinnacle of EXcellence (APEX) for my profession. At the time, I was also the youngest manager in Major League Baseball. It would be an understatement to say I had room for growth in my ability to lead a Major League team. My confidence was sky high because I knew the game of baseball inside and out. But knowing and managing baseball and leading people are two starkly different things. One helps with making in-game decisions, and the other determines how those you’re charged to lead will accept and react to the decisions you make.
Before my first spring training in 2013, I visited several times with one of my mentors, NFL Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells to discuss leadership, team building and what to expect in my new position. During one of our meetings, Bill said, “There will be three things that happen everyday that you and only you will have to address. Be careful with your words because now they mean more. How you address those things will go a long way in determining the effectiveness of your leadership.” At the time, I heard what Bill was saying, but it was during the process and reflecting afterwards when I truly realized how important it was to “listen” to Bill.
Many people spend their entire life learning, sharping the skills and broadening their knowledge of their given profession, but they neglect the one thing that will truly determine the value of those skills: leadership development!
Leadership is the one thing that impacts everything.
I’m now 48 years old and looking through the leadership lenses with a much clearer picture. I’ve learned from my pervious experiences and listened to the wisdom shared by my mentors and leadership coaches.
Here are some highlights I’ve learned about leadership over the years.
The most powerful resource a leader has is their words. Every day becomes a unique opportunity for a leader to be someone else’s cheerleader. The most important and powerful statement leaders need to express frequently to those they’re charged to lead is “I need you.” It’s a leader’s responsibility to put those they lead in the very best possible position for success and growth while allowing them to realize their skills and talents. Great leaders never underestimate those who follow them. They positively impact every aspect of a person’s life.
The great educators, coaches and executives I have had the honor of learning from were constantly identifying who I could be. They focused not just on seeking out the best talent but also holistically nurturing and developing that talent. As a result, they put me in learning environments for growth and discovery. They provided life-changing lessons for me to learn what I did not know but needed to know.
Our institutions and society are in need of HOPE (Helping Other People Excel) and strategy. People need to know they matter. They need to know that what they do is noticed. They need to know their time and efforts are not in vain.
There are two types of leaders: those who are self-serving, and those who serve others. Self-serving leaders slam the door on those they lead without leaving a ray of HOPE (Helping Other People Excel) for inspiration. Leaders who serve others create a growth mindset environment where those they lead feel empowered to step into a higher and better version of themselves.
There are many things great leaders never say.
Great leaders never say any of the following 30 statements. I’m sharing them with HOPE that you will grasp the magnitude of your words while finding ways to transform the lives you lead in the most positive and enriching manner.
- Do not take this wrong.
- It is not my fault.
- Who do you think you are?
- Failure is not an option.
- I do not need any help.
- I do not care.
- I am the boss.
- I will do it myself.
- Do not get your hopes up.
- That is not the way we do things here.
- Do not bring me any surprises or bad news.
- You are lucky to have a job here.
- I do not get paid enough for this.
- I wish I could help you, but…
- That is impossible.
- We have never done it that way before.
- There is nothing I can do.
- That is our policy.
- I do not have time now.
- Let me show you how to do it.
- No one wants to work with you.
- You are making me look bad.
- What an idiot.
- I will do the talking.
- I do not pay you to think.
- How many times do I have to tell you?
- I hope you can handle this project.
- You have no future here.
- I can easily replace you.
- What is wrong with you?
After years of coaching Major League Baseball, executives and transformational leaders around the world, I have often witnessed highly accomplished people who ascended to the APEX of their particular field by relying on their current level of expertise, core values and skill sets. But in due time, every leader reaches a point where their performance become stagnant, and they begin descending. Most leaders don’t know why or how they’re experiencing this steep decline in performance, and very few recover because they refuse to hire a leadership coach.
I HOPE you will embrace the takeaways from this read and apply these fundamental success principles throughout your journey to becoming an impactful leader.
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