Leadership Lessons – When Smoke and Mirrors Just Won’t Do 3

I’m a political junky. Watching both the Republican and Democratic conventions over the last two weeks was a real treat for me. I speak for a living so I took special interest in observing  how each Presidential Nominee presented their party’s position as to why they believe they should be elected the next President of the United States.  The Republicans have always been the very best at creating positive spin. After all they where able to get George W. Bush elected twice. (Enough said)  However, in this election – the voters are an educated voter thanks to the internet and the fact checkers. So this time around  smoke and mirrors just won’t do. Both parties will have to do their homework and get their facts straight. Social media will help bring honesty and integrity back in vogue.

Worth Remembering …

“It is better to be defeated on principle then to win on lies” – Arthur Caldwell

The events and conditions each of us experience during our formative years helps define who we are and how we view the world. We are a by-product of the environment we grew up in, we are influenced and shaped by our family and friends and their values which are passed on to us, and in turn we pass them down to our children. Values like honesty, integrity, a sense of fair play, being consistent – knowing the difference between right and wrong and acting on it – knowing what is acceptable and what is not and holding yourself and others accountable. These are the values that should be passed down to the next generation. And these are the kinds of enduring principles that we should be looking for in our leaders.

Worth Remembering …

“Before the issue of integrity can even be raised we need principles of behavior – moral convictions about what is and is not appropriate – judgements about right and wrong action. If we do not yet hold standards, we are on too low a developmental rung even to be accused of hypocrisy” – Nathaniel Branden Ph.D

Ethics is best described as a set of moral principles or values that defines what is considered right and wrong behavior for a person or group. Ethics and behaving ethically is a bit of an oxymoron these days if you take into account the corporate bailouts and the propping up of the world banking system whose collapse – to some extent – was caused by excessive greed, lack of moral convictions, and by not doing what was right. Are there two kinds of ethics? What does it say about you as a person if you behave one way at work – but behave a different way at home. Is it OK to con your customers and employees, but not your family or neighbours? I believe you are either ethical or you’re not. You may not want to lead – but you do get to decide the kind of leader you want to follow.  Choose wisely. 🙂

(c) Copyright 2012. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. http://briansmithpld.com

Managing is a Team Sport – Park Your Ego at The Door

You and I both know that there are a number of ways to accomplish the same task. The more that you allow others to be part of the process; the more likely it is – that they’ll be interested in the results. It shouldn’t be just your way – solicit their input. Always keep in mind that you need others a great deal more than they need you. You’re going to look pretty silly trying to manage things by yourself. Remember – Managing is a team sport so park your ego at the door.

Worth Remembering … “Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. The world would go on even without you. Don’t take yourself too seriously” – Norman Vincent Peale

Now don’t get me wrong – it’s important to have a “healthy” ego. Trust me – I have enough ego to fill up any room I walk into. (After all I’m the ultimate Control Freak) My ego has never been in short supply but, I’ve also come to know that too much ego can become a weakness. It’s like stress. A little stress in your life is not necessarily a bad thing. Without a little stress in our lives we’d turn into couch potatoes and would never be motivated enough to do anything. But we also know that too much stress in our lives can be unhealthy. I think of ego the same way. A little ego gives us enough self-confidence in our own abilities to want to step up and take on a certain tasks or roles. However, if you have too much ego you may volunteer to take something on that you aren’t totally prepared for and then have too much pride that you won’t admit that you’re over your head.

Worth Remembering … “Bury your ego. Don’t be the star. Be the star maker” – Bud Hadfield

No one is successful by themselves. You are only as good as the people around you. Learn to build collaborative teams and establish partnerships. Both our Men’s and Women’s Olympic Gold Medal winning hockey teams didn’t start winning gold medals and world championships until we changed our way of thinking. Years of coming up short by stocking our teams with superstars and letting them do their own thing – independently of each other wasn’t getting the kinds of results that we expected. It wasn’t until everyone on the team parked their ego’s at the door and committed themselves to playing a team game did we find success. It wasn’t until everyone on the team committed themselves to playing a team role – did we start to win.

Worth Remembering … “Desire for approval and recognition is a healthy motive but the desire to be acknowledged as better, stronger, or more intelligent than a fellow being or fellow scholar easily leads to an excessively egotistic psychological adjustment” – Albert Einstein

Think of your ego as an outward expression of your internal thoughts. Your ego is a combination of self-esteem and self-confidence. If you are deficient in ether one it will express itself in the way that you act and treat others. Managing is not about being right. Managing and leading is about doing all you need to do to accomplish the task and reach the goals you’ve established for your department or business. If that means letting others have a say – and incorporating some of their thoughts and ideas into your plan – then do it. And if it means letting them do it their way – then that’s what you need to do. As long as it gets the desired results – on time and on budget – then it makes no never mind how it was accomplished. If that requires you parking your ego at the door – then so be it. 🙂

* (c) Copyright 2012 – Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without written permission.

Think it, Act it – You’ll Eventually Become It. You Can Have The Life You Want

Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a difference result. You have to change the input to change the output. You’ve got to develop new habits. A good habit is a good result – plain and simple. (Of course the opposite is also true – bad habits produce bad results) We are adults and we can develop new habits. All we have to do is stop doing one thing and start doing another – and if we do it often enough – it will become us. Behaviorist’s suggest that if you do something twenty-one times in a row – you’ll have developed a new habit. I think for the most part that we are born with a blank slate. And that we learn to behave a certain way to get a certain result. Now if that’s true – then the way we act is a learned behavior. And if you agree that it’s a learned behavior – then that means we can unlearn it and replace it with something else.

Think it …

I’m not going to get too deep here – but your internal dialogue (What you say to yourself) has everything to do with how you react and act externally. If you feel sad – you’ll look sad. If you feel happy – you’ll look happy. Attitude – Your attitude is everything! You are whoever you think you are – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you can or can’t – you’re absolutely right. If you think you can’t – then you are beat before you start. David knew he could defeat Goliath. He had faith in his own ability to pull it off. You need to believe in yourself. You need to believe that you are capable of doing whatever you set out to do. You need to believe that you can have the life you want.

Act it …

You need to start acting in a way that is going to get you what you want. What new habits do you have develop to get the kinds of results you need? What do you have to stop doing and start doing to accomplish what you set out to do? Do you need to learn how to communicate and interact more effectively – manage your time – cope with stress – solve problems, deal with difficult people and challenging situations or expand your circle of influence? If you are going to change the habit to change the result then you need to decide what new habit you need to develop. Once you’ve decided what you need to learn – then all you need to do is start doing it. It’s never easy to change – but you can change if you truly believe that you need to – that you need to change in order to have the life you want.

You’ll eventually become it …

Practice, practice, practice. Be patient – it takes time. But, the more you do it – the better you’ll get at it – and the better you get at it – the more you’ll do it without thinking about it. It will become ingrained in you – it will become part of you. Everything we choose to do alters our brain and it fundamentally changes who we are. Dr. Richard Restak, neuropsychiatrist and clinical professor of neurology at George Washington University believes it’s a process that continues until we die. The human brain has the ability to reprogram itself. All of the new research on the brain suggests that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to change your brain for the better. Your brain doesn’t break down over time. The brain has a lifetime capacity for learning new things.

You can have the life you want …

You don’t have to settle. You can have the life you want – the life you imagined for yourself. If you are mentally and physically capable of doing and becoming who you really want to be – then the only thing standing in your way is you. All you have to do is learn how to get out of your own way. Stop doing one thing – and start doing another – and if you do it often enough – it will become you. Remember – You may have developed a certain way of behaving at a very young age but it doesn’t have to dictate where you end up or who you become. – Cheers. 🙂

* (C) Copyright 2012 – Brian Smith. Think it, Act it, You’ll Eventually Become it – You Can Have The Life You Want – is the title of my soon to be published self-help / personal development book. Stay tuned

Three Questions with Van Heerling

I jumped at the chance to be interviewed by Van Heerling – Author, Blogger and Entrepreneur extraordinaire. (I’m not one to pass up the opportunity to see my name in print) The results of that interview where first published in Van Heerling’s Blog in August / 2012. (www.vanheerlingbooks.com) If you missed it – I’ve posted the link here for you. After you’ve had a chance to read the article – take a moment and put yourself in my shoes. If you were asked these same three questions – what would you have said? – Enjoy 🙂

http://www.vanheerlingbooks.com/4/post/2012/08/three-questions-with-van-heerling-my-guest-today-is-brian-smith-briansmithpld.html