We Need More “Craveable” Leaders. Are You In?

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the-task-of-leadership-john-buchan-quotes-sayings-picturesPeople who make a real difference lead out of Influence, not Title.

And that person can be you.

Ever wish to really add value to others?  Have more friends than you know what to do with?

It’s part of our make up to want acceptance and approval from our piers.

However, few ever fully understand the real things that make us attractive to others. This is absolutely vital as we seek to be gain influence in the lives of those around us.

Artie Davis defined the term “Craveable Leader” and shares several habits that actually make people “crave” to be around you:

  1. Listen to others’ ideas.

Nobody likes a “know it all.” So get over your own ideas, and actually become interested in someone else’s ideas. We all like to talk about ourselves and what we think. So, when we find a person who cares what we think, Bam! We love to be with them!

  1. Speak only good things about others.

Let me tell you a little secret. If you think talking about others, just the things, “you heard” is going to win you juicy friends, you are in for a world of hurt!

If you talk negatively about someone else around someone, they are going to ask themselves, “what are they saying about me?” Gossip will ruin your reputation and sabotage trust in a friendship, don’t go there!

  1. Give generously when you can.

Nobody likes a “mooch!” Don’t develop a reputation as the “cheap-o” of the group.  There is a Proverb that says “everyone is a friend to him who gives gifts.”

Generosity makes people feel valued, and not used! So always pick-up one or two more checks, bring something to dinner. Be the one everyone knows will be generous. Not an issue of amount, but rather attitude!

  1. Initiate with others.

If you are sitting by the phone, waiting for the invitation.. you are in for a long wait! Get over yourself and make the contact. I know it is hard, always feeling you have to make the first move, but that’s just the way it is.

People feel appreciated and valued when we make the first move, but don’t keep score! Just always make the move. Done!

  1. Authenticity is irreplaceable!

Don’t put on a mask. Don’t try and be several different people around different groups. You will always be found out! Be yourself. Trust who God made you to be.

If they don’t like you, you don’t need them. Find, initiate and love those who love you for you! They are the only ones that will be there when you need a true friend!

These are some things I have noticed that make me attracted to others, even makes them “craveable.”   As I reflect on areas where I am growing as a leader, I keep coming back to a few seemingly basic –yet foundational habits.

These are things I am still very much learning, so I don’t pretend mastery.  Any others you have noticed?

Stop Stealing Resilience from Next-Generation Leaders

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112514-BBK-MAR-GOS-NEG-269Over the years, we’ve seen lots of changes in both high school and college sports. Better equipment, stronger pads and helmets, even better rules to foster sportsmanship among the players.

But in my opinion, the last move made in Wisconsin is a well-intended mistake.

Author and speaker Tim Elmore commented on this decision.  He states:   “The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association stated that certain chants are officially banned at games. Now, on the surface, this rule may sound logical—such as excluding off-color remarks or profanity. But this ruling goes far beyond inappropriate language. The ban prevents chants like:

  • “Air Ball.”
  • “You Can’t Do That.”
  • “Scoreboard.”
  • “We Can’t Hear You.”
  • “Overrated.”

Why has the WIAA officially banned such words from the fans?

Well, it might hurt a player’s feelings.

They’re called “infractions” by the WIAA. The fans are not even allowed to sing the popular song, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” song.”

Why I Don’t Agree

Yes, we need to build empathy into the values emerging leaders.

However, whenever we solve teens’ problems by getting other people to do it for them, it simply weakens their resolve. They become conditioned to look for rules from the outside to make life better. It actually fosters entitlement. Teens eventually find themselves saying, “We need a new policy,” or “It’s the school’s fault that I don’t have good self-esteem,” or “I deserve a reward, since I’m a victim.”

It’s a victim mindset that later produces an adult who looks to someone else to solve the problems he or she has internally.

We prepare the path for the child, instead of the child for the path.

Today, I am concerned we’ve cultivated such a fragile generation that they will need special rules on the job, or special favors or personal days, or special perks because they are… well, special. This is not a good thing.

 Roll Back the Tape

Tim Elmore goes on (and I agree)  “If I was a coach in Wisconsin and heard those banned chants from the crowd during an away game in a gym, I would meet with my players afterward and teach them the right way to respond to such chants:

  • Reflect – What can we learn from this?
  • Resolve – Let’s decide we won’t let it happen again.
  • Resilience – Let’s bounce back and succeed.

The WIAA gave no indication it intends to change the rules, but state representative Dale Kooyenga — a former basketball player in the system — wrote the association a letter, urging it to do so. The letter is logical and heartfelt, and the best line of his letter, in my opinion, was, “If you think a high school student section is rough, try playing basketball on a playground on the south side of Chicago.”

Let’s go build some future leaders who are ready for the real world.

When You Transact in a Relationship, Don’t Say “I Had To Ask.”

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confused_question_iStock_000012695159XSmall“I had to ask!”

No, you didn’t.

You wanted to ask and there’s a big difference between those two things.

Your personal influence is really your leadership in all types of relationships -regardless of title.  Relationships sometime involve “transactions” – when we sometimes give and also sometimes receive.

And, your Relationships are not just something -they are everything.  Why? Because in your professional life, relationships often get you the first opportunity. Someone will take a chance on you because they know you and trust you. Someone will give you an opportunity your skills might not have earned yet because of a friendship. And phrases like “I had to ask” tend to wear away at relationships.

Author Jon Acuff states “If you say, ‘I had to ask,’ it removes the responsibility from you. Some outside force made you ask. Your hands were tied, there was nothing you could do except ask.”

So you did and the person you asked for a favor said no. You responded to his/her no with “I had to ask!” Or, instead you said, “Well, there’s no harm in asking,” only that’s not true either.

There can be harm in asking. Maybe the person you asked feels used. You barely know them and have jumped gigantic intimacy levels by overreaching with your favor request. Maybe they felt manipulated by the ask. Maybe they’ve now quietly moved you from, “People who are my friends” to “People who just want favors” bucket.

Don’t kid yourself. There’s harm in asking, especially if you do it the wrong way with the wrong person.

Does that mean you shouldn’t ask anyone for anything? Of course not. Your friends want to help you. They’re excited to help you. The time you’ve invested in that relationship completely changes the request.

Asking is hard but it’s not complicated.   Jon Acuff states that there’s a simple way to remember the right way to do it:

Ask friends for favors. Ask strangers for friendship.

How To Diagnose An Attitude

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Good and EvilHave you diagnosed the quality of the attitudes around you recently?  You probably do so intuitively and don’t realize, but consider these recent studies around the affect of Bad Attitudes:

  • People with bad attitudes have an 800% higher incident rate of being diagnosed with clinical depression.
  • People who possess a negative outlook on life are four times more likely to suffer a stroke, heart attack, or be diagnosed with cancer.
  • People who have bad attitudes have more career turnover.
  • People with bad attitudes have a 50% higher divorce rate.
  • People with bad attitudes are ten times more likely to have poor relationships with their children.

How can you really diagnose an attitude?  It’s all about behaviors.   Just look at others’ behaviors.  That will tell you all you need.

Here are five questions to ask that will diagnose your own attitude and that of others:

  • Are like-ability and respect ratings low? While being a great person is not a popularity contest, the fact is that people who desire to excel are both well liked and respected.  What do you reflect, and what do people see in you? If you are not well liked and respected then you will have consistent, self-imposed obstacles placed in your path that inhibit your ability to be an effective leader.
  • Is there a pessimistic outlook on things? If you aren’t excited about the start of each day, display a “same junk…different day” attitude, or have a “glass is half empty” perspective on things, then you likely have a bad attitude.
  • Do people seek input, advice, and counsel? If people see you coming and quickly run the other way, you have an attitude problem. Great leaders are magnets that attract the attention of others. If people shy away from you versus clamor for your attention, you likely have an attitude problem.
  • Is there frustration that others don’t see it their way? Everyone can have a bad day, and while it’s okay to have a pity-party every once in a while, it is not the kind of party you want to throw very often, and never publicly. If the majority of your conversations and interactions are negative or confrontational you likely have an attitude problem.
  • Is there difficulty attracting and retaining top people? The simple truth is that people strongly desire to work with and for great leaders. The best leaders I have observed are talent magnets…people want to be led by those who have much to offer. If you struggle with recruiting, team building, and leadership development you likely have a bad attitude.

Fact:  It’s easier to notice a Bad Attitude in others far sooner than our own.

If your attitude is impeding your relationships, your talent, or your health, it might be time to consider making some changes…


These Four Prove Someone Has “Potential”

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fish-bowl-backgrounds-wallpapersI’ve always loved the phrase “a diamond in the rough” referring to the young hero in Disney’s “Aladdin”.

He had talent – it just needed refining by experience.

We all know high-potentials who are “diamonds in the rough” who are currently proving a positive example.

But they have the capacity to handle greater responsibility in the future.

They are all around us.


The following four key identifiers reveal who they are:

They Demonstrate Integrity.   This is the absolute bottom-line requirement of any influence. It means a consistent display in thoughts and actions of a strong ethical code of conduct that is “focused on the welfare of everyone.” Their consistent adherence to their beliefs makes them predictable and therefore dependable. They have the courage to do the right thing even when it is difficult.

They Lead Through Relationships. Leading through relationships is the basis of leadership. They get along with others and value others. They “lead and inspire because of who they are and how they interact with others.” They don’t depend on their position or lack of it to influence the actions of others.

They Focus on Results.   This is someone who maintains a wide perspective and acts with independent initiative. They use the end to define the means, which can mean working outside of strict processes to achieve the end result.   They aim for the end they are supposed to produce so they feel responsible and accountable, not just for the demands of their jobs but also for successful outcomes for stakeholders involved.

They Remain Service Focused. This is different than customer service; it is an “awareness of how an action in a specific job affects someone else.” It is a big-picture focus and a value all at the same time.

For some ‘high-potentials’, one characteristic may dominate and others may need to be developed more fully.

If you know someone like that, then get to work helping them grow and develop.

Because they are about to make a HUGE difference in others’ lives.




10 Rock Star Behaviors of a Servant Leader

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imagesWhen I reflect on the high-capacity team I serve with in my organization (and others I have served with on previous teams), specific dynamic behaviors are evident.

These behaviors reflect tireless servant-leadership, and drive me to say “thank you.”  If you were on my team, here are 10 things I would say to you which reflect our values:

Way To Go!

  • You Do Not Whine Or Complain – You refuse to be a victim. Life is too short. When you encounter a problem, you help figure out how to solve it.
  • You Are A Continuous Learner – Every time we talk, you tell me about an experience that taught you a new lesson. You are an avid reader, sharing what you learn with others. When you make a mistake or the business results aren’t what they should be, you are only interested in figuring out why so that you will learn what to do the next time.
  • You Don’t Ask For More Money You ask for more responsibility. You understand that money comes with responsibility and you’re willing to do more.
  • Excellence Is Important To You –  You are not perfect, but you want to do great work. You ask for defined expectations so that you can meet them. You ask for feedback so that you know where you stand. You ask how you can improve the next time.
  • You Are Never Bored – Long before boredom sets in, you are looking for the next project or to learn. You are alert to the possibilities. You volunteer for the next assignment.
  • You Build Strong Relationships With People – You genuinely care about others. You take time to get to know them. You are there for them when they need help.
  • You Have Amazing Positive Energy– Your first response is can do. You are willing to help until the work is done. Your energy is contagious and people want to work on your team and your project.
  • You Listen Well – You do not need to do all the talking. You know others have skills and experiences you don’t yet have, and you want to access them. You do not need to always have the answer. You know that others on the team have much to offer.
  • You Bring Values To Your Work – They are not just words that you talk about; they are alive and active in the way you work. People know you by your actions of integrity, honesty, and accountability.
  • You Know Your Work Matters – It is not just a way to fill the hours in the day or get a paycheck. It is a place where you can touch lives and make a difference.



The Yes Manifesto

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imagesThe answer is Yes.

Yes, chasing a dream is scary.

Yes, leadership is scary.

Yes, working with people is risky.

Yes, there will be fear.  Yes, there will be doubt.  Yes, other people won’t understand it.

Yes, sometimes you won’t either.

Yes, the odds will be stacked against you.  Yes, you will want to quit. A lot.

Yes, you will fail sometimes.

Yes, you will feel like someone more talented has already done exactly what you want to do.

Yes, you will not know exactly where you are going.

Yes, you will feel unqualified.

Yes, there will be awkwardness.

The answer is yes for all of these things.

 But yes is also the answer to all these questions too:

Does the world need your dream? Yes.

Do you need to chase it? Yes.

Is today a better day to begin than tomorrow? Yes.

Does working on a vision a little always beat not working on it at all? Yes.

Are you capable of more than you think? Yes.

If you don’t try will you regret it? Yes.

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

If you’re going to do anything meaningful, get ready to say that little word a big amount of times.

Because for those who dare to be more than ordinary, the answer is yes.


(My thanks to Jon Acuff for these thoughts)