What True Leadership Is All About

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Here is a fact about leadership that no one really wants to talk about — it’s a lot bigger than just yourself. Sure, leadership can bring bigger paychecks and a whole lot more notoriety in most cases, but that’s not even remotely close to defining what true leadership is really all about.

True leadership is much more than authority and recognition from the outside world. Instead, leadership is all about developing people and helping others reach their full potential. It’s about equipping others with the right tools and strategies to not only maximize the success of an organization but also the lives of individuals. It’s about breaking down barriers and leading others through the uncertainty of the future.

The best leaders to ever live not only succeeded at helping their team win championships or organizations reach new milestones and dominate the marketplace, but they deeply cared for people and understood what a privilege it is to be a leader.

Think about it for a moment. As a leader, you have the incredible opportunity to change someone’s life every single day. It could be something as simple as saying hello and remembering people’s names when you greet them. It could mean you being passionate about helping your people achieve and pursue all of their personal dreams and ambitions just as much as their professional one’s. It could mean you forcing everyone around you to grow and develop into stronger and wiser human beings that will end up taking them to a place they never thought was possible before they met you.

There are a plethora of qualities that one must need in order to become a fantastic leader. However, I strongly believe that one of the most important traits that all leaders must possess is a passion to develop and maximize the potential of others. When you begin to transform people individually, you then begin to transform your organization or team as a whole.

Transforming people is a quality that every memorable leader has thought about every single day of their lives, because they understood if they could transform their people, they would then be able to advance their mission. The leaders that are too caught up in egotistical gratification rather than the development of their people will surely fall short in the long run. There is a major difference between true leadership and authority-driven management.

Just as athletes have to take daily reps and constantly work to elevate their game, leaders also need to have the same mentality on finding ways to become more efficient in touching the hearts of their people, inspiring others to take what their doing to the next level and unlocking the barriers that hold others back.

Your commitment to going the extra mile to care for your people, lend a helping hand and inspire them will determine the results you receive. When a leader fully understands what true leadership is all about, not only will their organization never be the same again, but they as individuals will be changed forever as well.

There is nothing easy about true leadership. It’s one of the most difficult jobs in the world, but it also has the potential to be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. Whether you lead a team of five or 5,000, focus more on being a developer of people and helping those you lead become all that they can possibly become. That’s true leadership.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

When Leading Through Change, Adopt These 4 Strategies

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The two guarantees in life are taxes and death. No matter how much we hate both, they will be there. There is no way around them.

In business, the one guarantee is change. Organizations of all sizes will experience a great deal of change at some point and it’s up to the leader to create an atmosphere of effective adaptation. The best organizations that dominate the market and competition have leaders that know how to lead through change better than anyone else, as well as bring out the best in their people during times of extreme uncertainty.

Here are four important strategies to lead through change:

1. Stay purpose driven.

When your organization is experiencing turbulent times and you are in a position where you have to lead through change,you must stay purpose driven. If the leader of an organization veers away from the organization’s purpose, how in the world are the employees of that organization supposed to stay on target? It’s just not going to happen.

You might not know the exact way in the beginning, you may be more nervous than you have ever been in your career or the criticism from the outside world may be at an all-time high, but if you direct all of your focus on staying purpose driven and creating a culture high on purpose, the “how” will eventually present itself.

2. Communication must be constant.

I write about communication a lot, and a major reason for that is because I think there are too many organizations that undervalue its importance, especially during times of major change. Great communication is required to create great relationships. Great communication is required for athletic teams to perform at a high level. The same goes for organizational health and being able to lead effectively.

It’s important for leaders to constantly communicate from a technical standpoint, but also to reinforce much needed inspiration and acknowledgment of their people. The next time change hits your organization, whether big or small, make it a priority to become a world-class communicator.

3. Invest in your people.

As a leader, you have to understand that the most important people are the ones who work with you. These are the men and women that are expected to carry out your vision and head into the trenches to make sure that the transition through whatever change your organization is going through is a success.

Depending on the size of your company, look to invest in your people as much as possible. The organizations that are passionate about developing and building their people are the same organizations that win and come out on top.

Whether it’s incorporating team-building exercises, bringing in experts in a certain field or enhancing skill sets in different ways, the opportunities are endless for you to invest in your people. This will not only help you and your organization lead successfully through change, but you will also be showing your people how much you care about developing them to become better.

4. Persist until you succeed.

No one enjoys change, and that especially goes for employees. They will be tempted to give up, slow down and lose focus of the overall objective and purpose. It’s your job as a leader to instill a culture of persistence.

It’s really hard to see the end result and even move forward when it feels as if nothing is being accomplished. Throughout the course of my athletic career as well as speaking to hundreds of majorly successful companies, I have realized that the most detailed plan and course of action can only get you so far when leading through change.

Persistence isn’t just a trait of the most successful people, it’s the backbone of the organizations that completely thrive during times of extreme change. Persisting and staying the course even when progress seems to be minimal is an absolute must when leading through change.

It’s inevitable that you will experience change at some point throughout your professional career. As a leader, business owner or entrepreneur, it’s your job to set the tone when leading your organization through change. These strategies will greatly improve your chances of getting the best out of your organization.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

20 Inspiring and Valuable Quotes on Leadership

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Every day I pick out a quote that I carry around with me and really spend a lot of time thinking about it. I think about the meaning of that quote and all of the possible ways on how I can adopt that into my way of living.

Below are 20 leadership quotes that I have been paying close attention to as of late. I hope these quotes add value to your life and inspire you to become a better leader.

1. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

2. “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” — Jack Welch

3. “Great leaders are willing to sacrifice the numbers to save the people. Poor leaders sacrifice the people to save the numbers.” — Simon Sinek

4. “Think about all the great leaders. Think about Obama. Think about Clinton. Think about all the people that we know who are very successful in business, in politics and religion. What are they? They tell purposeful stories. They move people to action by aiming at the heart.” — Peter Guber

5. “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” — Colin Powell

6. “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” — Ronald Reagan

7. “The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.” — Jim Rohn

8. “You manage things. You lead people.” — U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Grave Murray Hopper

9. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” — John Maxwell

10 “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” — Warren Bennis

11. “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” — Sam Walton

12. “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.” — Theodore Roosevelt

13. “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” — Nelson Mandela

14. “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” — Henry Ford

15. “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army or in an office.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

16. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

17. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

18. “No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.” — Andrew Carnegie

19. “I think whether you’re having setbacks or not, the role of a leader is to always display a winning attitude.” — Colin Powell

20. “ As a leader … your principal job is to create an operating environment where others can do great things.” — Richard Teerlink

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

3 Traits All Effective Leaders Possess

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Titles don’t define leadership. A certain title may have others calling you their boss or you may be referred as one of the leaders of the organization on the company’s website, but true leadership is much more than just a title.

True leadership involves the execution of a grand vision, where leaders enroll others to get passionate about seeing that vision through and then joining on the ride to bring that vision to reality. The hard part is actually getting your team members and employees to buy in to where you want to go and then working relentlessly to move that vision forward.

The leaders that are driven by a title will have a difficult time motivating and getting their team members and employees to not only buy into the grand vision, but actually work hard and come together for a common purpose. Here are three things that all effective leaders have in common:

1. They possess a deep sense of humility.

The best coaches I ever had in football were also the coaches who had the most humility. They were always thinking about those they were leading and rarely about themselves.

In my life as a speaker I see the exact same trait in the high performing and dominant organizations that I get to spend time with. The one characteristic that all of the top executives in dominant organizations possess is humility. Top employees never want to work for or be associated with leaders who are full of themselves.

As Billy Graham once said: “The smallest package in the world is a man all wrapped up in himself.”

2. They radiate positive energy.

Just like in life, the business world is full of unexpected twists, turns and obstacles, but the most effective leaders never let the unexpected deteriorate their positive energy.

It’s your job as a leader to stay positive and strong in the face of uncertainty. Your people already go through enough with the demands of work piled on top of the hustle and bustle of life. Don’t sabotage your organization’s growth by putting energy into the wrong places.

As the leader, you set the tone. Whether that tone is positive or negative is completely up to you. If you’re not radiating positive energy, how do you expect your people to?

3. They lead by example.

This one may seem self-explanatory, but you would be shocked at the number of leaders that would never consider doing what they ask of those they lead. One of the best ways to lose the respect and trust in your people is to continually fail to lead by example.

Look at any phenomenal leader. They are self-starters. They live what they preach. They demand excellence from themselves before they ever demand excellence from anyone else.

If you’re in a leadership position and not seeing the results from your team that you had maybe hoped to see, do a quick audit and ask yourself if you are leading by example to the best of your ability. Be who you say you are, do what you say you are going to do and care like you say you care.

There are a number of different things you can do to get the results that you are looking for out of your employees and team members. I hope these three attributes help to get the ball rolling for you. Having a deep sense of humility, radiating positive energy every chance you get and leading by example doesn’t produce miraculous and instant results, but I promise over time these three characteristics bring massive results.

 

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

Your Words Have Impact, So Think Before You Speak

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Do you know of those people who fly off the handle without stopping to think about the consequences of what they’re saying? Someone who just reacts to something someone said or did and starts attacking that person with cruel accusations? The damage could be so profound, it will forever sever the relationship. In business, this could forever impact a career in a negative way.

You’ve probably observed this in others many times. Maybe even in yourself. Whether it’s at work, with friends or in some type of social situation, many people speak their minds before thinking. There are many who “fly off the handle” and don’t stop to think about the repercussions of their words. I cringe when this happens because I know people are going to get hurt, and later on people will be sorry for what they said. But the damage is done.

How important are words and speaking to business leaders? Leaders should think about words as being so powerful that they might be the main reason a leader will succeed or fail. Sure, a leader who doesn’t choose his words carefully may succeed to some degree, but the truly great leaders are great orators, as well.

Think about one of the greats: President John F. Kennedy, inaugurated on Jan. 20, 1960. He is known for his famous line: “And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Within the words we speak is an emotional potency. Each word that we use can have a colossal impact. A word from a manager or boss, may, at first glance, seem inconsequential. But never think of words as inconsequential. Instead, think of them as powerful. Words can build up or tear down. They can motivate or discourage.

Words influence others and build relationships at work and personally. They can tear down relationships. Simply put, language holds massive, colossal power to manifest change, whether it’s good or bad.

Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, considered to be one of the most Stoic philosophers who ever lived, said: “Perform every act in life as though it were your last.”

We can take this a step further and say: “Speak every word you say in life as though it were your last.”

Sometimes, it might be best to not say anything at all. I was always told that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

Choose the words that you speak very carefully because they have the potential of accomplishing nearly anything or destroying nearly anything. Just one negative comment can ruin a person’s day. A few might even ruin the person’s life. On the flip side, one positive and encouraging comment can be just enough to increase employee engagement, create healthier cultures and make more of a difference in an individual’s life than you will ever know. We tend to overlook the small things in life.

The way you speak — the attitude and tone — reflects the person you are and impacts everything around you. It can greatly contribute to your success or “non-success” both in business and your personal life. So next time, think before you speak. It will make all the difference.

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

If You Want Greatness, Take Responsibility

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“If you had to pick one quality that someone needs to possess, what would that be?” someone recently asked me.

After I was forced to give just one answer, I said, “If I had to pick just one quality, it would be taking complete and full responsibility for your life.”

Yes, there are a plethora of different qualities and habits that must be developed to truly become great, but there is no better starting point than taking complete responsibility for your life.

We live in a world where maximum results are expected with minimal effort given. If something goes wrong, it’s someone else’s fault. If you’re not happy financially, it’s the economy’s fault. If you’re not happy in your marriage, it’s your partner’s fault. If you’re not being compensated as much as you would like, the company doesn’t pay enough.

Any of those sound familiar? Chances are some hit home. It’s human nature to blame circumstances or the next person instead of taking ownership. However, in order to live a truly exceptional life, you must put an end to this way of thinking immediately.

So how can we once and for all start taking complete responsibility of our lives? Here are three ways to help get you started.

1. Decide.

It all starts with a firm decision to do so. It sounds simple, but there is a very small percentage of people who actually make the decision to take responsibility for their lives. They keep going back to their old ways and lose sight of the fact that they are the ones in the driver seat.

Force yourself to stop looking outside of yourself for things you are in control of. It’s a simple concept, but not easy by any stretch of the means. From here on out, make the firm decision that no single event or person is going to dictate your level of achievement.

2. Stop playing the blame game.

A large number of men and women from all walks of life struggle with this one, including myself from time to time. As I mentioned above, what’s easy to do is to blame your partner when a relationship gets shaky. What’s easy to do is to blame the government for a lack of financial success.

It’s absolutely imperative that you throw away every single excuse and start taking ownership in every area of your life. There is no way we can ever grab a hold of our lives completely when we are too caught up in the awful habit of playing the blame game.

3. Make a promise to yourself.

Something that has worked wonderfully for me is to write a simple creed on a notecard promising myself that taking complete responsibility for my life is something I will abide by every waking moment. It can be something as simple as, “I, Matt Mayberry, promise that I will never lose sight of taking full responsibility for my life.”

Legacies have been built and history has been made by men and women who decided to take complete ownership of their lives. Are you ready to do the same?

Originally Posted on Entrepreneur.com

20 Phenomenal Nelson Mandela Quotes

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With the recent passing of the self-less and phenomenal leader Nelson Mandela, I thought it was only right to gather some of his amazing words and share them.

Very few people have had such an impact on the world as Nelson Mandela did. When looking back on the remarkable life he lived, it’s very easy to see what an incredible man he was. His legacy will forever stay alive.

Here are 20 phenomenal Nelson Mandela quotes:

1. Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.

2. Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.

3. There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

4. Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.

5. I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles.

6. Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.

7. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

8. It always seems impossible until it’s done.

9. Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.

10. I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days.

11. A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

12. Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.

13. If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

14. It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.

15. If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.

16. There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.

17. Does anybody really think that they didn’t get what they had because they didn’t have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment?

18. We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.

19. There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way.

20. Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.