What are some of the best things people have shared with you as a leader? Have you ever written them down or do you keep them somewhere so you remember? You absolutely should. Every seasoned leader learns from the past. Because if you don't don't learn from the past you will inevitably face the same challenges as before. You want to make sure you hold onto nuggets of leadership truth!
So let me share with you some nuggets of leadership that I have received from people I know and not something I read in a book:
1. Some time it rains, some times it pours - This nugget was needed in a time where I was really down. Life was hard. Work was hard. Everything felt like a struggle. I was talking to a friend I respect who had led much longer than me. We might not love to stand in the rain but rain is critical for things to grow. I felt like I was living in a desert. I didn't see a lot of growth and it felt like there wasn't a whole lot of rain to help. I asked the question, "Why are we not seeing the growth that equals our work?" To help the metaphor it was like I was saying, "Why isn't God providing more rain on these things we are trying to grow for him?" This person who had led three times as long as I had said, "Sometimes God lets it rain and some times he lets it pour." It was so freeing to me. I wasn't responsible for when it would rain or how much it would rain, I was just responsible for preparing the ground to receive the rain. Did that metaphor just blow your mind?
2. Never miss the big stuff, surprise them with the small stuff - If you want to really be successful relationally this is the best advice I have ever received. If something big is happening to someone you lead then you should be there when it happens. Period. When we show up at the big stuff in people's lives we demonstrate we care about them. However, even better is showing up or recognizing the everyday things happening for the people we lead. If you want to earn the right to lead people in a big way, make sure you are showing up for the things they don't think anyone else cares about. When we show up for the small things in people's lives we demonstrate we value them.
3. It's only as big of a deal as you make it - You might want to read that again. Drama is a multiplier. And in your leadership environment or organization drama can spin out of control. Leaders will often deal with hard realities and address certain problems. When a leader decides to be dramatic about a situation the effect is others become dramatic about it as well. I'm not saying this is permission to hide from conflict or ignore problems. But you can take on most conflicts or problems without escalating it to a cancerous level.
4. Your goals should not be dependent on others - This one was a real eye opener but it absolutely made sense. A mistake young, aggressive leaders make is setting team or individual goals that are dependent on the behaviors of others. For example let's say we start a leadership conference. The wrong goal would be - 100 people at the first event. Now, can you truly influence 100 people to show up? Do you have control of all 100 people that they will be in their seats when the event starts? Of course not. What can you control? You can control quality of location. You can control the quality of content. You can control how people are greeted and welcomed. You can control the material provided. So set your goals on the things you can control instead of being dependent on the actions of others.
We have to learn from people who have been before us. We also have to share with those we lead the lessons we have learned from others. In that spirit, what's one of the best leadership nuggets you have received? Please leave your comment below!