There’s No Such Thing as Perfect

An online survey listed all the qualities people EXPECT from ‘perfect’ Leaders:  

They speak for exactly twelve minutes.
They are 44 years of age and have been leading for 25 years.
They work from 7 am until midnight every day.
They frequently praise others, but never upset anyone.
They wear nice clothes, buy good books, drive a nice car, give generously to the poor and have a low salary.
They are always available, always upbeat, positive, motivating and are always in the office when needed. Oh, and, 

They are also very good-looking!

Of course, we all know that there is no such thing as THE ‘perfect leader’. Nevertheless, daunted by the high expectations people have of their work leaders, I felt both excited and a little overwhelmed by the responsibility when I stepped into my ‘big-boy’ leadership role for a multi-national. That day, I wrote in my journal, I would lead everyone with integrity of heart, a cool head and with skillful hands. It’s still my mantra today.

“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is… on a football field, in an army, or in an office.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th US President and Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Western Europe during World War II

Here are seven characteristics of great leaders who lead with a warm heart, a cool mind and busy, happy hands:

1.Integrity and Skill

Great leadership is rare.  Elegant Leadership with Voltage is NOT rare! Look around the world today – do you see many countries that are led well?  A country, a community, a culture, a company are ALL nothing more than a group of people with a common set of values and beliefs. The disconnect comes when the leader is not as effective as they know they must be to be successful, and here’s the point, they allow the disconnect to, 1) persist – ignoring a potential problem is an initial problem. There’s a good bit of time between dissention and rebellion; know the difference and act accordingly 2) pervade – when you allow dissenters opinions to run the asylum, you’re not leading. Listen and engage them.

Provide honest, direct feedback on what’s going on, where you are today, why it matters and how YOUR leadership is going to get them to where they all want to be. Stop abdicating your role as leader, step up and LEAD! This is Elegant Leadership.

When you lead your people, your organization through the ‘wilderness’ safely, take good care of them they have nothing to fear. Dissention, disengagement, and rebellion is a company’s emotional reaction to a lack of leadership. Stop waiting for something to happen and go out and make it happen. A defining, healthy and prosperous culture is your LAST competitive advantage.

Eventually, people find, gravitate and move forward favorably on behalf of the rare examples of great, though not perfect, leadership. The Elegant Leader serves the people. They are connected to them. They earn the right to advance and they have their people’s back, even if they haven’t earned there’s yet. They lead first and eat last. Elegant Leadership is beyond servant leadership!

2. Integrity of heart

Simply put, ‘integrity’ is the opposite of ‘hypocrisy’. The word integrity comes from the Latin integer meaning ‘whole’. It describes an undivided life, a ‘wholeness’ that comes from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character – when no one’s looking they do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons without any expectation of anything in return. Why? Because it’s the right and honorable thing to do. It means acting according to the values, beliefs, and principles we claim to hold.

The care or heart of your people, your employees, your suppliers and vendors and your customers must be done with integrity of heart. This is a most important characteristic. Many leaders have reflected on the importance of integrity in their role. Here’s one example:

Former US President Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Western Europe during World War II said, ‘The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is… on a football field, in an army, or in an office.’

3. Busy Hands

Over three thousand years ago, David was a skillful shepherd who had learned to protect the flock with his sling. At age thirty, he went on to lead the people of Israel with great skill for forty years. There are leadership skills to be learned. We learn these skills through watching and following good examples, listening to the wisdom of others, asking great questions of those we admire, learning together with our peers and, above all, through practice.

You have a responsibility and a purpose to lead well in business, in your life, your community and beyond. Always be working on your craft with integrity, with the integrity of heart and with skillful hands. While your head must stay in the game with calm and your heart in the right place, you need to be seen modeling and demonstrating the clear, concise and compelling message of your vision and how, together, we’re going to get there. Get busy and lead!

4. Man Up and MOVE

I could just as easily started this paragraph with love, security, and sensitivity, but most of you would be turned off as being ‘too fluffy’ – I’ll acquiesce to your request, for now. Some of you understand the movement we’ve created #ElegantLeader2020 and are excited to be a part of a group of several hundred and growing, leaders extending across twelve countries thus far. Many of you have delighted in the message being delivered and have personalized it to meet your specific needs and situations. Good on you for you have a story to tell, too and I’m just as excited to see where this goes and how I can support the movement going forward!

We are looking for more men and women to step up, step out and lead. It’s been said, there are those who watch what happen, those who wonder what happened and those who make it happen. Another great writer wrote there’s only one in four who get it right. Be the One!

Several times a year I polish up my firearms training and bake in the desert sun of the southeast. I always enjoy meeting new people there and seeing old friends. One instructor gets incredibly animated when students don’t move when their gun is out of battery (empty). You’re a sitting duck! One of the first rules I learned decades ago is to never stand on the ‘X.’ It marks the spot alright; the one where you die if you don’t move. Thus, MOVE is mobile operators ventilate easily – means you continue to breathe when you’re moving. So, move your ass and lead your people before it’s too late and you have a real problem on your hands.

5. Love

I couldn’t go any further without giving love it’s due credit. Love and leadership go hand in hand. Elegant Leadership is love in action. If you’re bristling at this point, then perhaps Elegant Leadership isn’t for you. I’ll ask you a simple question, ‘How’s what you’re doing working for you? If you’re not getting the results you must have, if you’re not growing deep strong relationships up, down and across your organization, then maybe you’re the problem.

If you don’t understand people, then you don’t understand business! Does this message fly in the face of everything you learned? Maybe it’s not the message, but the delivery where you’re going to gain the traction you must have to get your company and your employees to flourish. If you love people you will get close enough to them you’ll ‘smell the sheep.’ You’ll understand not only the ugly truth about yourself but the ugly truth of your people and not run, hide or put up barriers. Click on the link and get a free assessment on the Ugly Truth.

6. Today and Every Day is Serve Day

For those of you who were willing to sacrifice for your country and put on the uniform without your name on the back of your ‘jersey,’ you know all too well what servant leadership is and means. The brotherhood you developed with your fellow soldiers has likely followed you every day of your life since. And those of you who, for whatever reason, haven’t experienced that selfless sacrifice of service understand ‘their why’ was, is and always will be, “because they would have done it for me, too.”

Jesus set the model of servant leadership. As Oswald Sanders wrote, ‘True leadership is achieved not by reducing people to one’s service, but in giving oneself in selfless service to them.’ Elegant Leadership with Voltage is far more than servant leadership and being extraordinary. It’s intentional void of any personal return. However as financially responsible leaders ROI is critical of any initiative.

The ROI of ELV is at minimum 5-10X, and yes that’s a bold claim. Based on all of the clients I have worked with and what I know to be possible for you and everyone else, I can’t imagine why you would be the ONE person that wouldn’t get results – I doubt you’d be the exception here. Here’s my commitment to you: when you follow this proven system, take it seriously, and do the work in front of you, it’s more than reasonable to expect to achieve the results many others have achieved. What we share, train and teach you is to follow the process and trust the process. You can continue to implement Elegant Leadership for years to come. That’s why I make a guarantee for my clients.

7. Courage

The single most important characteristic a leader must have when things get difficult is courage. It’s the fool who doesn’t feel fear. The courageous leader recognizes fear and will still face the enemy, the problem, the situation with intestinal fortitude and the commitment to fulfill the need at hand. Elegant Leadership is to man up or woman up, have that same love and care for your people and help protect your people and your company from the wolves. You have the courage to be willing to make sacrifices on their behalf when you follow the principles of Elegant Leadership with Voltage.

There will be times when things aren’t going well, in fact, you may face several corrections along the way. The courageous leader realizes this phenomenon and continues the valiant message of their vision and how integral every employee’s contribution matters. How valued each relationship internally and externally are, and by demonstrating the principles of Elegant Leadership the organization flourishes and surpasses the results set forth early on. 

8. Compassion

The image of a sheepdog is a popular one over the last decade-plus. There are lots of sheep around and a lot of misguided people offended by the least little thing anymore. I recently had a peer chastise me for celebrating our country’s independence ‘to promote my business.’ Really? The message had nothing to do with business. We’re all in this country together, and if we don’t make some significant progress towards reuniting a broken nation, there will be nothing left to protect.

We’ve witnessed far too much emasculation of men, men abdicating their role as leaders and women who’ve had to pick up what we dropped and carry the leader banner forward. Sadly, we are living in a community and a culture with a generation of weak-minded souls who lack compassion and the interdependence to influence one another for positive evolution.

The Elegant Leader is going to ask, ‘How can I help you?’ ‘How can I support you?’ They will rescue their people in their times of trouble because of their compassionate attitude towards doing what’s right. We don’t right size an organization because of some statistic where we failed as the leader because of an arbitrary number. And we don’t bonus a leader for sacrificing people to hit that arbitrary number either – we have the system backward. It’s long since time we updated a forty-year-old system that’s been broken for decades.

Whether you believe this next statement or not, you and your business are honored when you provide ‘hospitality’ to those less fortunate. The Elegant Leader gives the same compassion for their people, the marginalized as well as the Rockstars. They lead, serve and are willing to do whatever it takes to support and bring out the potential in every one of their people – whether there’s 20, 200 or 20,000 on board.

Stop repeating the same mistakes in principle and expect a different result. How long can you continue to isolate and insulate yourself from the realities of what’s really going on in your business? Get up and lead! Whether you come along the Elegant Leadership with Voltage journey or not is your decision. You don’t have to have the title to lead. You don’t need grey hair or zip your pants up from the front. When your time is done here, I hope you can say you gave your best. Feel free to share your thoughts, comments, and feedback here. I also invite you to access my private calendar here to have a conversation.

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