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Master of the Sword

Some leaders are masters of the sword with words and others with actions. You have ONE job to do as the leader. You have to deliver a clear, concise and a compelling message as THE Leader. It’s more about you leading in the moment, leading those who believe what you believe and challenging your people to become their very best.  Leading Elegantly is about what you do when no one’s looking and when everyone’s looking.

“You are defined by your actions, not by your words.” 

I am a history buff and especially the military leaders from Musashi to Eisenhower. One of my favorite military generals was G. S. Patton, a senior officer of the US Army who commanded the 7th Army in the Mediterranean and European theaters of WW II. He is best known for his leadership of the 3rd Army in France and Germany following the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944. One thing you may not know about old “Blood’n Guts” is he was quite the athlete competing in the 1912 Olympics in the modern pentathlon.

With thousands of soldiers under his command, Patton uttered these infamous quotes. Here’s how these quotes affect the arena of leadership in today’s environment.

Do More Than is Required of You. When someone thinks of you, they have a mental picture in their mind of why you are the way you are. There’s certainly an impression of what you do for other people, and how that message is delivered to others. Is the outward expression of you, someone who does just what it takes to stay ahead? Are you someone who ebbs and flows with your output based on some mental state or emotional feeling? Or, are you someone who routinely goes over and above in most of your efforts, because that’s who you are? You’re somewhere along this spectrum and you’re the one in control of influencing those impressions.

A Pint of Sweat Will Save a Gallon of Blood. Patton’s intent was tough training before a battle will save lives of soldiers in combat. In the 10th Mountain Division trained at Camp Hale, the soldiers called it Camp Hell. In sports, practice should be much more difficult than the actual game. Players respond and react faster and with less thought.  We cannot focus solely on outcomes because we will be disappointed with those expectations. You control your preparation. You don’t control the outcome! Being prepared and handling whatever arises puts you on the path to implement and execute freely.

Lead Me, Follow Me, or Get Out of My Way. The Elegant Leader with Voltage has the foresight to allow their people the option to follow or to lead themselves.  Too often, leaders become more focused on being followed and lose sight of the ultimate goal.  The goal of a leader is to develop more leaders! It should not matter who is leading who as long as equipping, empowering and energizing them is at the forefront of the leader’s mind. In this context, leadership is less about leading, and more about influencing with impact.

Fixed Fortifications Are a Testament to a Man’s Stupidity. Patton eluded to, anything built by man can be destroyed by him. He lived for movement and decision, and despised commanders who settled for hesitancy.  Patton led with courage and expected his commanders to lead likewise. Fixed defenses are intended to delay and are very difficult to translate into battlefield advantage. The Germans feared him for his grasp of mobile warfare. Good tactics can save even the worst strategy. Bad tactics will destroy even the best strategy

If Everyone is Thinking Alike, Then Somebody Isn’t Thinking. A basic human need to have our thinking validated as being conformist. As fragile as the human ego is, left unchecked the ego will undo every leader.  It doesn’t matter what others say, think, or do.  You don’t have to convince anyone of the validity of your thoughts or decisions.  All that’s important is the belief in yourself. See where the crowd is going and consider an alternative route. An Elegant Leader’s success is the rhythm between ego, results and relationships.

Live For Something Rather Than Die For Nothing.  There is a deeper meaning to life than shareholder value, beating EBITDA and net profit.  Patton’s quote is about duty, sacrifice, courage and service. Simon Sinek would characterize this quote as finding your ‘why’ – the higher purpose that brings you joy and fulfillment.  It’s also a warning to not waste your life in search of personal gratification. Someday, we all will die, and you never know when that will be. When you look back on your life and wonder if it meant anything, what would you feel most proud of?  What would make you feel like the world was a better place for having had you in it?

Do Everything You Ask of Those You Command. This one will go hand-in-hand with this quote, ‘no good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.’ Get off your ass! Many leaders tell me they want to be the example for their people and some put in the work. There’s only one pair of eyes looking at your team and your people, but there’s dozens, hundreds and perhaps thousands of eyes watching your every move. Do you really want to lead, then demonstrate the behaviors you expect from your people and let them know when they’re doing it right.

In Case of Doubt, Attack. Fear, uncertainty and doubt will kill everything from momentum, action, belief, confidence, assurance and more.  Do you want to know how to overcome hesitation, helplessness, anxiety, criticism, perfectionism, procrastination? Suck it up buttercup and go kick some ass. You can do this and I believe in you, damnit!

You’re Never Beaten Until You Admit It. Start the race, just start; we can figure out what’s needed, what’s working and what’s not working once we start. Run the race. It’s okay to rest along the way and think what the next move can be. You don’t know how your story will end and neither do I. Nowhere on your story will it read, ‘I gave up.’ Never, never ever quit the race. The Elegant Leader with Voltage understands the context and realizes you’ll never know how close you came to winning, to overcome if you give up. You can do it!

Patton’s quotes are about his relationships with those in his command. In order to be successful in business, you must be successful with people.  We can certainly identify and commit to doing more, doing less, start doing and stop doing “stuff.” It’s easy to focus on what matters most until extenuating circumstances occur.

As a leader, you’re challenged with numerous goals, priorities, and initiatives in addition to people and communication disconnects. As an Elegant Leader with Voltage, here’s what you can and must do:

  • Develop a generation of leaders – be candid, tell them!
  • Demonstrate daily through your observable behaviors how you value people!
  • Ensure resources for growth in their role and in leadership are available
  • Model the behaviors you want (and frankly should demand) modeled
  • Bake into your culture how important and committed leadership is

If you’re going to assemble a team that will do whatever it takes in the moment during the good times and bad, then stop settling for present circumstance.  Breakthrough from where you are today to where you want to be and learn how to be an Elegant Leader with Voltage. Email or call me for a qualified FREE session on How to Become an Elegant Leader today!

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