What Hand Were You Dealt?

Leadership is hard. It’s a difficult calling and responsibility and one many will quit or abandon along the way. If you finish life and haven’t left a mark or made an impact that was significant to another person’s life, you won’t be content. Do you have a feeling of discontent? What are you willing to do with your life that describes the deep passion that moves you to make a difference? My discontent is to shout from the rooftops how you can be an extraordinary leader – an Elegant Leader.

1. Will You Lead?

Leaders shape the lives of many and for that reason, leadership is revered work. It’s a venerable responsibility, therefore it deserves commitment and purposeful development.

But what exactly makes for extraordinary leadership? My search for extraordinary leadership was born from this unquenchable passion to be a better leader. While I quickly gravitated to studying the lives of historical world leaders and biblical heroes, extraordinary emerged for me in one of the most foundational elements of my faith – #ManUp

Jesus was being challenged with controversial questions about taxes and the resurrection. The final question posed to him was, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” He responded with a fundamental biblical truth known as the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Then he proceeded to give those questioning him the second-greatest commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” The Great Commandment has enormous implications for us as leaders.

Who is in your life who has modeled extraordinary leadership?

What set them apart as an extraordinary leader?

When Jesus asked us to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, he was essentially saying we should love God with all of ourselves – with everything in us. When he says love your neighbor as yourself, again the implication is to love with all of who you are.  Elegant Leadership means leading with all of who you are – Voltage. Leadership requires all of you. To not give all of you would be to shortchange God and others of the natural gifts you’ve been given.

2. Leading With Heart

The heart of a leader is the truest part of who they are. Your heart is the center of your emotions, desires, and wishes. Your heart is what most connects you with others. “Love God. Love others” begins here in the heart. It’s the relational dimension of leadership.  Remember, ego, results and relationships all in rhythm.

Leading from the heart is about earning influence through relationships rather than authority. It’s developing the art of emotional intelligence. When we lead from the heart, we see others as living, breathing humans with stories, emotions, families, strengths, failures, tragedies and joys. When we see those we lead as human, we seek to relate with them through our leadership gifts to understand one another through emotional connection.

What is one way that you could encourage or connect with your team this week?

Who could you spend time with to learn more about their personal story?

Leading from the heart means understanding the power of connection: knowing that one of our greatest human needs is to be known. We want to believe that we matter. We sincerely long for those who lead us to see us as individuals; to see our unique potential and contribution. We want to help call it out in us, and to affirm what we bring and who we are matter to the greater story.

The heart of leadership is the start of leadership. When we connect with the heart, we earn influence to lead with soul, mind, and strength. Every relational connection you make gives you greater opportunity to lead. Consider your relational leadership influence:

How are you connecting with those you lead?

How do they know you value them?

How do they know their work affects the entire team?

How well do you know their stories, what inspires them and motivates them?

3. You’re Dealt Self-Control

Self-control means to have full grip or control over yourself. A firm grasp over thoughts, attitude, desires, and ambitions. Our body has to serve the spirit and soul and not vice versa.  Elegant Leaders train the body to listen to the soul. For example, I know my body would prefer to sleep in ’til 7am rather than get up, get out and workout. I know my body would prefer a great steak meal in place of fasting.

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Proverbs 25: 28)

There is need for self-control in the thought life too. “Mind is a monkey” states a Tamil proverb meaning the thoughts jump from one to another like a wandering monkey. The mind can stray from good thoughts to bad thoughts easily. The Elegant Leader will immediately apply the brake and stop such wanderings. A city without walls means to be exposed to danger, enemy attack and ridicule. If you or a leader lacks self-control, it means they are in danger of temptation and attacks. Have the self-control to #ManUp.

4. Leading With Love

Jesus demonstrated sacrificial, gracious, and generous love even towards sinners, rebels, and ungodly. He expects the same kind of love towards fellow believers and fellow human beings. Elegant Leaders have their people’s backs, always. this sacrificial sense of self is leading with love.  “I have your back, even if I haven’t earned yours yet.” Actions and behaviors always precede a movement.

We live in a ‘selfie’ culture. And this culture is obsessed with self and money. How do I know I can trust you? How do I know you’ll be there? We won’t just show up one day and know we’re looking out for one another! In business, we can’t even agree on who should get the credit for this project or that. How are we going to rely on one another?

“If you don’t understand people, then you don’t understand business.” – Simon Sinek

What does it mean to have someone’s back? The expression means you’re watching out for another person, taking care and protecting them from harm. They are there to help you out, watch out for you, and take care of the things you’re likely to miss – a second set of eyes, and hands supporting you in word and deed.

By doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason without receiving anything in return so others may gain is servant leadership – it is what gives us Voltage! We tend to be hesitant in relying on someone else who hasn’t yet proven themselves. History has a way of teaching us how not to make that mistake again. However, since the early 1980’s, businesses to this day have not learned from that failed experiment of balancing the books by getting rid of people.

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