Perhaps the two best kept secrets of leadership are these:
The less you do, the more you accomplish.
The less you do, the more you enable others to accomplish.
The problem was that somewhere along the way I had bought into the myth that a good leader has to be good at everything. So I operated under the assumption that I had to upgrade my weaknesses into strengths. After all, who would follow a leader who wasn’t well rounded?
My real value to our organization lay within the context of my giftedness, not the number of hours I worked.
Identify the areas in which you are most likely to add unique value to your organization—something no one else can match—then leverage your skills to their absolute max. That’s what your employer expected when he put you on the payroll.
Read the biographies of the achievers in any arena of life. You will find over and over these were not “well-rounded” leaders. They were men and women of focus.
Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader. Instead, discover you zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else.
Leadership is about getting things done through other people.
Leadership is about multiplying your efforts, which automatically multiplies your results.
We must never forget that the people who follow us are exactly where we have led them. If there is no one to whom we can delegate, it is our own fault.
Upgrade your performance by playing to your strengths and delegating your weaknesses. This one decision will do more to enhance your productivity than anything else you do as a leader.
You are most valuable where you add the most value. Concentrate on that one thing.
The secret of concentration is elimination.
Full schedules rarely equal maximum productivity. In fact, I would argue the opposite is true. The most productive people I know seem to have more, not less, discretionary time than the average person. They control their schedules rather than allowing their schedules to control them.
80% of what you achieve in your job comes from 20% of the time spent.
Don’t allow your time to get eaten up with responsibilities and projects that fall outside your core competencies. That is a recipe for mediocrity.
Narrow your focus to increase your productivity and expand your influence within your organization.
Leaders must challenge the process precisely because any system will unconsciously conspire to maintain the status quo and prevent change.
A leader is someone who will say publicly what everybody else is whispering privately. It is not his insight that sets a leader apart from the crowd. It is his courage to act on what he sees, to speak up when everyone else is silent.
Leaders are not always the first to see a need for change, but they are always the first to act. And once they move away from the pack, they are positioned to lead.
The lesson I have rehearsed frequently with my kids: “If you don’t conquer your fear, you are going to miss out on some great things in life.” Often I find myself basically forcing them to try things they would not attempt on their own.
What do I believe is impossible to do in my field…but if it could be done would fundamentally change my business?
Most of us lead busy but undisciplined lives. We have ever expanding “to-do” lists, trying to build momentum by doing, doing, doing and doing more. And it rarely works. Those who built the good to great companies, however, made as much use of the “stop doing lists” as the “to-do” lists.” They displayed a remarkable discipline to unplug all sorts of extraneous junk…They displayed remarkable courage to channel their resources into only one or a few arenas. Jim Collins
Leaders don’t hide from the truth. The pain of discovery is the first step on the path to change. If you are going to fear anything, fear not knowing the truth about what’s happening around you. In the world of leadership, denial is analogous to receiving the last rites.
A good leadership coach will do everything in his power to help you close the gap between your potential and your performance. That may entail brutal honesty. Why? Because the painful truth is the fast track to increased potential.
You can lead without character. But character is what makes you a leader worth following.
Character is the will to do what’s right even when it’s hard.
Leaders committed to maintaining their character will often say no to what many would perceive to be the opportunity of a lifetime. The willingness to say no is what sets the leader with character apart from the pack.
Character is not made in crisis, it’s only exhibited.
The best place to begin preparing is the end. Character development always begins with the end in mind. What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want your best friend to say at your funeral? How about your children? Your spouse? What do you want your kids to tell your grandchildren about you? How would you want the people who knew you best to describe your life? In other words, what do you want to be?
This exercise led me to my personal definition of success. I narrowed it down to nine words: available, accountable, dependable, generous, honest, loyal, pure, sensitive, and transparent. Those nine terms form a perimeter around my behavior. For me, dishonesty is not merely a sin. It represents failure. To say yes to speaking engagements at the expense of being available to my children is not simply mis-prioritization. It is failure.
Leaders worth following predetermine their response to invitations and opportunities that have the potential to sink them morally and ethically. While uncertainty is unavoidable in the external world of leadership, next generation leaders have no uncertainty when it comes to guarding their character.
Talent and determination determine your potential; character determines your legacy.
Choose to do what’s right even when it’s hard. The more successful you become the harder it will be to maintain integrity. Small compromises early in the journey will make it easier to compromise on the big things later on.