What’s your attitude towards others? “You can’t make the other fella feel important in your presence if you secretly feel that he is a nobody.” This is a quote from Les Giblin. What a revelation! I always said people do and respond to what they see others do in response. People know when you are sincere and when you are hypocritical. Worst of all, you know your true feelings, which are evident in your actions and deeds. If you want the best from others, give them your best. Make them feel valuable. Biblically, it is the golden rule; doing unto others as you want them to do to you. The law of reciprocity applies here.
Maya Angelou famously said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” People don’t care about your prestige, knowledge base, or high position. They want to know that you demonstrate and care about them. And show them that you stand by them. This is the yardstick upon which a person’s sense of responsibility is measured.
If you genuinely don’t want to help others but want them to help you reach an advantage, then you have problems and conflicts. When this happens, we must rely on manipulation to get people to move toward our benefit. Stop the manipulation; motivate instead! Like in any relationship, you must put something in it to get something out.
To influence people is to show them how important they are and the value they bring to the relationship, the organization, or the community. Respond kindly to people and be humane in your interactions with others. Instead of manipulating people into obedience for your advantage, admit their importance through appreciative acts.
Don’t criticize or condemn; instead, compliment.
Give honest and sincere appreciation.
Become genuinely interested in others.
Make others feel important and do it sincerely.
Give others a reason to be proud of their good deeds.
Do not, by your attitude, make people feel less important.
In the words of Sydney J Harris, “People want to be appreciated, not impressed. They want to be regarded as human beings, not as sounding boards for other people’s Egos. They want to be treated as an End in themselves, not as a means towards the gratifications of another’s vanity.” What’s your attitude towards others? I hope in 2023 you will add value to them rather than devalue them.
Each one of us is born with a unique life purpose. Whether you know it or not, you were not born to work, pay taxes, and die. You were created for more. We are here to serve each other. In the words of Muhammad Ali, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”I believe we are made up of different body parts, but each part is not only needed but also vital for the whole body to function. “To live a life that has clarity of purpose is living life upgraded, fulfilled and enjoyable in everything you do.” (Jack Canfield).
Living a purposeful life dictates your daily routines, consequent upon which time becomes very important.
Everything you do is done with a clear purpose in mind.
Every moment and every action taken is with intention, according to your purpose and plan.
For example, family is one important area to me; I wanted to connect with my family on my wife’s side as well as mine.
That meant to me reaching out to older relatives either by phone or email and volunteering to be on the committee for family reunions. I outlined my desired goals using the Destiny Action plan and the steps I would need to take to achieve these goals. Then I set a date to achieve this goal. The goal was to know — five new relatives a year. This is my third year doing this goal and the experience has been phenomenal. I fell in love with all of my family members. What an experience! To make this possible, I use the templates and instructions outlined in the Destiny Action Plan course, which is on sale for the month of December and January located within the courses section tab on this blog site. The Destiny Action Plan course is 4 modules that will guide you step by step on how to outline your specific desired goals and lay them out using the attached templates along with an instructional video. Start your New Year out well-planned and structured.
To live a life with clarity on purpose, you live a different habitual daily existence on his service. Everything you do and all of your activities are tailored to fulfilling that purpose – some would say you live a very self-disciplined life.
Quote: Napoleon hill, “there is one quality that one must possess to win and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what you want, and burning desire to possess it.” Clarity of purpose is vital for achieving success and for making dreams come true. If you have a clear direction, nothing is vague.
At every leadership webinar, I ask this one question: Who is the toughest person in the room to lead? Then, after everyone points to everyone else, I spring the correct answer on them and say, “You.”
You are the toughest person to lead in this room! Friends, the person I have the most difficult time leading is myself. This is a full-time job. I have to motivate myself. I have to discipline myself. I must protect my integrity. The list is endless.
Why is it this way? According to John Maxwell, there are two reasons:
(1) We don’t see ourselves as we see others.
(2) We are harder on others than we are on ourselves.
Human nature equips us with the ability to size up everyone in the world except ourselves. It is remarkable how most people lack self-awareness. When talking with managers, supervisors, or even team leaders, they willfully share details about their subordinates, behaviors, experienced conflicts, and sometimes plain gossip. They always have the magic bullet for how to fix them and what they need help with; however, they lack a realistic perspective of who they are. They lacked basic self-awareness of their own limiting beliefs and self-induced idiosyncrasies. To quote Psychology Today, “People judge others to avoid reckoning with potential feelings of inferiority and shame.”
John Maxwell says, “We tend to judge others according to their actions. It’s very cut and dried.”
However, we judge ourselves by our intentions. Therefore, even when we visibly fall short of our team or organizational goals and/or mission, and it was clearly a lack of leadership or judgment, we tend to let ourselves off the hook because our motives were good.
So how do you lead yourself well? A great question. Here are a few action steps.
(1) Develop self-discipline.
One day, Frederick the Great of Prussia was walking on the outskirts of Berlin when he encountered a very old man walking ramrod straight in the opposite direction. “Who are you?” Frederick asked his subject. “I am a king,” replied the old man.
“A king!” laughed Frederick. “Over what kingdom do you reign?”
“Over myself,” was the proud old man’s reply.
Discipline is simply giving ourselves a command and following it through. Self-discipline is the highest form of leadership. You are the captain of your ship, the master of your own soul. Leading yourself is a challenge, and one of the places where your character shows up is how you lead yourself. Honestly, there are days when I just want to take a break from keeping myself under control. The problem is it is not wise to take any day off.
This leads me to the second action you can take to lead yourself well.
(2) Seek accountability. Personal and professional accountability is imperative because we all have a human nature that will lead us astray.
It was once said, “People who lead themselves well know a secret: they can’t trust themselves.” The problem comes when you selfishly think you are untouchable and learn how quickly poor choices can touch you. Unfortunately, we see this behavior now in our society; people just don’t want to take responsibility or accountability.
As a young leader in the military, from time to time, my peers and I would get emails sent out by our commander for mandatory training “immediately.” Well, your whole day is interrupted. I would say, “What happened now?” Later, as all my peers would learn, another one of the men or women we worked with had to be removed from their leadership duties because they failed to lead themselves and others. They resulted in hurting others as well as themselves.
(3) Do you have an accountability partner or peer group? Empowering others to keep you accountablekeeps you in line.
I know for myself that just being aware of an upcoming session with my group allowed me to avoid acting upon poor decisions. At each session, we had a list of agreed-upon questions that gave others permission to ask. Only you know if those answers to the questions were true or not. Taking responsibility for our own actions was paramount to our success.
We are responsible for others’ actions as well as our own. Leading people is earned, not a given right!
(4) Lastly, Be Patient—with yourself.
Thomas Watson said it so aptly: “Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” People who cut corners are often categorized as impatient and lacking in self-discipline. However, if you follow through, you can achieve a breakthrough.
If you want to gain influence with people, solve problems. How you act or fail to act in those moments reveals to others just what our leadership competencies are.
Facing a personal failure. Taking a stand on an issue. Experiencing suffering or making an unpleasant choice—all these and more, when handled rightly, will either catapult us forward or eliminate our effectiveness.
So, when asked, “How do you lead the toughest person in the room?” You will have no problem answering that question.
The truth about empowerment is that it’s powerful. When a leader, schoolteacher, or parent allows those they are responsible for or have authority over to grow and expand their potential, that is exponential power!
When you empower others, you give them the license to develop and the freedom to express their talents and abilities to expand themselves and the organization.
“Empowerment has an incredible high return” (John Maxwell,2007). Empowerment is a win-win for everyone in the organization, including the employee’s life, because it helps them find meaning and purpose in their work.
To quote John Seely Brown, an expert in organizational studies, “The job of leadership today is not just to make money, it is to make meaning.”
Research shows that when an employee finds meaning in their work, they are more productive, more energetic, and have a sense of mental and physical wellbeing.
It saddens me greatly when I come across leaders who fail to empower their employees. This creates barriers within the organization that the employee cannot overcome. If these barriers remain, people leave the organization to find other organizations where they can expand and express their talents and abilities. Hence, the Great Resignation, which dominated the headlines in 2021.
There are three main reasons that leaders fail to empower their workers
Resistance to change
Lack of self-worth
Fear is the big enemy of progress—fear of losing our positions or status. So, we cross our arms to growth in our lives, which affects others. We worry about ourselves and what we may lose if we help our subordinates. With this frame of mind, we believe we will become dispensable, which creates a weak leader. This leader does not value the organization; therefore, the leader becomes a liability. The truth is when you empower others; you empower yourself. This is a powerful concept; when you elevate others, you elevate yourself. Personally, it’s an exhilaration unimaginable when I see people grow into leadership positions that I once held. When you become valuable to the organization, you become indispensable.
Resistance to change
Coming up through the military ranks, I found that the military was ever-evolving, with new training, new equipment, and new policies. This was because, in the bigger picture, the world was changing, new enemies were on the rise, and threats to our national security and their militaries were introducing more sophisticated weaponry, which threatened our sovereignty as a nation.
To stay competitive in this changing world, we had to make modifications to our forces, so a change was inevitable.
When you empower people, you encourage them to grow and innovate, as change equals progress. In the military, change was an accepted norm. To maintain the competitive edge in any organization, change is inevitable.
Effective leaders embrace change, leaders are agents of change.
As a leader, if you are self-conscious about how you look or what people will think of you when you stand in front of them, you will not be an effective leader, as you do not have the confidence to lead others.
“Self-conscious people rarely become good leaders” (John Maxwell).
Throughout my life, when in leadership positions both in the military and in civilian life, I was not always well-liked, but I was fair. I always had this adage to work my way out of a job. So, when I saw a subordinate desiring more responsibility, they were mentored and trained in the next highest position. When they proved they could handle the next step, they were put in a position of authority. I was very successful in this approach in developing leaders within the organization.
Throughout my years, I developed “thick skin.” Leaders must have a strong sense of self-worth. As a leader, you must believe in yourself and the mission, then people will believe in the mission also.
I love the phrase “follow me”. This saying refers to an army infantry soldier charging forward into battle while suggesting others follow them. This should be a leader’s motto, not being self-conscious of what others think.
My encouragement to you is that empowerment of individuals assures individual and organizational success. This translates into the organization having a competitive advantage in its industry. This also enhances the workplace culture within the organization. Remember, whatever leadership role you play in the organization, if you allow people to be creative, innovative, and have the freedom to grow and develop, your job becomes easy. You begin to work your way out of that job and transition to a new one. Think of yourself as a servant and not the taskmaster as a leader.
Maxwell, J (2007). The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Harper Collins Leadership.
Today diversity and inclusion efforts are a part of the core strategy amongst top organizations, no longer are most companies giving lip service that in order to be competitive in a global workforce, a diverse workforce is necessary.
Although the business case for diversity and inclusion (D&I) may be clear to you, everyone in your organization may not be on board. One reason is that while people usually understand the benefits of D&I in theory, they sometimes find them harder to relate to their everyday experiences at work. Even teams that are highly effective because they are diverse might not connect their performance to their composition.
Not having your employees on board can put your organization’s efforts to build a diverse and inclusive brand at risk. To create a culture of inclusion that everyone subscribes to is not a quick and easy task. If you want to prevent a disconnect between your D&I goals and the on-the-ground experiences of your employees and clients, here are five pointers to bear in mind.
1. LEADERSHIP PLAYS A CRITICAL ROLE An organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts will fail without leadership commitment. As important as bottom-up initiatives are, diversity and inclusion need to be embedded in the way the organization operates. It needs to be a strategic priority and not an optional add-on. It’s the leaders who show what is important for the organization. They are also the role models who shape the organizational culture.
2. EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE ON BOARD If any of your employees feel excluded from diversity initiatives, they will most likely not subscribe to the messaging. Make sure you consult regularly with staff representing all the different groups in your workplace to get their input and have them shape your diversity and inclusion activities.
3. GOOD COMMUNICATION IS KEY To ensure that everyone on your team sees the link between diversity, inclusion and business success, it is crucial for leadership to be thoughtful and consistent in communicating the reasons behind D&I efforts.
4. START AT THE BEGINNING The hiring and onboarding process is the first contact a new employee will have with your organization and can leave a lasting impression. Look at your recruitment and onboarding procedures. Where do you distribute your job postings? What questions do you ask in an interview? What does your onboarding process look like? Simple things like assigning a new employee a mentor or creating a list of frequently used acronyms can be quite helpful.
5. INCLUSION IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION Being inclusive is something you need to keep doing, consciously, again and again. An organization should regularly examine its practices and policies through a D&I lens and provide training to employees so they all have the awareness, skills and knowledge required to build a more inclusive work culture.
It might seem overwhelming at times, but through collaboration and taking small actions, you will make progress. As the famous proverb goes, “the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”hey are diverse might not connect their performance to their composition.
by Anna Kostecka
Are Your Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Working?