There are so many dimensions to leadership and it is most certainly a process not a destination. I want to share with you a training I received from a mentor of mine, Greg Smith, in August 2013. He shared the five things leaders do at Advocare Success School in August 2013. His training challenged me and convicted me of some areas I needed to grow in. I am certain one or more of these insights will do the same for you.
#1 Zero Gossip
This sounds simple and it is. This sounds obvious and it is. However, I know for me and many people I observe this is easier said than done. We know that we should not gossip yet so often we find ourselves in situations where we wind up doing it just a little (or a lot) in order to fit in many social settings. I have found that so many people who gossip are not even intentionally setting out to gossip. We just wind up doing it because that is what everyone else does and all of us are affected by our environments. Here are three questions I heard a pastor ask to determine if what we are saying is gossip.
Is it necessary?
Is it nice?
Is it true?
If you are repeating something you have heard, but cannot prove or do not know it to be true you are gossiping. If you are saying something about another person that does not make them look good you are gossiping. Have you ever heard the expression, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all.”? There is a lot of wisdom in that statement.
Gossip is poison. When we gossip we are speaking negativity about someone of over someone. In life we reap what we sow. Choose to sow positivity into the lives of others around you. In order to remove gossip from our lives we must become intolerant of it. If I ever find myself with gossipers I remove myself from their presence as fast as possible and/or I tell them I do not gossip and ask to change the subject
#2 Zero Complaining
This one might be the biggest challenge for me. As humans we are sinful by nature and self-centered. When we are self-centered and selfish we can very quickly complain when things are not the way we would like them to be or someone makes a decision we do not agree with. When things do not go the way we planned or something happens that negatively impacts us we still have the freedom to choose how we respond.
Instead of complaining about that thing or person we didn’t like we can choose to adjust our perspective. No matter what happens we are still blessed in so many ways. I have had to discipline myself to focus on all of the blessings in my life that I am grateful for. What Are You Grateful For?
Do you know someone who complains all of the time? How do you feel after listening to them complain for 10+ minutes? Do you feel drained? I know I do. In order to remove complaining from our lives we must also become intolerant of complaining and choose to be grateful on a daily basis.
#3 Speak Increase Into Others
This was not a strength of mine, but has since then become a great strength for me. We live in a world full of negativity. In our jobs, homes, churches, and schools we can encounter so many negative relationships and messages. When we speak to someone who says positive things to us it builds us up. EVERYONE likes having Words Of Life spoken into them. When we become life speakers others are naturally going to be attracted to us and they will want to follow us. Leadership is about influencing others and in order to influence people they have to like us. I encourage you to daily choose to Speak Life. A simple way to do this is to adopt the discipline of always observing and commenting on at least one thing you admire in another person.
#4 Listen Better Than You Speak
I am a man and I like to fix things. I see myself as a problem solver. When someone starts describing a problem they do not even have to get half way through what they are saying and I am already telling them their solution. Isn’t that great of me? Not exactly.
While problem solving is an extremely important skill there is something that is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT when it comes to building relationships. That is listening. People just want to be heard. All of us get so caught up in saying what we want to that we hardly slow down and practice the discipline of listening. If we really want to increase our influence with others we must master the discipline of listening.
Being an active listener number one requires us to close our mouths and open our ears and our hearts. When we are speaking to someone we need to look them in the eye AND pay attention to what they are saying. We need to develop the skill of asking people questions about themselves and being quiet long enough to let them answer. Try this out and you tell me what happens. Too few people ever respect and honor others enough to listen to what they have to say. When we listen to others they will be able to tell we genuinely care which will again cause our influence to rise.
#5 Create An Environment Where Everyone Feels Safe
This lesson has taken me a while to wrap my mind around and I still have A LOT of work to do in this area. As leaders we are responsible to help our organizations, teams, and families, to get results. We need goals and we must work towards achieving them. With that in mind our people have to realize we care about them more than our goals.
How do we respond when crises arise? Do we affirm others and let them know how much they are appreciated? Do others feel they can trust us if they have a problem? A great resource that has helped me grow in my relationships as a leader is John Maxwell’s The 5 Levels of Leadership:. I encourage you to read it and implement it in your business or home life.
As we grow into positive leaders whom others want to be around our leadership becomes significantly more effective. This journey is very challenging, but it is worth it.
Question: Which of these five areas do you need to grow in the most? What is one thing you can commit to doing in order to grow in that area? Comment below