Monthly Archives: December 2014

Great leadership advice for 2015

The following is a copy of a blog post by Mark Miller that gives anyone who aspires to lead others some great advice on how we can become a better leader in 2015. Happy New Year – and may it be a one of great promise and reward for you and your family. Enjoy!

Fred

If I Had a Magic Wand …
By Mark Miller on Dec 03, 2014

Each year about this time, I begin to focus intently on the upcoming year. I reflect on the past twelve months and strategize about how to make the next year more impactful. My conclusion, time and time again – there is no magic pill – only hard work will suffice. However, if I had a magic wand, I would grant myself the power to do the following…

Think others first. This is the genesis of servant leadership. If I slip into the quicksand of self, I will not lead for long. People want to follow a leader who has their best interests at heart. Servant leaders don’t think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less often.tweet_bird

Be more courageous – daily. Courage is the catalyst for leadership. Without courage, it is impossible to lead well. I’ll not wait until the big opportunity. Courage, when absent on a daily basis, will ensure the big moment will never appear. I will continue to pursue the courageous path.

Own mistakes and share praise. I will not blame others – the best leaders don’t. They have high levels of personal responsibility. I’ll also be quick to give praise. This single resolution, if honored, will help me and you earn the respect of those we lead.

Defeat pessimism in my life. Pessimism is cancer for a leader. It will destroy our influence. As Napoleon said, “A leader is a dealer in hope.” We must be able to see a preferred future and believe we can help create it. People don’t rally to be part of a future created by pessimists.

Learn something every day. Leaders are learners – period. If I stop learning, my leadership journey is over. It may be a while before it actually ends, but it’s like cutting down a living tree – the tree will still have leaves on the branches for a while, but the tree is already dead – even if it doesn’t know it yet.

Walk the talk. I’m not perfect, not by a long shot. However, the people we lead don’t really expect perfect. What they expect, and deserve, is the integrity that comes with attempting, on a daily basis, to align our words and our actions. People always watch the leader.

Value people and results.The best leaders value results and relationships. Most of us have a natural bias towards one or the other. To get the results we desire, we must value both the people and their production. If you can get results without others, you’re not leading.

Solve critical performance issues. When we focus time, energy and resources on our problems or opportunities, we make progress. This applies to my life, the team and the organization. We must separate the superficial from the critical. To solve the wrong problem produces limited benefits, at best.

Focus on individual team members – not just the team. Each member of the team is unique. What motivates and inspires one is not always the same for the next. Managers strive to treat people the same – leaders treat people differently.

Fight the gravitational pull of today. My role, and yours, is to create the future. I must invest enough time and mental energy to see it, marshal the resources to fund the journey and help chart the course to make it a reality. Be careful… without focused effort, today always pushes out tomorrow.

Magic wand or not, these are the activities that will make me a better leader in 2015. Now, I must decide how to turn these aspirations into practice. Until Harry Potter shows up to assist me, I’ll have to invest focused time, energy and effort in order to make progress.

How about you? What will help you be a better leader in 2015? What is your plan to make it happen?

(From “Great Leaders Serve” blog)

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The Christmas Truce

Exactly one hundred years ago a remarkable event took place in the midst of the carnage of the Great War. I’ll tell you about it.

Every year, Sainsbury’s, Britain’s third-largest supermarket chain, airs a special Christmas ad. While the ads are often memorable, this year’s went viral as soon as it appeared.

It was a dramatic depiction of a legendary—in the best sense of that term—yet little-known event in World War I, the “Christmas Truce.”

By Christmas 1914, nearly one million men had died in less than five months of fighting along the Western Front. Men who had expected the war to be over by Christmas had settled into fortified trenches, and the war into a deadly stalemate.

But in the week leading up to Christmas something amazing happened. In scattered areas along the front, British and German soldiers began to cross the area between the trenches—known as “no man’s land”—and exchange small gifts and Christmas greetings.

Graham Williams of the Fifth London Rifle Brigade wrote that “First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words ‘Adeste Fideles.’ And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing—two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”

His German counterpart, Josef Sewald of the 17th Bavarian Regiment, recalled, “I shouted to our enemies that we didn’t wish to shoot and that we make a Christmas truce. I said I would come from my side and we could speak with each other. First there was silence, then I shouted once more, invited them, and the British shouted ‘No shooting!’”

This outbreak of human decency in the midst of what was arguably the most senseless carnage in human history culminated on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 1914. Along the front, some, but not all, British and German officers negotiated a 48-hour truce. As depicted in the ad, men on both sides sang together, exchanged gifts, and even played soccer.

Not surprisingly, there were those in both countries that considered the truce to be treasonous. As history tells us, they got their way, and the war dragged on for nearly four more years at a cost of at least eight million additional lives.

Exactly one hundred years later the story still moves us, not simply because men abstained from fighting—these were not the only informal truces during WWI. But because it strikes us as fitting that if there were one day when men would turn aside from slaughtering, it should be Christmas.

By Eric Metaxas, on Breakpoint.org

Sent from my iPad

Come and behold Him!

A great Christmas message from Max Lucado:

“The world was different this week. We forgot our compulsion with winning, wooing, and warring. We looked outward toward the star of Bethlehem. More than in any other season, His name was on our lips. And the result? For a few precious hours our heavenly yearnings intermeshed and we became a chorus. “Come and behold Him” we sang, stirring even the sleepiest of shepherds and pointing them toward the Christ-child. Immanuel. He is with us. God came near.

In a few hours lights will come down and trees will be thrown out. Soon December’s generosity will become January’s payments and the magic will begin to fade. I want to savor the spirit just a bit more. To pray that those who beheld Him today will look for Him next August. How much more could He do if we thought of Him every day!”

Merry Christmas!

Fred

Sent from my iPad