I decided to do something a little different in this week’s post. As a loyal reader you know that in my bi-monthly emails I include a quote which supports or enhances the topic I am sharing. Each time I prepare those emails, I pour through hundreds of quotes from amazing people and in doing so I receive new insights for myself and others. In fact, I often stumble across blog posts and articles which highlight the author’s favorite quotes. So this week, I’d like to share my favorite quotes on leadership with you!
Fortunately, I don’t have to search too hard to recall my favorite thoughts on leadership. In fact, I wrote a book on that topic entitled, “People Leadership 30 Proven Strategies To Ensure Your Team’s Success” So here are my favorites in no particular order, but should you want to read them all (and I highly recommend this), you can easily buy my book on Amazon now. (Shameless self promotion :))
“In the end, I’ve found, people like the direct approach. It’s much more valuable to them to have a leader who’s absolutely clear and open than to have one who soft-soaps or talks in circles.” Bill Parcells
I love this quote because all too often in business and in life, I hear people trying to dance around an important or sensitive issue. You know, it’s like listening to a political debate. I must admit I stopped watch them a long time ago because none of the candidates ever gave a clear, concise, direct response. People need clarity to get results. As a leader be very specific about your expectations and clearly communicate them.
“Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.” Malcolm Stevenson Forbes
We tend to think of diversity as physical differences like race, gender, culture or age; however, in this statement Forbes introduces the concept of diversity in thought or ideas. As a leader, you are 100% guaranteed to have diversity on your team because no two people are alike in this world. It is essential to empower your team members to share their ideas and be open to listening to them. You must set the example for appreciating that there is value in everyone’s input.
“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere.” Ronald Reagan
Amen! If you are the type of person who wants to do it all by yourself, you are a Boss and not a Leader so please don’t have people working with you or for you. However, if you are a true Leader, you will work diligently to find the right people for the job who are not just like you but can enhance your skill set. If you hire the right person and not just a person to fill the job, you will have no trouble delegating and moving out of their way.
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” James Humes
Communication comes in all forms written, spoken and unspoken aka body language. People are listening to and watching you at all levels. Sadly, communication is the number one reason most problems occur in business and in life. And quite frankly, I think it is because we act before we think. We must think of others when we engage in any kind of dialogue, written or verbal. Think about the message you want to convey, think about the energy you want the conversation or message to generate, consider what a successful interaction will produce. Taking the time and forethought to communicate in this way will save a ton of time, frustration and wasted effort in the long run. Communication is an art form and should be treated as seriously and creatively as a painter would paint a masterpiece. Powerful communication is intentional, concise and specific and mindful of the target audience.
“He can inspire a group only if he himself is filled with confidence and hope of success.” Floyd V. Filson
You heard me say this several times in previous postings, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” If you want to be an inspiration to others, you must be an inspiration to yourself which means possessing self-confidence and belief in your own success in any decision or situation. What’s more, it requires stepping outside of your comfort zone and the security of what you know. Inspiring other requires you to “fake it ‘til you make it” sometimes and be willing to walk through the self-doubt and fear that is sure to arise. If you don’t have confidence in your actions, how can anyone else follow your lead? Leader’s don’t play small, they constantly strive for bigger and better with strong self-confidence and believe in their abilities.
“Give people enough guidance to make the decisions you want them to make. Don’t tell them what to do, but encourage them to do what is best.” Jimmy Johnson
Love,love,love this quote. I remember when I first became a manager. In my desire to do a good job but mostly in my desire to stay in control, I delegated to my team members by giving them very explicit detailed step by step instructions of how to get the job done. After all, that is what bosses are supposed to do right? Well, what I didn’t know at the time was that bosses did in fact dictate, but leaders delegated. Delegating provides the guidance with specifics about the intention, the desired outcome and parameters, like timelines, budgets, internal policies, within which the team can operate. Once that information is communicated by you and received by your team, let them loose and empower them to make it happen in whatever way they believe to be the most effective. Guide, don’t control and great things will happen for all parties involved!
“Leaders do not avoid, repress, or deny conflict, but rather see it as an opportunity.” Warren Bennis
Conflict is a nasty word for many people who try to avoid it at all costs. I believe that is because we see it merely as a battle or war between people in which one person must lose. But what if we saw conflict as an opportunity to learn, grow and create a better outcome for all parties? A lesson instead of a battle? When you look up the word conflict, there is also a verb form which means to be incompatible or clash. Seeing things differently from one another does not have to result in a fight; therefore, it can be welcomed not avoided. In fact, varying opinions can be used to produce amazing unthinkable results when all parties are listened to and respected. And really, appreciating conflict is not a hard practice to implement in your personal or professional life. Try this, the next time someone says something to you that you disagree with take a moment to listen, really listen to what they have to say instead of lashing out or dismissing them. Spend time sharing (with a mild manner) each other’s ideas and co-create the best solution for all parties involved. Leaders face conflict and use it for the greater good rather than the agenda of one. There you go, seven quotes to live by as a leader in your personal and professional life. I would love to hear what these mean to you! Feel free to paste your thoughts on how you can apply them in your life in the comments section of this Blog post! Leaders learn from others’ experiences and use their words of wisdom to make their lives more powerful, peaceful and free!