What is a Leader?

Simple answer: Someone with Followers.  You have to have Followers in order to be a Leader.

How do you get Followers?

2 things Make you a Leader with Followers:

  1. See a Change that is Required in the World
  2. Bring together Resources to Achieve this Change

“If every one of you changed the life of just 10 people… in 6 generations we will have changed the world” Admiral McRaven

Admiral McRaven offered advice for changing the world from his 36 years of experience as a Navy SEAL:

  1. Ask for help when you need it,
  2. respect everyone,
  3. persevere through failures and,
  4. make your bed every day.

So, go back to your bedroom… and make your bed.

 

When I run seminars on leadership, I often share the lessons learnt from the work Kouzes and Posner did to create their book “The Leadership Challenge”.  They identified the 4 most important characteristics of a leader that gets the greatest discretionary effort out of the people around them.

Number 2 on this list is “Competence”.  (You can find the full list on a past blog post here)

Identifying Competence

How do you know if someone is competent?  The simple answer: they have books on their desk.

The proxy for Competence is whether you have books on your desk.  If you care about being competent, you will be competent.  If you don’t take care of your learning, if you don’t have a plan for your own development needs – you might accidentally be competent now, but with the changes in the environment you will rapidly lose that competence.

Here’s a recent interview at UCD Smurfit Executive Development where I talk about the need for leaders to take charge of their personal and professional development.

What are the next development steps you will be taking for your own competence?

What is the good life?

We can survive for 75 years… but what is a good use of those years? The good life is choosing to go beyond mere survival.  The good life is a daily intentional choice to flourish.  We can develop the best of our strengths and bring the worst of our weaknesses under disciplined control.

The ABC’s of a Fulfilling Life

The ABCs of living the Good Life:

  • Action towards your strongest values (Productivity) make progress towards important things; Eisenhower’s matrix
  • Belief. Give your life away… chosen sacrifice-Sense of purpose (contribution, give your life away… can’t “save” your hours, must invest). The test of value: you get paid. Paid doesn’t guarantee value, but free is idealistic… and idealists will kill us all.
  • Curiosity – Life long learning (always curious, painful feedback) be better today than yesterday, be better tomorrow than today
  • Discipline over your poorer habits
  • Energy. Health (Imagine you had 1 car all your life… how would you take care of it? that is your body…)
  • Friends (top 20… when was last you spoke?) inner circle… better a shack with someone who loves you than a mansion with those that use you

I’ve been reading a few books recommended by my readers and youtube watchers since my recent video review of The Surrender Experiment 4 weeks ago.  A wonderful author that I was recommended is Dr David Hawkins.  He was a psychotherapist who worked over 50 years with patients in all stages of conscious functioning.

In this post, I share some of the powerful words that I have taken from David, and then I share his scale from 1-1000 of Consciousness.  Have a look and see where you believe you are on this scale.

Over to Dr David…

If you’re not happy here and now, you will not be happy there and then.

“Like the sun, the inner Self is always shining, but because of negative clouds, we do not experience it. It is not necessary to program oneself with the truth; it is only necessary to remove that which is false. The removal of the clouds from the sky to illuminate the negative allows one to experience the energy fields of that which is positive. It is only the removal of the negative that is necessary-the willingness to let go of the habits of negative thinking. The removal of the obstacles to the experiencing of this will result in an increasing sense of aliveness and a joy of one’s own existence.”

There is a Buddhist story that man starts clean, but as he starts to walk, the dirt from the road sticks to him.  The further he walks the more he is covered by layer upon layer of dirt.  After a short time we can no longer see the man underneath the dirt.  In fact the man himself has forgotten that this surface of dirt is not actually him.  We don’t need to find something new outside us to move up the levels of consciousness…

U2 has a song “Get out of your Own Way”.  What many of us need is to get out of our own way, to stop sabotaging ourselves.

How to Be that Person that People want to Know

“The way to become that exciting person whom people want to know is very easy. We simply picture the kind of person we want to be and surrender all the negative feelings and blocks that prevent us from being that.”

“Write down all your faults. Write down all the faults others think you have, even if you think they’re liars. You take responsibility for it all. If you own it all, nobody has any way to attack you. If others attack you, it’s because you’re not owning something. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with being stupid and ugly. (Laughter). So we admit our faults, and we stop labeling them faults. We have to get over narcissistic sensitivity. All negative reactions are not caused from outside; it’s how we choose. The way to become bulletproof is to own anything that seems a fault. The way to overcome the ego’s reaction to that is to say, “I’m stupid and ugly. It doesn’t matter; God loves me.”

What you resist, persists.

“The willingness to forgive others is reflected in our own capacity for self-forgiveness and acceptance.”

“Surrender is a constant process of not resisting or clinging to the moment but instead, continuously turning it over to God. The attention is thus focused on the process of letting go and not on the content of the ‘what’ that is being surrendered.”

Humility is the greatest virtue.

“With humility one can see that the mind is limited and incapable of seeing all the circumstances surrounding any event. Out of this arises the willingness to let go of condemnation and judgment.”

Personal Growth: The 15 Levels

The Levels of Consciousness (From Apathy to Love)

These levels determine the reason why people behave the way they do.
You can listen to Dr David Hawkins being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, or watch the video below where he speaks specifically about the Scale of Consciousness:

 

Below Courage – Conscious States that Suck Energy from the World

  • Guilt 30 – I condemn others. I blame outside forces for my situation. The emotion that accompanies these levels is self-hatred, and the process going on in consciousness is one of self-destruction.
  • Apathy 50 – Abdication of my own capacity to act. I am hopeless.  I cannot change the situation and I don’t believe that anyone else is able to help me.
  • Grief 75 – I am despondent and feel that life is tragic. There is an energy in grief that can turn towards anger and begin action.
  • Fear 100 – A state of anxiety and worry.  A state of withdrawal from the world.  I take actions to protect myself and to resist losing the things that I value.
  • Desire 125 – I crave after things that I believe are missing in my life.  I am quite active in pursuit of my goals.
  • Anger 150 – Anger in the form of resentment may lead to hatred.  But the process going on in consciousness is one of expansion; for example, when an animal is angry, it swells up. When the cat gets angry, its tail swells up to almost twice its normal size, and the cat tries to look imposing. The biological purpose of expansion is to intimidate one’s apparent enemy. The energy of anger can be positive if used to pursue something better, allowing us to move up to the next level.
  • Pride 175 – This level of consciousness leads to a constant defense of my being ‘right’, so others must be wrong.  Highly demanding of myself and of all others around me.  High risk of scorn of others.  The pride relates to an underlying denied set of  fears. 

Above Courage – Conscious States that Contribute Positively

  • Courage 200 – I take ownership of my situation and begin to take tentative steps to make my situation better.
  • Neutrality 250 – The emotion of Neutral is self-trust. For example, it is ‘okay’ if you get the job and ‘okay’ if you don’t.
  • Willingness 310 – saying yes to life, to join, to agree, to commit, and to align with because there is now the introduction of intention.
  • Acceptance 350 – Realising and owning my own limitations. I don’t have to please everybody, I don’t have to be competent at all tasks.
  • Reason 400 – At its purest level, reason and the intellect represent increased reality testing and non-emotional respect for truth.
  • Love 500 – reason is of the mind (the brain), whereas Love is of the being (the heart).
    At its emergence, love is selective and conditional, but as it evolves, it progressively becomes a lifestyle and a way of relating to all life.
  • Joy 540 –  A state of bliss. Life is Perfect. These people make us feel more alive because they are constantly giving out energy to the world.
  • Peace 600 – I need to find someone who could explain this in words!

Thank you to all those watchers and readers who have recommended books, videos and audios after my post on The Surrender Experiment 😉

Ken Blanchard’s book “The One Minute Manager” is short, simple, quick to read… and excellent for any new manager or leader.

In this video I share 4 Conversations that Ken Blanchard says we need to learn to be able to have with our team members if we wish to be effective Servant Leaders.

4 Conversations we need to be able to have with our team.

  1. Goal Setting,
  2. Praise,
  3. Re-Direct and
  4. Wrap up.

 

This video is from Bilbao in front of the Guggenheim Museum. I was in Bilbao for the launch of Vistage in the region.

In my courses I often have participants who hate following standard processes. Sometimes this is a good thing. When you decide to break the rules, you better do your homework and preparation so that what you deliver is excellent. Too often, “creative” people break the rules of structure… but don’t do the necessary work to be excellent in delivery.

If you liked this video, you might also like Performance Excellence: Deliberate Practice and the 3 Models of Mastery and Self Discipline will make you a Better Leader.

This is a wonderful 10 minute speech by Brian Brault, Chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation, during a United Nations Global meeting on how Entrepreneurship can make a difference to the UN Developmental Goals.

Creating a Shared Future for Entrepreneurs and Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

I have met Brian several times over the last 13 years that I have been a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation. He is an inspiration and I am glad that he had this opportunity to share such an important message to the world’s ambassadors and governments.

I am proud to say that Brian attended my classes (during EO’s Global Leadership Academy) on how to give a persuasive speech 😉

Thanks, Brian, for your time and dedication as a leader of EO.

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with Spring” George Santayana

I spent most of this week in Ireland teaching at UCD Smurfit Business School and then running a corporate event at Croke Park.  This week’s video is from Croke park – you can see in the background they are getting set up for the Rolling Stones concert.

If you are only happy in spring, you’ve limited your state of wellbeing to less than 25% of life.  Life comes with seasons.  It is best to learn to take the best from each of these seasons.

My dad often said “A leader should never waste a good crisis”.  The winter is when you can get people to change their habits.  When a company is growing and all is going well, you won’t get change easily.  When the company is struggling, competition is fierce, the winds are howling… people are hungry for changes.

Often the roots of new success are planted during the winter moments of our lives.

This video is about a book that I read last week that has had a major impact on my approach to life (even if only over the last 7 days…).

The Surrender Experiment

Check out: The Surrender Experiment, by Michael Singer https://amzn.to/2I0C6DC

Read More Great Books

If you would like to see my full list of 26 recommended books to read on leadership, communications and on life: Personal Leadership Library