How do you play shows some of your character, how do you win or lose shows all of it. – Anonymous
For last couple of months, I have been quite busy with community leadership related work. I had an opportunity to mentor and advise leadership team on the issue that was dividing the community. I also had to stand up against the group of people whom I found was neither acting fairly nor was impartial. Per my research, it was abuse of power and leadership role.
It is now over and resolved satisfactorily, but it was a learning experience for me and I would like to share my lessons that I have gathered from both sides, without referencing to any incident. One side was new and young group of individuals who was selected to lead the community and other group had been in control for over 16 years was not giving up the power and resisting the change.
When I reflect on my decision to support the new and young group get their right, I feel great that I could serve the community.
Here are some of the common sense lessons I learned from both sides of the issue –
As with each problem, understand the issue; background of politics & people involved and their agendas;
Always be fair, remain truthful and act impartial towards all – if you want to be really helpful;
Read any relevant document being referred; do not just believe what is being told;
Don’t sit on the fence and enjoy conflict, become active if you are passionate about the issue and can contribute;
Talk to leaders and offer your help to mediate; negotiate with win-win mental model;
Not every effort to resolve issue will be welcomed, negotiations will fail miserably, stay hopeful – any conflict has its own life cycle as well;
Expect rumors, allegations and indirect threats – do not waste all of your energy on addressing these;
Talk to community members, educate about the issue, tell the truth and share the facts;
Keep all doors open for compromise; find out what price are you willing to pay to keep community together;
Find influencers in the community, get them on your side and ask for help, validate your interpretation of the issue;
Do not quit or bend against pressure if you know you are standing for the truth and justice, you will face lots of pressure and many curve balls;
Whatever you negotiate, offer or communicate, make in writing;
Do not go negative; don’t get involved with personal attacks on opposite group;
Deliver response to any negative propaganda with facts and positive tone – remember truth is like the Sun and false propaganda as clouds, the Sun will eventually shine, the truth will always prevail;
Do not get into reactive mode, expect urge to say negative – but control it;
Remember truth has to go through tough test before it wins;
Keep your head high, keep thinking positive and stay visible in community or group;
Always remember that difference of opinion is natural human behavior, other people might be thinking you are wrong;
Seek lawyer’s help if needed, you need to get involved in fund-raising, planning course of action is key to success;
Do not twist the facts, do not talk out of context, do not exhibit attitude towards people who aren’t agreeing with your opinion;
Always seek advice of people who can tell the truth and fact of the matter, not your supporters only who speak your mind and tell you one-sided story;
If what you hear is truth and is contrary to your belief, consult and reflect that you are not manipulating the situation;
Establish a core group who offers views of issues without any prejudice;
Listen to truth and act upon it, keep your mind open to everything but attached to nothing;
Do your best in every circumstance even if no one is watching you, do not do things to impress others;
Expect victory if you are truthful, impartial, positive, open and just towards all;
Do not give advice to score point or take credit, keep it simple and make it team effort;
Expect confusion in your group, keep all informed and motivated;
Once you get what you want, do not demean other group but let it go;
It will take some time to heal the divide, but keep focused on delivering value to community;
Do not cling to power but work on empowering others to lead;
Power is to serve community not to rule, you may have to make tough decisions;
When you are serving as a leader, it’s not walking on red carpet – you are there to take on challenges; and
Any choice or decision should be based on good for all not only for you.
When I talked about the issue in my community with friends in other communities, all told me one or other kind of similar story in their community or organization. I hope my lessons will help or guide someone someday.
I came across 11 leadership principles of Marine Corps in Guide Book for Marines on the Internet and here is my interpretation of 11 principles. I am interested in hearing from Marines about their leadership experience.
Take responsibility – we need to seek and take responsibilities if we need to grow; never shy away, whatever seems challenging will help you expand your perspective.
Know yourself – reflect upon your strengths and weaknesses; seek improvement and understand that you can achieve only those goals that you set.
Set an example– conduct your business in a professional manner; do not loose temper – small minds are bothered by small problems; not only work in your job but also work on your job as well. Be a brand that people want to associate with.
Develop your subordinates– consider this as part of your job; learn to delegate; as Zig Ziglar said “You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want“; give them opportunities to learn & grow; guide them if they fit somewhere else.
Be available – in every respect; be available to listen to problems and challenges people are facing; to motivate, to lead and to show right direction; to hear criticism; to take decisions and to act on time.
Look after the welfare of your employees– the way you want your boss to look after your welfare; develop emotional intelligence; connect with people and find out what motivates them; do something that touches their lives; help them when they are in need. Arrogance and ignorance will not take you to the top or won’t keep you there for long.
Keep everyone well informed – right communication is the key; make sure that the tasks are understood, supervised and accomplished on time and tell why you need all this done; do no assume – aks and tell.
Set goals that are achievable – always set the goals – people need to know what they are expected to deliver and by when; let people figure out how; goals should motivate teams to act; measure the results and reward people.
Make sound and timely decisions– that are aligned with the core principles of your organization and with your job descriptions; there will always be more than one right answer – choose the one that benefits the most and not only you; take decisions like a servant leader.
Know your job – be technically and tactically proficient in your job; know your people; know the processes and challenges; know how can you add value to the organization or your department.
Build teamwork– not all people can perform equally but they should complement each other while working towards a common goal; promote team work and diversity; shield your team from external pressure; be flexible with team.
“Leadership is intangible, hard to measure, and difficult to describe. It’s quality would seem to stem from many factors. But certainly they must include a measure of inherent ability to control and direct, self-confidence based on expert knowledge, initiative, loyalty, pride and sense of responsibility. Inherent ability cannot be instilled, but that which is latent or dormant can be developed. Other ingredients can be acquired. They are not easily learned. But leaders can be and are made.” – General C. B. Cates, 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps
Thanks for reading and welcome your input. Have a great day.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948) was a great leader, lived his life for others and his words of wisdom have given direction to many. Doesn’t matter what we do or where we stand in life, these 7 mistakes, if committed will result in ruined life or career. These 7 mistakes are called 7 blunders of the world.
Who does not know Steve Jobs? His vision and life has made a huge impact on our generation. I came across this post. He shares his life lessons with students at Stanford in 2005. No doubt he is wonderful person around and I wish him good health.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Everywhere we turn our focus to, we hear something negative and how leadership should come forward. Leadership at every level is already faced with some difficult choices. It is of paramount importance that when leaders make decisions to change the course, decisions should not have been plagued by personal ego and due to insecurity.
As John C Maxwell says that Ego and Insecurity are the two greatest landmines of leadership; think about any world leader and if he stepped on these landmines or not. Do you want to? After a long time when we reflect on the decisions we make today should be matter of proud.
As a leader, we get a chance to serve our people, I mean serve genuinely. In these times how we act will shape our organizations and societies. Lets take the right actions while we overcome the short-term issues, we keep long term objectives in our minds.