Parents, never doubt or diminish your ability to influence your child or teen’s behavior and self-leadership through the power of parental iInfluence. A child or teen, properly influenced, will develop the ability to not only to lead themselves, but to lead their peers as well. However, parents, it starts with your leadership. And the leadership of the mentors which you allow into your child or teen’s life. They are important as well. When you find an effective teacher, coach, Sunday school teacher, or other mentors, establish a relationship with them. Partner with your child’s mentor to positively influence your son or daughter.
Parents here is some great parenting advice. Leadership is simply you positively influencing your son or daughter. Let me give you an example of positive influencing. Each summer I work with a group of teens at a leadership camp in Oklahoma. When the young men graduate the camp, they will have earned a saber with their name and favorite scripture engraved upon it. I and my assistant camp commander, who we call Graybeard, teach them servant leadership. We also teach them how to drill and march with their saber. It is all silent drill with no cadence called. It is essentially one big team building evolution, as they not only learn a routine, but how to work with each other.
Graybeard and I, both tell and demonstrate what is expected. Then we allow the teens to do it themselves. Without a doubt some, if not all, will say how frustrated they are. How they will never learn the routine. Graybeard and I are patient. We explain, demonstrate and have them do it over and over until a key segment of the routine clicks in their actions. And when it does, that is when things really get interesting. I stop them in their tracks and have them fall in in front of me. This is when my “I believed in you, even when you didn’t” speech starts. Loudly, I go up and down the line praising each and everyone for their part in making the particular section of the routine work.
One by one I repeated what that individual said they could not do, but ended up doing well. I told them how Graybeard and I always believed in them. They only had to believe in themselves. Then we ask them what they were waiting for? Get back out there and show us again why we are right to believe in you. It’s basically a very loud, personal praise fest where we positively wind them up and set them back to the task at hand. And it works every time. The teens will jog back to the parade field and repeat the routine.
When mistakes are made, they are the ones to catch it, explain how to do it correctly, demonstrate the correct way to do it and try again. They often praise and edify each other. Graybeard and I find a comfortable chair to pass the time. Eventually a teen will run up and want to show us how the team is doing. By graduation day, the routine has come together and they contribute it all to myself and Graybeard. We have to remind them we only showed the way. We led them through influence. Then they made the journey to success by influencing each other and leading themselves.
And it is important to take the time to identify the mentors in your child’s life and team up with them to influence your child or teen. When I was a pre-teen, I had a wonderful mentor in a boy/teen Christian mentorship program called Royal Rangers. Between my dad and my Royal Ranger leader, I could not get away with anything. They exchanged verbal notes on me on a regular basis. I was positively influenced coming and going. I did not make it easy on either one of them. I frustrated both of them many times. Never-the-less, they never stopped being a positive influence and I eventually learned to led myself and others.
My father and my Royal Ranger leader established a very solid foundation for me. And even with all the temptations and distractions of this world; I never strayed too far from the path of common sense. Even when I left home and joined the military. And when I did find myself straying from the path, there was that strong lighthouse. The one my father and Royal Ranger commander had established a lighthouse upon a strong foundation.
The light from that lighthouse was the memory of what they had taught me and of what they had lived out by personal example. Today, I’m a Royal Ranger leader. I explain, show and allow my boys and teens to lead. Then I, publicly, acknowledge excellence the moment (or not too long after). I have adults who are amazed when they see a junior high pre-teen take charge of a group of elementary aged boys. And that the boys actually obey and follow the pre-teen. Parents working with their child’s mentors is an important element in your child and teen pathway to becoming self-led.
Parents, single parents, guardians, grand parents, foster parents, etc. I want to challenge you today to set a new standard for yourselves. Use the power of parental iInfluence with your child.. Determine in your mind that you are going to be a daily positive influence on your child. Take the time and build the patience to explain how to do things. Demonstrate what you want done and then have them do it.
And when, they get it right let them know it. They may not have put the dishes and pots away like you would. But they are not you. The main point was it done. Take the time to positively acknowledge all the things that went right. Then work with them on what could be better and how you know they are going to get it right. How you are looking forward to when they get it just right. And parent, in the end, if you take a step back; the way they organized the dishes & pots and pans may actually be more efficient than your way.
Believing in people is critical to a leader’s level of influence. Believing in people is also key to the success of both the leader and their team reaching their true potential. However, a leader cannot have influence without believing in their people. Belief cannot exist without trust. And while trust needs to be a 360 degree commitment between a leader and their team, it starts with the leader. John Maxwell says, “Here’s the bottom line; people will more likely follow and be loyal to leaders who can correctly demonstrate the answer to these 3 questions. Do you care about me? Can you help me? Can I trust you?” So how should a leader go about answering these three pivotal questions?
The first quesThe first questions is “do you care about me?” This is a very important question for any leader who wishes to be successful. A leader’s success comes from the people they lead. The leader needs to become aware of who their people are and their unique giftings. Leaders need to care enough to understand how well and how efficient their people do their jobs. These are basic tenants of leadership. So, why is it so hard for some leaders to understand that if people don’t think their leader cares about them or understands them; they don’t give their best effort. Why? It is because there is nothing to motivate the team to put forth their best work other than their own work ethic or fear. And understand, people can become so worn down in a negative environment their work ethic will erode over time. As for fear, it is a toxin which fuels motivation only for a moment in time, only to destroy it in the end.
So what does caring look like? It starts with becoming aware as a leader. Becoming aware of who your people are is the first step towards positively influencing them. In Maxwell’s book, “A Leader’s Greatest Return, he quotes David Augsburger, noted author. Augsburger says, “ Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person that they are almost indistinguishable. Listening draws people to you, which works better than trying to push your leadership upon them. Empathy builds trust.” Leaders need to understand who their people are. This is accomplished by listening to them. And this does not mean focusing on how one is going to respond to what is being said. It means listening while trying to put oneself in the speaker’s shoes. It means trying to see things from the vantage point of those you lead. Listening opens the way to understanding. Understanding leads to connecting and connecting forges trust.
The second question is “Can you help me?” This question points to one of the foundations of servant leadership. Helping people requires serving them. Robert Greenleaf, father of modern servant leadership, encourages leaders to ask themselves the following questions: “Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? A quality leader needs to ask their people how can they help them grow? What do they feel they need for personal growth and professional development. Leaders should seek out the little things which makes their people feel appreciated and accepted in the workplace. But it does not stop there because servant leadership is a 360 degree effort. In his book, Infinity Game, Simon Sinek ask us to “think of an organization as a plant. No matter how strong it is, no matter how tall it grows, if it cannot make new seeds, if it is unable to produce new leaders, then its ability to hire for generations is nil.” In short Greenleaf and Sinek are saying competent leaders will encourage their people serve others in the work place. This is yet another way a leader’s level of influence is enhanced. When exerting influence in this manner, the leader is reproducing themselves. They are creating leadership seeds as their people serve others in a 360 degree fashion including: subordinates, fellow peers and even their leaders.
The last question is “Can I trust you? Will you as the leader be there for me? John Maxwell points out that, “Without trust, influence is nothing more than coercion and manipulation. Integrity cannot be purchased on a whim; rather, it’s shaped by each ethical decision you make. Your integrity is your responsibility. It’s an inside job, the cumulative effect of your choices in life. Integrity matters, because it’s the gateway to trust, and only by establishing trust can you gain the right to influence others.” Too often, managers and supervisors default to using coercion and manipulation, as well as fear, to motivate performance in the work place. Coercion and manipulation erodes a leader’s level of influence. While there may be some temporary success, in the beginning, it is short lived. People working under the yoke of coercion, manipulation and fear simply have no incentive to do more than the minimum to get a task or project done. “When leaders are willing to prioritize trust over performance, performance will follow.” (Simon Sinek). With this in mind, leaders should endeavor to make trust, in the work place, a leadership priority.
When a leader successfully answers the questions: Do you care about me and can you help me they open the doors which lead towards answering the last question; can I trust you? Remember listening draws those you lead towards you as a leader. Listening gives way to understanding. Understanding promotes connection; which gives the leader influence. Positive influence yields trust. And trust is critical to leader and subordinates alike. Choosing to take the time to listen, to understand, to intentionally connect, “without manipulation” are choices which determine the leaders’s integrity. And while integrity is the leader’s gateway” to gaining trust. It is also the means for a leader to maintain trust, as well. So trust and believe in your people, so you can begin to positively influence them in integrity.
When we speak or hear about leadership, many will immediately think of the work place, as well as various charity groups like: churches, civic organizations, youth organizations, etc. And while many of these places do practice leadership, there is another important area of our lives where leadership should be practiced, the family. Some of the best parenting advice anyone could give you is on the importance of leadership development in the home. Hopefully, by the end of this article you will know that anyone can learn to become a leader, that leadership is all about the process and that the time to learn and practice leadership is today, not tomorrow.
The first piece of parenting advice is that everyone is capable of learning leadership skills and practicing those leadership skills. This includes your children. Granted a 5 year old would not have the same capacity level as a teenager, regarding leadership, but both can be taught the skills to be self-led. In fact you want your 5, 6, 7…year old to begin taking steps to become self-led, but more on that later. It is important to the child to see leadership modeled by the parent. In other words, the parents actions and accompanying words, greatly influences what a child learns. Every child is like a sponge when it comes to learning. If the parent is living out leadership via their actions and words the child will soak it up. They will soak up the positive or negative influences seen and heard in your daily example at home. And because kids are learning sponges, they are going to soak up things which will effect their self image. How they see themselves in this world. And if your child is not learning from you or you are not pouring leadership traits into them; then they will take their directions from someone else. And that someone else might not share your values. So take control over your child’s leadership development, with the knowledge they can be a self-led leader.
The second piece of parenting advice is that, while leadership is a complex skill, learning leadership is all about the process, parents. Meaning it will not happen overnight and you children are not going to be perfect at it. And to be clear, it is not a matter of “if” they will make mistakes & missteps, but rather when. John C. Maxwell said, “This is true for the development of any skill. really .. and it’s particularly true of leadership .. it’s a process .. it evolves .. you don’t read one book and become a great leader overnight. You don’t attend one training program and become a great leader overnight. It takes time and commitment and a certain investment in yourself to develop your leadership skills.” Like, Rome, your child’s leadership won’t be built in a day. It will take years, so be patient. And parents don’t overlook your own need for leadership development. Also, none of us can ever know everything, so personal leadership growth should be ongoing. After all, you are a primary example to each of your children. If you make the investment in yourself as a parent leader, you can pour out your leadership example into each one of your children. This will result in both parent and child enhancing their respective leadership skills.
The last piece of parenting advice is that the time to engage in developing leadership skills is today. In his book Today Matters, Maxwell says, “The only guarantee about tomorrow being better is if you do something today.” Therefore if you want to guarantee that your child’s leadership skills grow, along with those in your household, then you must start today. Again, leadership is a learnable complex skill that takes time to develop. And just because it takes time does not mean that you should take your time to begin starting the process. Tomorrow, next week, a year, 5 years are not guaranteed to any of us living today, so start now! Besides, that 5 year old will soon be 11 and then 18 years old, so get started now. And if you have a pre-teen or teen, don’t let their age stop you. They can still learn from you and be guided by you, even as you are developing your own personal leadership skills.
Again, I believe these three points are some of the best parenting advice regarding teaching your son or daughter to be self-led. There’s an old saying but it’s every bit as true today as it was when I was a kid, success occurs when preparation meets opportunity. Preparing your child, in the home, to become self-led prepares them for life’s opportunities. Therefore put your processes in place now, so each child of yours, can embrace opportunity when it presents itself. We all have the capacity to lead, but it takes a long, and consistent process to develop the complex skills needed for leadership. And it is a process we parents must initiate in the home and give children, pre-teens and teens the space to practice being self-led. And the space needed for recovery and growth from the inevitable errors and missteps they will make.
There are many myths and misconceptions about how to get ahead in today’s work place. Today, I’d like to talk to you about two of them. As well as, the not so obvious alternative to both of them. That alternative is servant leadership. When it comes to getting ahead many people, in the work place, try to seize extreme control of any situation which may advance them or their cause. Many do this through either becoming a master at manipulation, assuming a “my way or the highway” mentality or both. Each of these paths will erode away the ethical framework of who you are. And it silences your inner ethical voice.
The first myth I’ll discuss is the one dealing with manipulation. Now if you are talking about operating a “thing”, car, machinery, etc. by mechanical means, then manipulation is not necessarily a bad thing. However, when one moves from manipulating an inanimate object, like machinery, to the manipulation of a person; it takes on a whole different meaning. Webster’s defines manipulation as attempting to control or play upon by artful, unfair or insidious means to one’s own advantage over another person or persons. And most people are not really enthusiastic about being artfully, unfairly or insidiously controlled by another person.
When it comes to manipulation in the work place, the underlying motivators are a need to win by any means necessary or coveting what an another peer, up line supervisor or executive has. I’ve no problem with competition for a position and the best person being chosen for the job. This is the way it should be. What is of concern is the “by any means necessary” part. This opens one to coveting what someone else has because they want or feels they deserve it more. Coveting is a desire which exceeds all morality and ethical decency. It’s a way of thinking which, after time, builds sound proof walls around your internal ethical voice. And after time, that voice is silenced and we find ourselves taking unsavory and, at times, illegal acts to obtain our desire. Doing so, simply to advance ones self at the expense of another. Manipulation will put you on a path of losing who you are and what you could be. Instead you spiral downward, becoming what you were never meant to be.
But what is the alternative? How about servant leadership? I remembering taking on a new job which included taking on certain cases from other investigators. At the beginning, many investigators were skeptical of me and my new position. Some thought, I would be taking credit away from them for those cases. Understanding their concerns, I kept up with the stats of those cases. I presented a positive report on each investigator to their supervisors for their respective performance reviews. I pointed out how I would not be successful, but for the initial work of each investigator. And any win I had was due, in part, to the initial work of the investigator. Once this happened, investigators openly referred cases to me and I’d worked along side them to help them with their other cases. The simple servant leadership premise I worked from can be found in the writings of John C. Spears, CEO & President of Spears Center of Servant Leadership. Spears said, “That there is a deep hunger in our society for a world where people truly care for one another, where people are treated humanely and helped in their personal growth, where workers and customers are treated fairly, and where our leaders can be trusted to serve the needs of the many, rather than the few. We seek a model of leadership based upon teamwork, community, and ethical and caring behavior. Being a team player who put others first and placed emphasis on team gain rather than self gain made me a success.
The second myth has to do with the rationale of the “it’s my way or the highway” mentality. Now, there are times when a leader gives a directive which just needs to be followed, up to a point, with no questions asked. When I was in the Navy we would conduct drills, like touch and goes on the flight deck aboard a ship. Aviators would practice landing and taking off in their helicopters. As flight safety officer, if they came in too low or if there was a safety issue, I would order my landing signalman enlisted to waive them off. Basically telling the pilot they could not land. There were no arguments or counter points to be made. If you were waived off, you were waived off the landing. However, when I speak of the “my way or the highway” mentality; I’m talking about those who feel they are right about nearly everything. They have to be in full control at all times. And they allow no dissenters what-so-ever. You either follow them or hit the road as a former employee. There is almost no middle ground with them.
Again, there is a servant leadership alternative. Our peers and subordinates may have ideas which may solve a present problem or prevent one in the future. Thus saving you, the team and the company time, effort and money. Therefore, we have to periodically silence our external voice, move beyond one’s managerial title and listen to others. James C. Hunter, author of The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership, stated, “Active listening requires a disciplined effort to silence all that internal conversation while we’re attempting to listen to another human being. It requires a sacrifice, and extension of ourselves, to block out the noise and truly enter another person’s world-even for a few minutes.” Notice Hunter says we have to make a sacrifice. A sacrifice which includes blocking off the noise of our our voice, so we can enter into the world of others. You cannot talk and listen fully at the same time. Listening adds value to others and gives you positive influence over them. And as John C. Maxwell states, “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It’s about one life influencing another.”
As leaders we must rise above the myths and misconceptions about how to get ahead in today’s work place. We need to set them aside and embrace the servant leadership alternatives to them. The way to get ahead is to truly be aware of who you are. Know your unique gifts and enhance them through personal growth and development as a servant leader. Then you will have the confidence to know you can compete with anyone at any time, any place and for any job. In doing so, you will not only maintain your ethical framework, but you prevent erecting barriers to your inner ethical voice. The voice which is the essence, of who you truly are.
Parents, each one of us, as leaders in our home, has some level of expectation when it comes to one of our children, one of our teens. Even if it is a negative expectation or no expectation whatsoever (which in itself is a negative expectation). What is your expectation for your children and/or your teens? Are they positive or are they negative. Do your expectations arise from your personal desires or are they based on the gifts you see in your child or teen? I wish to discuss the power of expectations, establishing an environment for high expectations through your own servant leadership in your home.
Parents one of the primary steps you can take to establish an environment, in your family, for high expectations is to exercise control over the words that your son or daughter hears from others. Like it or not, when you, I or anyone hears either a positive or negative description about us; it imprints a picture upon our mind about ourselves. John C. Maxwell, in his latest book “A Leader’s Greatest Return” says, “People often become what the most important influencers in their lives think and say they will become. If people you care about tell you how terrible you are, you’re going to have a difficult time rising up to a better life. If you’re told every day that you can’t lead, you probably won’t even try. But when people believe in you and communicate it repeatedly, you gain confidence and try harder.”
Many adults, even with all their life experiences, still have a difficult time with negative descriptions of themselves by others. Can you imagine what it is like for a child or teen, who does not have life experiences to fall back on? Thus you, I and every parent has to be careful as to the words used to describe our sons and daughters. And parents you have to be vigilant of what is said to your child outside your home. Meaning you have to be observant of the negative descriptive words spoken to your child by a coach, teacher, or other adult leader.
If a child or teen is described often enough as stupid, worthless, ugly, etc., these negative words will imprint bleak pictures of themselves upon their minds. Likewise. a parent or mentor asking a child or teen why they can’t be more like (another student, brother, sister, cousin, etc.) Those bleak pictures often places a lid or boundary of low expectations and limits their personal development. It creates a negative image inside of them. They figure that if this is how they are seen by parents or those in authority, the negative image must be who they truly are. As such, this negative image becomes a self for filling prophecy. There is a technical term for this called the Pygmalion Effect. The Pygmalion Effect is a phenomenon in which children, teens, and even adults increase or decrease their level of personal development depending on the level of expectation of others. As such, parents, teachers, mentors, etc. your expectations weld a great deal of influence over the level of performance of a child or teen.
So how do you as a parent build an environment of high expectations in your family? You build it on a foundation of servant leadership in the home. J. A. Laub, describes servant leadership as, “Leadership which develops people by providing opportunities for learning and growth, modeling appropriate behavior, and by building up others through encouragement and affirmation. So let us take a look at all three of Laub’s suggestions.
Regarding the first point, parents you have to be the type of leader, in the home, that provides opportunities for learning and growth for each child. Every child and teen are going to make mistakes. They are going to fall short, but every mistake and shortfall is a teaching opportunity. And negative descriptors are counter productive to learning and personal growth. We can firmly correct and discipline our children without name calling. After all, discipline comes from the word disciple which means to mentor or teach another. Ensure you get them to own their mistakes by asking them what went wrong, what did they learn from it, how should you fix this and what’s the best way to not repeat the mistake again? And do not be so caught up in the mistake parents that you do not see the positives in a situation. For example, the teen may have made a poor choice, but their heart was in the right place. You want your child to act out of good motives of the heart and to be able to make the proper choice to do so when appropriate.
Parents, you have to model the type of behavior you wish to see. Let each child know you hold yourself to a high standard by applying your unique gifts to be the best you can be every day. Likewise you wish for them to apply their unique gifts to be the best they can be each day. One time my dad raise his hand above his head and told me that he knew I had the ability to perform at this level. Then he would bring his hand down to his knee and tell me this is why he never lets me perform at this level. He told me I had too much going for me to ever allow me to get away with existing beneath what I was capable of. Not what he, my father or anyone else was capable of, but what he knew I was uniquely capable of. And because my dad modeled this, I now do the same with my children, as well as, the kids & teens I mentor and coach today.
Lastly, you have to build your children up through encouragement and affirmation. Now I’m not saying to have a praise fest or throw a party each time your child does something. However, when your child makes noticeable strides in the direction your guiding them towards, affirm them for it immediately whenever possible. Then encourage them to do more of the same. Your words of affirmation and praise are going to be imprinted on your child’s self image. In doing so you are providing your son or daughter the best opportunity for positive personal development in self-confidence, self-discipline, and wisdom.
Robert Greenleaf, father of modern servant-leadership, once ask these questions: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? Parents be the servant leaders of your family. And set high expectations by serving each and every child through words of affirmation, wise discipline, and modeling positive behavior for them. And to do so in such a fashion your child will develop a self image of being healthier, wiser, freer, and more autonomous servant leaders.
Each of us invest time in doing something. Even if it is to do nothing but sit on a couch; you are still investing time. And many of us receive no return of investment on the time we place towards our current activities. So much so, we might as well be sitting on the couch. I want to give you several reasons to invest in yourself first and foremost. Just as you should pay yourself first, each pay day, and invest it for you future; you need to invest in you first. And the way to pay yourself is to focus time on your action plan for personal growth today. If you wish to lead by influence tomorrow; you need to start with today, because today matters.
When I think of growth, it reminds me of farming and the old saying, “You reap what you sow.” John C. Maxwell says, in his book Today Matters-“We grow only when we apply what we know. Be intentional about developing and following a personal growth plan. Each day, endeavor to acquire knowledge and put it to use. No one else is tasked with making sure you grow; you are responsible for improving yourself personally and professionally.” In short, today matters. What you plant today, in terms of your personal development will determine what you harvest tomorrow.
1. The first step in this action plan for professional growth is to cultivate the field. Any farmer would tell you a key step towards growth is one has to prepare the field for sowing or planting seeds. And if you are going to cultivate or plow a field; you are going to have to be intentional about it. After all no field ever plowed itself. The field I am talking about is you. You have to prepare yourself to receive knowledge. So how do you prepare to cultivate your field? Start by setting aside time. We all have busy and hectic schedules, You have to carve out that time. And time makes the ground very hard too plow. But keep in mind, you are more important than your schedule. Your schedule should be developed around you, not you around your schedule. As you invest in your personal growth today, every facet of your schedule will improve tomorrow. Then when you participate in personal development training, read a book, listen to a recording or work with an executive coach, be present. Meaning you need to focus on what you are doing. You need to make the most of this time. When I went to Gonzaga University, in pursuit of my Master’s in Organizational Leadership, I’d tuck my babies in bed and kiss my wife good night. Then I would turn my focus on my course work. Believe me after a long workday and family time, all I wanted to do is to kick back and relax. However; I had goals for my family and I wanted growth, so I could seize upon future opportunities to become a leader. A leader who leads by influence. So cultivate your fields by intentionally setting aside time to develop yourself and maintain focus, so you make the best use of your time.
2. The next part of the action plan for personal growth is to invest in some good seed. You will need to water and feed the seed, as well as, keep your field weeded. Keep in mind you get what you sow or plant. If you want to grow your ability to be a great leader, then find good seed to plant so you can bring forth a good crop. The seed can take many forms. Perhaps there are leadership classes and workshops in your area which you can take part in. The John Maxwell Team regularly holds workshops and training on leadership. Seeds also need to be watered and fertilized. A great way to do this is improve the way you communicate. Each of us communicates, but most of the time we do so without making a connection with the person or persons we are speaking too. Becoming an effective communicator will enhance your leadership and bring forward a richer harvest. Seeds need nutrition as well. Weeds will fight fo steal that nutrition away from your seeds. One of the best ways to feed and weed your field is coaching. A coach can help you self-develop your field. A coach can also help you self-discover the weeds in your field, so you can remove them.
3. Another important step in your action plan for personal growth is to avoid doing nothing. If your field is not growing good seed, it is going to grow weeds. Weeds do not need much to take root and destroy any opportunity to lead by influence. What weed crops might pop up and over run your field: Apathy, unfulfilled dreams, discontent, frustration, and anger. The weed of apathy seeds will blow in. And if there is no action taken; indifference takes root. The weed of unfulfilled dreams accompanies apathy. You’ll dream about being more and doing more, but apathy keeps your dreams in check. A dandelion of frustration blossoms out of the unfulfilled dreams and the chaotic winds of life spreads the seeds of frustration. Frustration gives life to anger. And anger further disengages us from being the best version of whom we can be. Therefore doing nothing is not only detrimental to your personal growth; It robs the world of you being able to lead as you were truly meant to lead. It steals away the possibility of you positively influencing others.
I wish to encourage you to invest in yourself today, so you’ll be leading by influence tomorrow. Maxwell was very insightful when he said, “When we add value to ourselves, we add value to others.” This is so true. When you make the commitment to add value to yourself by investing in your personal growth, you in turn add value to others. So get out there and cultivate your field. Invest in some good leadership seed and don’t forget to water, feed and weed it. And speaking of weeds, remember if you do nothing you’ll invite a crop of detrimental weeds onto your field. And make no doubt, these weeds can and will overrun you. And the world may be robbed of your leadership and the potential positive influence you could have had on others.
#1 New York Times bestselling author John C. Maxwell brings his common sense self-help lessons to teens!
Any setback–a championship loss, a bad grade, a botched audition-can be seen as a step forward when teens possess the right tools and leadership skills to turn that loss into a gain of knowledge. Drawing on nearly fifty years of leadership experience, Dr. Maxwell provides a roadmap for becoming a true learner, someone who wins in the face of problems, failures, and losses
Parents there are many ways to enhance your child’s leadership level. However, I want to focus on 3 highly effective ways to improve your child’s leadership skills. You have to take advantage of home field, take charge of away games and take the time to explain the rules. I will walk you through and explain the importance of taking home field advantage. How to make the most out of when your child is involved in away games (activities outside the home). And the importance of both explaining and ensuring your child understands basic rules of life.
Parents you need to play an active role in mentoring and assisting your children in the choice of those they play and hang out with. This is best done on your home field. Parents, home field is your home. You are there everyday. It is the place both you and your kids live, eat and sleep. Invite your children’s friends over to your home or yard for play time, activities, to work on school work, etc. so you can get to know your child’s friends.
Now it is not going to be the most convenient thing to do. Home field can be loud, messy, demanding and infringe on your personal time. I so get it, believe me I do. But think about it. Home is the best place to positively influence your son or daughter’s interactions with their friends. This is much harder to do when your child is playing away from home. Outside your home you lose home field advantage and diminish your overall influence on your child’s interactions with others. Be the influencer and make play, homework, sleep overs or whatever the activity, a home field event. From you your child will learn to positively influence others. And if your child is positively influencing others, they are moving well along the path of self leadership.
Now while home is best, not every game is played on home field. So mom, dad, grand parents, guardians, you have to take charge of away games. Specifically, you need to place them in areas where they will have a chance to interact with adult mentor leaders who can inspire them. I have a friend, who works with me in the Royal Ranger ministry. Royal Rangers is a christian mentorship program created for boys and young men. Some of the kids call him Big Daddy Bill. And he is that, a fatherly mentor to his young charges. He regularly challenges them to be the best they can be. He also holds them accountable for how they lead themselves. Parents place their sons into this program for its positive mentorship and its ability to teach leadership skills. Also, because the program helps develop their sons into the next generation of servant leaders.
Joel Olsteen has said, “You need to associate with people that inspire you, people that challenge you to rise higher, people that make you better. Don’t waste your valuable time with people that are not adding to your growth. Your destiny is too important.” Parents, choose wisely where your child spends time away from home. Engage them with mentors who can inspire them, as well as, affirm your family values. The foundation of your child’s life is being laid down here and now. It is from this foundation that everything they can be, will be built upon. Let’s not limit their leadership foundation. Expand your child’s opportunities to become positively self led. Give them every opportunity to be around positive examples, so they can hear, see and learn from successful leaders.
We’ve touched on two of the 3 highly effective ways to improve your child’s leadership skills. The third way is this, Parents you need to teach your children the rules of the game. You have teach basic manners and how to behave. Rest assure, if you don’t teach your child how to behave, the world will. More times than not, it won’t be the type of behavior you wish your child to emulate. If normal looks like being rude, disrespectful, discourteous, bad tempered, a bully, or any combination there of, this is what your child will likely gravitate downwards to. Children need to know that it is abnormal to be rude, disrespectful, discourteous, bad tempered, and or a bully.
Solomon, King of Isreal said, “Though you may be wise, foolish friends will eventually destroy you. Though you may be foolish, wise friends will show and teach you success. This is an easy way to prosper.” Poor choices in friends and acquittances will have an eventual adverse affect on your child. A poor choice never enhances anything. A foolish choice only has the power to lessen or destroy, never the power to prosper This is what Solomon meant when he said foolish friends will eventually destroy you. And the same can be said in modern times. Vanilla Ice, a former pop icon and current DIY (Do It Yourself) TV host once stated, “Show me your friends and I would show you who your are.
So, parents, who are your children? Are they the foolish ones or the wise ones? The answer, parents, has a lot to do with your influence as their parents. If you wish for them to grow to be the “wise ones” then influence who your kids to hang out with. Be watchful for those “friends” who regularly drift towards or revel in bad behavior. Such negative acquaintances will limit your child’s self leadership success. John C. Maxwell says, “Leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness.” If your child cannot lead themselves, learn to respect others, be courteous, control their temper, and add value to others; they limit their overall effectiveness as future leaders.
The 3 highly effective ways to improve your child’s leadership skills are: Take advantage of home field by influencing your child and their friends in your home or yard; take charge of away games by placing your child where they can learn from positive adult mentor leaders; and take the time to ensure your child knows the rules of the game. When you as parents and guardians take charge by playing an active role in mentoring your child, you are growing their ability to self lead.
America’s leadership, John C. Maxwell, expert teaches that if your life in any way connects with other people, you are an influencer. Whether its your family, vocation or other area of life , you can increase your power and influence in leadership, with Maxwell’s simple, insightful ways to interact more positively with others. Watch your personal and organizational success go off the charts!
First of all there is nothing wrong with having the corner office, nothing at all. If this is where success leads you, my heart felt congratulations. What I want to talk about is why effort and time alone won’t make a leader. Why position alone doesn’t equate to positive change. And why you need to lead where you are, so you’ll eventually will lead where you want to be. I hope to make it clear in your mind that leadership is not about effort and hard work alone. Power and influence in leadership begins with influence. It’s not just about being the boss. Leadership is rooted in influence. Like John C. Maxwell says, “Leadership is about influence, nothing more and nothing less.”
Why effort and time alone won’t make you a leader.
Here’s the first of 3 reasons why you need power and influence in leadershipChristian Simpson, a mentor of mine, says, “Some people are more attached to their struggle and adversity than success.” Effort and hard work are both critical components of a great leader. But is how you apply your effort. It is having self leadership. It is working hard, plus immersing yourself in both personal growth and adding value to others. Many good people expend a lot of effort and work hard, yet fall short of success more times than not. While they may fail more than they wish, many follow the same unproductive daily routines of life and never achieving the success they desire. So how can we change our daily routine?
If you will invest just a portion of your daily efforts into growing and developing who you are; it will open up whole worlds of opportunity you did not know existed. Investing effort and hard work into your personal development prepares you for when opportunity presents itself. Also, take what you learn and invest some of your daily efforts into adding value to others around you. Adding value is nothing more than finding a way to lift up, encourage and develop others around you. As you do so you cannot help but influencing others around you. And there in lies the spark of leadership.
Why position alone doesn’t equate to positive change.
Let’s now discuss being the boss. Will things really change when you become the boss? Better yet, it that really the question we should as?. I agree things will change. Especially, if you desire change and force the change to come about. However, I would challenge you to think upon this. What changes would be best for both your people and still address the mission of your organization? I remember when I was a police officer and I got into a high speed chase. After speeds of unto 100 mph and onto streets of a neighboring city, I finally caught the individual. After I had taken him into custody, my lieutenant came to my location and asked me why the individual ran? I told him, the individual knew they had warrants and wanted to get his car home so it wouldn’t be towed. My lieutenant was incensed. He yelled out to the individual, “You put my officer’s life in jeopardy! The car is facing the wrong way and is too far from the curb. Tow it!” What I took away from this is my lieutenant valued me as a person. He was angry that someone had placed my life in jeopardy. At that point, I’d done anything for the man.
And even now, many years later, if he called me as a character reference or had a need; I would be there for him. Maxwell says in his book, Becoming A Person of Influence that, “Influencers pay attention to the needs of those around them, and then pour out of themselves out to meet those needs. The average person goes through life looking for validation. They want to know they’re respected and valued. Leaders nurture others by extending genuine care, offering a sense of belonging, and being generous with encouragement.” When this happens, people want to follow you. They want to put in that extra effort simply because you asked it of them.” Yes, things may change when you’re the boss, but if you want truly productive change, become a person of influence.
Why you need to lead where you are.
If you want to be a person of influence, you simply need to lead where you are. Start out by leading your self. Expand your ability for self leadership through personal development. Then apply what you learn. And you don’t need subordinates to begin to lead. Take what you learn and pour it into your peers. And purposely lead upwards, by helping to remove hurdles from your manager’s path. Ask your manager, what challenges you can help them meet and overcome. Then follow through. Also learn what your particular gifts are. We all have gifts. Let me say that again, “We all have gifts.” Being self aware is knowing one’s gifts. Everyone of us needs to be aware of our gifts and then both develop and grow them. And that growth and development will expand your vision of what you can do. It will magnify your ability to influence others. A wise man once said, “Opportunity is everywhere. The key is to develop the vision to see it.”
Now you have 3 reasons why you need power and influence in leadership. Now go forth and apply your efforts wisely. Work smart by investing in you and then pouring into others. Strive to be more than “the boss.”Be the influencer in your workplace, at home and in your community. And you will move from leading where you are now; to leading in ways you did not know existed. You will lead in places you’d never thought you would aspire to. And, eventually, you’ll find you have lead yourself where you always wanted to be.
Webster’s dictionary provides the following definition of influence: It is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. The power of leading by influence provides the most effective means of leading others.
John C. Maxwell gives a similar, but more detailed definition. Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, and nothing less.” And I’ve found this to be so true in my own journey as a leader. I’ve discovered; if you are going to effective lead others, you will need to develop the capacity or ability to bring about positive change upon those whom you lead. This includes helping those whom you lead to build character, providing your team a fertile environment for personal development and promoting positive behaviors in your people.
I remember moving up from the enlisted ranks and becoming a young naval officer. My very first leadership position, as an officer, was deck division and the boatswain mates. A Boatswain’s Mate maintains the exterior surfaces of ships, including painting, upkeep of ship’s exterior, deck equipment, and life boats. They also operated the ship’s small boats during a number of evolutions. Everyone told me the division was made up of a bunch of malcontents prone to disciplinary problems. Those in the division were treated as malcontents. And the division’s low self belief met the low expectations everyone had of them. John Maxwell says, “You never outperform your own self belief.” When your people take in the negativity and poison from their work environment, it can wear down and limit their self belief.
I could have taken the same position everyone else had taken before. However, I decided to take a much different Approach. I told them I believed in them. That if they took pride in their work, I would stand behind them. And I would acknowledge them up the chain of command.
Things did not change over night. It was not easy. And believe me, that is an understatement. Change is never easy, but getting a group of people to believe in themselves. when no one else did seemed near impossible. Never-the-less, I stuck with it. I set high expectations. I created a fertile environment. I sought out opportunities to praise excellence. Positive behaviors were publicly acknowledge and planted like a seed. Once they understood someone truly cared for them; the capacity to care for themselves grew inside of them. As that capacity grew, it yielded the fruit of positive self belief. As their self belief grew, they sought out ways to make the division better. They took ownership of excellence and made it s common practice.
I have to admit I did not set out trying to prove Maxwell’s concept was true. Meaning, I was simply wanting to treat others the way I had been treated as an enlisted man. As an enlisted man, I had privilege of being taught leadership by my Chief Petty Officer (Chief).
My Chief created an environment for me which demanded and recognized excellence. When I expressed an interest in becoming an officer, the ship’s executive officer took me under his wing. He piled me with extra responsibilities which stretched me. Both he and my Chief had high standards for themselves and held me to the same standard. Both praised excellence. My past has proven the following to me: “Leadership is influence, nothing more, and nothing less.”
When I look back now, understanding that leadership is all about influence. I now know why great mentors, teachers, pastors and leaders are so important. When a leader positively influences another, they lead others towards a pathways of excellence. Pathways; which are very difficult to find without a good mentor, a good teacher, or a good leader. A good leader help me find my path of excellence. As a leader, what is your capacity to influence? Whom are you developing? Is the type of environment you’ve created suited to produce the excellence your company’s mission calls for? These are but a few of the questions we need to stop and periodically, ask our selves.
And what of the importance of the environment in your workplace? It is important, as a leader, to be proactive caretakers of our work place environment. Your influence as a leader is critical if you wish to have a workplace environment where people are unafraid to take ownership of what they do. Where elevated self belief is common place. Where people are motivated to wade though failures in order to seize success and bring about excellence.
I would like to hear back from you. Please take the time to answer the following and share your answers so that others can learn from your leadership experience:
How have you benefitted from having a leader, mentor, teacher, etc., invest in your life?
What qualities should you look for, as a leader, when choosing a person to mentor?