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Leadership Development


It Doesn’t Work The Way You Think It Should

By:  Phil Lower, Co-Founder / CEO – Paladin Coaching, Inc.

Eddie Velez, owner of Success by Design, said “No one ever started a business to provide jobs for others. It’s to provide a better lifestyle for their families.”

So, what do you do when you’ve exercised your specialty, begun to make some money to support yourself, and now you want to expand from your “self-employed job” into a real business.  First, recognize, we’re talking about infancy here.  This means you’ll be assembling a team of about 2-9 people initially.  It also means, you’re no longer your own person.  Now you’re going to have people that are counting on you to do your part and lead them.  And, you’re going to be counting on them to bring expertise that fills in the gaps where you’re weakest.

Seth Godin points out in his article, Managing The Very Small Business, three different types of teams and leaders: a team of equals, fellow travelers, and industrialized employees.

All of these teams are going to have to be led.  And even though each leader has certain things in common with other leaders, each of these teams need different types of leaders to achieve their success.

Class room workshops, college courses whether on or off-line, lunch and learns, webinars, YouTube videos, and a gazillion self-help books can only take you so far.  Yes, there are people that have succeeded in transforming their minds to accomplish amazing things solely by using these tools.  And, it’s not that they are the exception to the rule.  What I typically find, however, is that they have grown as leaders by using these tools, and others, while possessing two key traits.

business leadershipLeadership develops best in people that are not only coachable but also adventurous.  Why? Because you must be willing to humble yourself to learn from your mistakes.  But, you also have to be willing to take outsize chances on your future success in order to win more than you have achieved until now.

Let’s define what the concepts of Coachability and Adventurous mean in this context.

Coachability is the willingness to exercise humility to learn from the successes and failures of others.  In what way does humility play into being coached or mentored? Good coaches provide awareness, education, and accountability.  When people you trust help mentor you, you become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you can then become more educated about them, and the person filling the role of coach/mentor holds you accountable to achieve your future goals.  If you’re not willing to lay aside your pride, in my experience, you most likely won’t succeed.  Or, your success will be limited.

Adventurous, in the context of Leadership Development, is the willingness to take and execute, any action which causes you to stretch and achieve something you haven’t done before.  This is important because it contains two parts.  The willingness to take an action is not the same as the execution of that action.  Both can fall victim to procrastination and other dream killers.  Saying you’re going to look for a job to make more money, but not looking into what skills might be required to get it, and then not pursuing developing those skills, brings you nothing.

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill

You undoubtedly know people that are nay-sayers and negative thinkers.  How much effort does it take to share your troubles with them? Basically, none, as long as you’re willing to accept their garbage, too.  If you want to see your enthusiasm decay and die, keep associating with them.

It takes a significant amount of effort to fail successfully.  Here’s a quick breakdown of the steps:

  1. Preparation to achieve what you’re undertaking.
  2. Actual processes of working towards your goal.
  3. Failure to reach the goal.
  4. Analyzing what went wrong.
  5. Course correcting and going back at it.

All of this may seem easy to you.  I’ve lived it.  It’s not.  The most challenging part has been to learn that I don’t know all of the time, to seek wisdom from people that are experts at what they do, and then to pick myself back up, shake off the horrible emotions of fear, anxiety, doubt, and worry, and start again.

And, it’s never that clean either.  Most of the time, you’re learning to deal with all of these things while you’re in the midst of the storm.  This is why leadership development never works the way you think it should.  Surround yourself with people that care about your success, support you, encourage you, and you will rise to become the leader you’re meant to be.

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