One of the most compelling words associated with leadership is excellence. By definition, excellence refers to “the fact or state of excelling, superiority, eminence.” The concept is often identified as the pursuit of a place or position that is superior in nature to a previous one.
However, leaders are challenged to develop and identify excellence a bit differently in their leadership. Marcus Buckingham says, “Excellence has its own pattern, you have to learn and study it.”
To think of excellence only as a position or destination falls short of recognizing the lifelong pursuit characterized by the passion to continually grow in excellence.
I remember the adage “one step forward and two steps back.” The idea represented the challenges of an attempt to move forward in the face of setbacks.
Naeem Callaway reminds us that “sometimes that smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step.”
As we walk through the new year, what steps will we take that may become the biggest steps of our life?
Lead someone, mentor them, give a coworker a nudge to step up or step out in ways that will move them closer to their potential.
The time we take to do so may be the biggest step we take, so take it!
The idea is often thought of as the most valuable player, a person recognized for their outstanding abilities, contribution, or accomplishments to the team. Generally, they are a stand-out person, one that everyone sees leading others to a specific measure of success.
However, when we think about leadership, the MVP may not always stand out and be in front of the rest. Their contribution may be minimal in the eyes of many, if not most, but what they give is critical and vital to success.
Think about the mother of a boy with five loaves and two fish and what she taught him. Who is the MVP where you lead?
I came across a thought expressed by Shayne McClendon that has great implication for leadership, “I will breathe. I will think of solutions, I will not let my worry control me. I will not let my stress level break me. I will simply breathe. And it will be okay. Because I don’t quit.”
I specifically found this thought interesting because it directly relates to one of the strongest books I’ve read in the last year written by Angela Duckworth, Grit. This is one worth your time.
The power of passion and perseverance in leadership cannot be overstated. No matter what happens, Grit is the core of success.
How we are defined as leaders is based on our actions. Patrick Ness said, “You do not write your life with words… You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”
We may have the noblest of intentions. We may have abundant talent. We might even possess the highest IQ. If our actions, however, do not display exemplary character, then our intentions, talent, and intelligence represent little, if anything.
Let our actions define the true nature of our leadership.
Leadership is a combination of many components that come together to help followers get from where they are to where they need to be and when they need to be there.
While these components will vary based on the people and situation, one of the most critical pieces to good leadership is knowing when.
Moving too slow causes frustration and moving too fast creates tension and anxiety. Like the story of the Three Bears, when we get it just right, everything works and moves to the benefit of everyone.
Time moves at incredible speed, especially as we approach the middle of the month. As each day flies by, we must continue to evaluate our leadership and our influence with those who follow. Do we know where we are leading them? If not, how will we know if we get there?
Ken Davis said, “Aim at nothing and you will hit it every time. Know where you are going and you can take anyone with you.”
Others are following, and when we know the destination, we can point others in the right direction.