Notes from a Business Trainee
These notes are transcripts and personal additions that I’ve added, taken from the daily Wake-up Conference calls.
I’ll be quick to admit that I’m on my own path to achieving these characteristics, and that I don’t consider myself to have mastered them all in my own life or business.
Integrity & Honesty
Do what you say your going to do by when you say you’re going to do it,
This isn’t easy.
We all struggle to attain this, but the more you can aim for this in what you do in your personal and professional life, the more people around you will trust you, and be willing to hear what you have to say.
Integrity is the onion-layer that should you find underneath honesty in your role as a leader, as a person in your own right. It’s not enough to be honest as such. There needs to be a consistency of character in who you are as person for people to really be able to trust you.
This requires humility – something I’ll talk about in a minute. But before I do, I want to talk about an internal characteristic which you might call one of the primary engines of living: having a purpose.
A Purpose-driven life
If you’re goal in life is just to become wealthy, you’ll find life at the top of that particular ladder very lonely.
If, on the other hand, you seek to find a purpose which serves the interests of those around you in some clearly defined way, you will be far more likely to gain a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from giving to others what they can’t get on their own.
What if you haven’t found a purpose?
If you’re in this position, you need to start thinking about this now. You won’t achieve greatness in your life by simply stumbling along. Having higher goals in life, that go beyond your material comfort, are what will help you to keep going. If you’re reading this page, you’re here because you want to know about successful leadership. It would be a good guess to suggest you might already be a leader in some way, then.
What I’m talking about here is the need to aim for a higher vision of life so that when internal struggles and external adversity comes your way, you will be able to creatively work through them and learn the lessons which fan into flame your ultimate goals.
If you don’t have any such goals, or purpose, you won’t stay the course.
More importantly, if you desire to inspire in others a sense of their own purpose, they will look to you without question. Leadership, then, depends not just on integrity but also your ability to gain a higher purpose for your own life and for those around you. Just think of leaders you know who have modelled this, and you’ll soon understand what I mean.
- in team-work
- in being honest with your mistakes: own your mistakes. Mistakes happen.
This has nothing to do with flaws in your character as such. In your pursuit of aiming for higher goals in life, you’ll not be able to do everything. You shouldn’t aim for this. You will make mistakes – this is part of life. Another perspective on what mistakes are is this:
A mistake is merely your attempt to do something you haven’t yet mastered.
People sometimes confuse a mistake with a character flaw, or weakness – but it’s obvious, in the light of the above definition that they aren’t the same. As soon as you’re able to distinguish between mistakes and character flaws, you’re heading in the right direction to becoming a true leader.
As you rise in leadership, your mistakes will become more transparent to you and others around you, so humility in the face of them is ever-more important.If you’re a leader and you think can impose the direction your team will go, you’re in for a painful ride. Openness to others is a key component of mutual trust and you can’t build trust if you’re not willing to listen to those around you.
It’s true that it’s humbling to admit to mistakes, but as soon as you do, those around you will trust you with theirs. More importantly, you’ll be able to help one another in those areas of life where you know you have weaknesses. This isn’t new: it’s one of the bases of any successful community or team.
Humility, then, is a strong foundation for commitment amongst your team, and your commitment to them.
Know how to express sincere appreciation for your team. Where would you be without them? The head is useless without the rest of the body. Honour the members of your team.
What has this got to do with humility? In essence, your acknowledgement of their role gives them significance, it elevates their contribution. If each person in your team is embraced in this way, you won’t need to ask them to play their part. As they see you serve, they’ll serve.
This servant leader-perspective is not new, but it’s the most powerful. There are many examples in history of great leaders who have modeled this to the nth degree.
If you’re based in the US, you might well bring to mind John Wooden, the UCLA championship basketball coach. Now reaching towards his centenary year (he was born in 1910), John Wooden’s inspirational leadership is the direct result of his own study and following of arguably the greatest leader of all time.
Although John Wooden has long since retired from basketball, his influence echoes powerfully on today, as many have struggled to emulate his outstanding model of leadership.
The most satisfying and enjoyable workplaces I’ve been in have all had leaders which have modeled these characteristics in their professional lives. If you want to leave a similar legacy in the way you lead, I highly recommend you aim for these characteristics in your own sphere of leadership, whether that’s in business, or wherever you have that role to play in life.
As a father and teacher by background, these are salutary lessons I know I’m still on the pathway to achieving, but with the help of others in my latest business adventure, I’m confident of being able to achieve them like never before.
If you’d like to find out more about what I’m up to, please click on the links below, in the resources section.