Reflection cannot be overlooked in Leadership

There are times when as a leader you need to have the ability to take a step back from all that is going on reflect. Reflection can often be the difference between good leaders and great leaders. What is so important about reflection is that it can tell you just as much about the future as it can the past. To use reflection as a leadership tool can help separate you from all the other leaders.

I can remember a time when I was going 100 mph in my career. I was trying to accomplish as much as possible as quickly as possible. I wanted to impress everyone as new executive. I felt that I only had a small amount of time to change the world. I would have slowed down but I felt I didn’t have the time too. I just kept on going. I would have my direct boss say, “you are moving too fast” and I would say “thank you.” I know crazy but I felt it was what others expected of me and I felt it was what I expected of myself. As I reflect now on that experience, it is actually difficult to remember what I did accomplish. I know I accomplished a number of things but because I was moving so fast I cant even think of the successes I had. I never reflected on what I was doing. Because of this, I missed opportunities to build important internal relationships with other leaders. I lost the opportunity to see the indirect impact of things I was doing. Had I taken the time to reflect on what I was doing and why I was doing it, there is no doubt in my mind I would have felt more successful and most likely accomplished even more.

As a leader or one who aspires to be a leader, don’t allow yourself to get caught up with trying to accomplish too much too fast. Build into your leadership plan time for reflection, allow yourself to take a look at what are doing, the successes you have accomplished, the mistakes you have made and use that to help shape your future. The most important reflection you will ever see is the one you see when you look into the mirror. You need to ask yourself:

What do you see in the reflection?

Do you see a leader who is so caught up in titles, salary and status that you are not actively leading but rather idly leading?

Do you a leader who is tired, worn out and feels like they can’t keep up with all the demands?

Do you see a leader who is achieving success and balance in life?

Do you see a leader who is still passionate or one who has lost all desire to give it their all?

Asking these questions to the person looking back at you in the mirror can help keep you grounded as well as honest. Don’t underestimate the importance of reflection. Keep your focus on the future while using the past as a tool to help you get better. This world needs more leaders who reflect on the past to create a better future.

Heroes reflect!

Don’t Burn Bridges

One of the things that many professionals overlook, especially when they are young in their career is the importance of not burning bridges. The concept of burning bridges refers to what can happen as you move from one opportunity to another one, you do so in a way that does not allow for there to be an opportunity with those you have associated with previously. This often happens as an employee leaves one company and is upset how they were treated. Their exit is accompanied by negative noise. When this happens a company will surely not allow that employee to return to work for them in the future.

When a decision is made to leave one opportunity to pursue another one it is in your best interest to do all you can to make the transition as professional as possible. You never know who you will need in the future or who will end up being your boss. Your ability to make a positive exit will pay huge dividends to you, your company and often those who you work with.

I have learned that leaving one company and going to another one can be one of the best personal and professional development opportunities of my life. I have made the decision to leave one company to go work for a competing company and everytime I have made this decision, I have done my best to leave with respect, professionalism and relationships intact. Here are some helpful hints for those that are or will be making important transitions:

1. Once you have made your decision, don’t apologize for the actual decision you have made. Your ability to be confident in your new opportunity will ensure respect with yourself, boss, co-workers and new company.

2. When you give two weeks, be willing to work out those two works and give it everything you’ve got. Stay focused.

3. Something I learned from my years in Boy Scouts, leave your position better than when you found it. Help ensure that the person coming behind you can pick-up where you left off and even do better. Put together transition notebooks, if you are lucky enough to spend time with your replacement, give them all the knowledge you can.

4. Don’t create company buzz about leaving. You need to be fair to your company and co-workers as they will be there when you leave. Keep things positive and focus on the great things about the company you are leaving. Let your company decide the best way to communicate your decision.

5. If possible, leave at the top of your game. Nothing is more powerful, empowering and respectful then leaving when you are at your best. This ensures that you will leave with a good relationship intact and in the chance that you need help in the future from your previous company or someone there, you have a much better chance of receiving it.

At the end of the day, leaving a company is never easy no matter what the situation might be. It may take extra effort to leave in a respectful and professional way but that extra effort will always be worth it. Don’t do anything that would burn bridges you just might need in the future. I know first hand that this is true. I have been re-hired by company’s I have left.

“Even Heroes will go through transitions. Heroes don’t burn bridges, they build them.”

Be A Hero!

Building Momentum

Momentum should never be underestimated.  When you can find ways to build momentum in a positive way, there is a feeling of empowerment that is so real you can touch it. You have the ability to make the intangible, tangible simply by generating positive momentum. This can happen in any aspect of your life, work, school, church, family, etc.

There are 3 key questions that I feel can help to build momentum:

1.   Do you care?

  • About yourself
  • About your goals
  • About your future
  • About what your legacy will be
  • About how you treat others
  • About how others treat you
  • About what makes you happy

2.   Why do you care?

  • You have goals you want to achieve
  • Others are looking to you as an example
  • You want to reach your full potential
  • You are following others who have set a good example
  • You can develop your strengths
  • You will establish better relationships
  • You will be respected
  • You will add value to your school, company, community, society

3.  How can you do more?

  • Take the lead more often
  • Become more humble to learn from others
  • Work harder in helping others reach their goals
  • Turn negative situations into positive learning opportunities
  • Be sure people know who you are
  • Find ways to serve others
  • Show love to those who love you

So what do those questions have to do with building momentum?

Momentum is not something that just happens. We must always be asking questions that will allow us to take action. It is only when we take action that momentum can start. When you truly care and know why you care you then almost instinctively want to do more. Doing is an action and to only way to build momentum is through our actions. There is a sense of pride that comes when you generate momentum that not only impacts you but others in a positive way.  We cannot sit back and allow the world to dedicate when or where or how momentum will impact ourlives, if we do, we will be very unsatisfied. When we are unsatisfied, we lose our energy and momentum and things can go negative quickly.

Building momentum is something that heroes do. The majority of the time it is a result of their actions that creates the true momentum. When we get the chills or that warm feeling in our heart when we see someone doing something great, it causes us to want to take action. That is momemtum. Can you imagine what this world would be like if we worked in harmony to build the type of momentum where every person felt they could succeed, guess what, we can. It starts with you and it starts with me. So together let’s start building momentum towards a brighter tomorrow. I can promise you that the youth of today are praying for our success, they want a better tomorrow.

Go out and be a hero!

Seth