I wake up some mornings, read the headlines and shake my head in bewilderment. War, Budget Crisis, Market Meltdown, Real Estate Crash, Poverty and Scandals. I see these headlines play out almost everyday and often feel a wave of despair flow over me. I often wonder, how did we get here? Where did we go wrong? The answer is simple. Despite all the things leaders say, it is what they do that counts. And what they’ve done is lose sight of what is important. They have forgotten how to Lead With Honor. To quote Pogo, “we have met the enemy, and the enemy is us.” So as a Leader, I ask you, have you lost sight of how to Lead With Honor?
Losing Sight of What is Important
I can easily point my finger at prominent leaders who, because they lost sight of what is important, led our country to the brink of financial ruin. The scary part – we aren’t out of the woods yet. My list would include Presidents, CEOs, Senators, Governors, Mayors, Union Officials, Board Members, Real Estate Agents, Government Officials, Regents, Scientists, Bank Officials, Loan Officers etc… There is a lot of blame to be shared. What I want to ask though, is have you and I also lost sight of what is important? Let me ask you a few questions. Have you ever…
- Lied or falsified a document at work? This would include documents like proposals, reports, performance reviews, white papers, marketing brochures, product details or specifications. You get the idea.
- Lied about being available for a meeting or called in sick, when you really weren’t?
- Yelled at someone out of frustration or bullied someone to get a point across or get your way? How about lying to close a deal? Is winning all that matters?
- Created a position for someone, especially in government, because you knew they needed the position to make more money at retirement? Have you ever created a new department or division, because you knew it would increase your power and prestige in the company… when it really didn’t make sense to do?
- Let conflict go unresolved, because you were afraid to address it?
- Transferred a bad performer to another department, just so you wouldn’t have to deal with the problem?
- Made a decision, without really understanding the implications?
- Failed to hold someone accountable for something they did that resulted in damage to someone or something else?
- Failed to apologize for something you did that resulted in damage to someone or something else?
- Lobbied for a cause that you knew was bad, because you would get a bonus?
I could continue the questions until you realized that you…and I… are part of the problem too. We can all be better leaders. It is when we forget that we need to be constantly growing as leaders, that we lose sight of what is important. This in turn, leads us to losing our way and to the many problems we face today. So how do we ensure we don’t lose sight of what is important, by deciding to Lead With Honor… everyday.
Leading With Honor
Leading With Honor isn’t for wimps! This isn’t something we should only be teaching in church and in school. Leading With Honor is what we all need to do, to make the world a better place. The Lead With Honor Challenge:
- Serve others. Whatever you do, should benefit others. This includes every product you help make, every service you help provide and every decision you make that impacts others.
- Lead with integrity. Never… ever… lie, cheat or steal.
- Show respect to everyone. Everyone desires respect. Everyone. Regardless of your position or power, ensure you show everyone respect. Theodore Roosevelt made a reputation of caring for everyone he met. He knew all the White House staff by name and made it a point to make them feel important.
- Agree to disagree… without being disagreeable. We all disagree. As leaders we all have our own thoughts and agendas. If you disagree with someone, just remember to do it agreeably. Our politicians should take note of this one. To act otherwise is childish.
- Take all things to account, before making a decision. As leaders, we often have conflicting roles and responsibilities. We must lead organizations, provide value to stakeholders or the public, yet also care for our employees and staff. You cannot take a stance that only values one party. As a leader, you must learn to take all things into account, and make balanced decisions.
- Listen More. Talk Less. Leaders can only make good decisions, if they understand what is going around them. The last time I looked, you mouth isn’t necessary for comprehension, but you ears certainly are.
- Reward and Discipline as necessary. Ensure that those who deserve to be rewarded are recognized and that those that are poor performers get help.
- Treat everyone fairly. Again, everyone wants to be treated fairly. You can make a profit or get a promotion, while not taking advantage of someone else.
- Become an expert at what you do. You cannot lead, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Whatever you do, become the best at it.
- Lead a balanced life. We cannot lead, if we are unbalanced. Ensure that your family, spiritual and personal lives don’t take a back seat to your career.
I challenge you to Lead With Honor. To constantly think about what you are doing in terms of leading others. If we all practice these things, the world will become a better place.
All the best!
All the time!