In The Absence of Leadership – Lead!

Leaders are defined by those that are following them. If no one is following you, you are not a leader. A man with no one following him is a man out for a walk by himself. It really is that simple.

By definition leadership means: the act or an instance of leading. A person or thing that leads. A guiding or directing head. In it’s simplicity, the bottom line is, if you think you are a leader, take a moment and look over your shoulder. What do you see? Is anyone following you? If you take a gander over your shoulder and there is someone back there I would say you are well on your way.

  • Leaders, lead. They don’t follow. They know how to follow but given the opportunity to lead, leaders lead
  • Leaders, lead. They don’t wonder about their leadership, they are clear they are a leader
  • Leaders, lead. They don’t defer to others – they lead

In the absence of leadership, lead. This is a Darleneism. It is something I say to those I am coaching to develop their leadership skills. Leaders inspire, motivate and persuade others to come with them along the journey. In whatever capacity you find yourself as a leader, you must take people with you. People are key to the success of leaders. Coercion doesn’t work. If people don’t trust you or walk in fear of you, you can’t take them anywhere.

So what am I trying to say?

For new leaders or novices – Leaders lead! You should know whether you are a leader. Typically no one has to tell you. It’s in you, even if you stumble along the way. Remember that leadership is about people, results, vision, trust and integrity. In the absence of leadership – lead! Don’t look around and see who else should step up. You step up when no one else is there. That’s how you gain the experience you will need. 

For seasoned leaders – In the absence of leadership, do what you do – lead. If you are seasoned, there is not much else I can say to you. Continue to sharpen your leadership skills. Make sure people are your priority. Ensure that you have clear vision and take people somewhere. Most importantly, groom new leaders. Novices need mentors. The best place for a novice to get a mentor is from someone who has been in the trenches. That’s you! Lead!


What Are You Grateful For?

Saying “Thank you” is powerful! Being Thankful is more powerful! The word gratitude means the feeling of being grateful or thankful! The feeling…I am not necessarily a proponent of being emotional or driven by your feelings, but in this case, concerning gratitude, the power of gratitude comes by way of your feelings. The minute you begin to remember the goodness of people, it will put a smile on your face. The minute you recognize that you are alive and well…and there are worse places and circumstances you can be in…in that moment, you allow gratitude to wash over your heart…you can’t stay in some negative feeling or frustration! It’s good to be alive! It’s great to have people around you who care deeply for you. Gratitude can shift you if you let it….

  • Gratitude can lift a person from depression!
  • Gratitude can change a frown into a smile!
  • Gratitude can shift the energy in a room!
  • Gratitude can reunite broken relationships!
  • Gratitude can repair broken hearts!
  • Gratitude can change your perspective on life and living!

Just saying “thank you”, can change the most challenging situation you might find yourself in. Writing it down and remembering what you are grateful for can change your paradigm – your attitude about life and difficulties you are going through. What Are You Grateful For?

Here are a few ways you can incorporate gratitude in your life on a daily basis:

  1. Write personal “thank you” notes – sit down and do it the old fashion way – pen and paper
  2. Call a friend or family member on the phone and tell them
  3. Write in your journal what you are thankful for each and every day
  4. Take a walk – a gratitude walk and remember – enjoy the world around you as you walk
  5. Acts of kindness – touch someone else by giving to them unexpectedly, for no reason other than gratitude

Saying “thank you” can be two of the most difficult words for people to speak and yet there is so much power in the acknowledgement of what these two words mean…to yourself and to others. What Are You Grateful For? Take a moment today and leave me a comment below…What Are You Grateful For? Share this post with others. I am on a mission of gratitude today!

You Will Make Mistakes!

If you think you are exempt from mistakes, you are mistaken and you need to move away from that thought. So many times when I work with leaders, they beat themselves up for the mistakes they make. Many times young leaders struggle to move forward when they make a mistake. But you must remember that leaders make mistakes too! Whether you are a seasoned leader or a novice, you will make mistakes as you attempt to lead people and processes!

Again, you will make mistakes. Prepare for making mistakes. Have a strategy to help move yourself from focusing on the mistake to looking at moving forward. Keep in mind that you might not be able to fix all of your mistakes. The ones that are repairable, fix them. The ones that are not, learn from them and keep moving forward. Don’t get stuck in your mistakes and don’t let others hold you hostage to your mistakes.

  • Acknowledge your mistakes
  • Assess your mistakes and how you got there
  • Assess the lessons, and LEARN from the mistake(s)

Here are a few mistakes that leaders make that you can actually work through with time as you grow as a leader:

1. Failure to Clarify Expectations – I believe this is the number one mistake that leaders make. They fail to clarify expectations with people. As a result misunderstandings happen, frustration with people because of incomplete or incorrect work product, confusion about who does what by when…leaving people pointing fingers and confusion about accountability. Solution: Ensure you take the time to clarify expectations with anyone on your team or project. Clarify roles and deadlines. And then follow-up. Lastly hold people accountable to expectations that are clear.

2. Failure to Understand What Moves or Motivates People – Many times leaders misunderstand what drives the people working for or with them. Solution: It is critical for you as a leader to get to know your people. What moves them and motivates them? What are their strengths and growth opportunities? What frustrates them? What is happening in their life that might affect what is happening in your organization or with your project? You have to know the answer to these and other questions or you will frustrate your people and may be the cause of frustration and breakdowns in communication.

For Novices & Seasoned Leaders: Learn from the mistakes you make. Take responsibility for them and don’t blame others. Take ownership and be transparent about your mistakes. Look at the mistakes as teachable moments, and in the due season of your life, opportunities will come up for you to retake the test and demonstrate that you have learned from your mistakes.

Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton