Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Leadership Jazz – 5

Continual personal development as a leader is essential for implementing great leadership.  Max DePree addresses this topic in his book titled, “Leadership Jazz.”

“We need to take into account not only the needs of our careers, but the “careers” of every member of our families.

“Leaders think about polishing their personal gifts.

“Leaders see a twofold opportunity—to build a life and to build a career.  And the fact is that people become leaders only by building both.

“Leaders deal in substance and the quality of life, deaf to the calls to pursue quantity and appearances.

“Good leaders know that moving up in the hierarchy does not magically confer upon them competence.  They know that being elected president, for instance, gives them the opportunity to become president.  Leaders also know that their real security lies in their personal capabilities, not in their power or position.

“A leader’s capabilities begin to be tested shortly after she arrives on the job.  Spontaneity and reflection begin to fade away amid the din of schedules leaders don’t make and commitments they don’t seek out.  Required reading begins to edge out elective reading.  More and more energy goes into resisting pressure to move in undesired directions.

“Followers adamantly demand that a leader possess a high degree of integrity when it comes to self-perception.  A combination of self-confidence and humility seems to me to be crucial.

“Organizations have a right to expect decisiveness from leaders.  Being decisive in an area of one’s strengths is not too difficult.

“Acting in the face of one’s weakness requires courage and risk.

“Am I willing to reserve time on my calendar for reflection?

“In learning to listen, have I thought about improving my ability to practice the art of silence?

“Am I prepared to think about polishing gifts as a way of dealing with time and leaving a legacy?  As the years slip by, am I learning to see through the lens of mortality?  How does this improve me today as a leader?

“What will give me joy at seventy or eighty?

“At the end of life, what will I face?  Or, more important, whom?

“Ask yourself frequently, “What truly gives meaning to my life?”

Are you continuing to develop yourself over a lifetime?  Are you continuing to be a life-long learner?

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