Sunday, June 23, 2013


Time again to help a good friend promote her newest book. For a chance at winning a free copy of "Valor of the Healer", by Angela Korra'ti, click on the link below, and follow the directions. Her last book "Faerie Blood" is also an excellent read! "Valor of the Healer" Giveaway

Leadership Lessons- Part IX: Resilience

(Originally Published 03 August, 2009)
(Note: I'm not sure if this is the video that originally went with this post. The one I originally posted was no longer available.)

Welcome to the ninth and final part of the series on leadership. First off, I would like to apologize to those who have been following for the delay in getting this one posted. It's been a long weekend, filled with much cherished visits from an old friend, and car repairs, and by the time each was finished, I was too exhausted to do anything else. Now without further ado, I present you with part IX. To date, I have covered Focus, Urgency, Initiative, Competence, Communication, Politics, Intellectual Honesty, and Interdependence. In this post, I will discuss Resilience. Resilience is defined as an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

As an effective leader, one is expected to be of resilient character; therefore, developing and maintaining this quality of leadership should always be one of top priority. It is also the responsibility of an effective leader to nurture the experiences of those under his leadership to help them to develop a sense of competence and self-confidence for dealing with and overcoming their own mistakes and misfortunes. One must recognize that, at all levels of leadership, one must take steps to insure his own resilience as well as the strength and stability of those around him. To these ends, the following guidelines should be taken into consideration:
  • The first step in forging and solidifying either personal or team reslience is taken when a leader begins to place his trust in others.

  • By confiding in others, a leader takes two important steps toward building resilience in them. By verbally sharing experiences, one integrates emotionally and bonds a sense of mortal trust with others.

  • Allowing those under one's leadership to have a great deal of control over how assignments are accomplished reinforces one's confidence in them. It also motivates their desire to perform their duties with skill and excellence.

  • It is prudent that a leader be driven to serve purposes outside his own self-interest, as the extreme individualist never becomes a successful or effective leader.

  • An effective leader should always forgive and forget the honest errors of others and to help them to rebound and recover from their mistakes. This responsibility is of paramount importance.

  • It is of vital importance that one does not become confounded by one's miscalculations when a particular strategy does not work. In light of such a situation, one's primary task should be to formulate a new premise and take decisive action.

  • In matters of either crisis or routine, it is always wise to ask others for their opinions, ideas, or suggestions. By taking such action, it often improve the action taken and reinforce concensus between a leader and those whom he leads. Moreover, restricting one's choices to the confines of his own knowledge is self-limiting. This is especially so when others possess knowledge and ideas that will allow one to improve upon his course of action.

  • While an effective leader is expected to be successful in all that he does, he must also possess the strength of character to experience and recover from failure.

  • A leader often encounters traumatic situations that are sudden, unexpected, and short-lived; however even in the most dire conditions, he is expected to maintain his composure and assist others in maintaining theirs. The fact is that anyone can commit a mortal mistake when overcome by panic and despair.

  • When met by mistakes and misfortune, there is no gain in retreat. Running away from a problem never solves anything, nor does it soothe feelings.

  • And last, but not least,
  • We must always recognize that in the most perilous circumstances, a leader must retain a sense of hope- trusting in his own ability and in the competence of others to stand firm against what would otherwise be an overwhelming tide of helplessness and despair.
In conclusion, as an effective leader, one's training and values will enable him to sustain even excessive periods of hardship while maintaining some measure of hope- the mortality fail-safe of human will.

Leadership Lessons- Part VIII: Interdependence

(Originally Posted: 29 July, 2009) Welcome to Part VIII of the series on leadership. To date, I have covered Focus, Urgency, Initiative, Competence, Communication, Politics, and Intellectual Honesty. Each of these can be found in their own discussion earlier in this blog. Today's topic is Interdependence, or the quality of being mutually dependent on each other. Interdependence can be either a great strength or a fatal weakness. If this is to be a strengthening quality of one's leadership, one must always permit the individual to strive within an environment of mutual dependence. Otherwise, the loss of the individual will more often than not become a fatal weakness- an Achilles' heel. In order to employ interdependence as a strengthening quality of leadership, the following guidelines are important:
  • Whenever a distinguished leader suddenly begins to behave erratically, in a way contrary to both his past record and to the well-being of the group, there is usually a misguided rationalization for it. However, as he has served honorably in the past, it is noble to help him work through his personal crisis.

  • Knowledge is power, but withholding information from those who should rightfully posess it is a personal weakness, one that others often pay a heavy price for as a result.

  • It is every leader's duty to freely exchange his knowledge, not through intellectual superiority, but as a means by which one helps to resolve problems and make better decisions.

  • On becoming a leader,one does not gain the authority to act independently of established rules or regulations. However, leaders should be duty-bound to abide by and uphold the policies and orders of higher command as they set the examples that others imitate.

  • Every member of a group has the right and duty to make meaningful contributions to the group as a whole. However, no one has the right to use the group's resources as a means of pursuing a personal agenda.

  • Extrme care should be taken to preserve the "individual" that exists in all who serve under one's leadership. Simply put, one's individualism- found in specialized abilities and knoweldge- is a key asset that contributes toward the achievement of common goals.

  • A leader who asks for the assistance of others, in order to accomplish a task or to succeed in achieving his goal, is not weak, but wise. A leader who provides assistance to another is not an intruder, but a friend.

  • There are times when virtually everyone will become sceptical of those in positions of higher authority. However, this scepticism neither justifies withholding information, nor does it condone taking independent action.

  • Sometimes the behavior of great officers crosses over the line of propriety, and must be reigned in by a more steadfast leader.

  • Everyone has the right to expect that all leaders will make good on their oath of office. In otherwords, a leader should be reliable, dependable, trustworthy, and mutually supportive of those that serve under him. The moment that a leader goes against his oath of office he loses his value to the group.

  • in conclusion,
  • One good leader sometimes makes the difference in whether the group succeeds or fails. However, it is the cooperative, collaborative, and corroborative effort of the entire group that will be more likely to lead to success.

As an effective leader, one will never have a more satisfying assignment than when serving among others with whom there is a shared mutual dependence-or even a symbiotic relationship.

(Next: Lesson IX- Resilience)

Leadership Lessons -Part VII: Intellectual Honesty

(Originally Published 28 July, 2009)

Yes, there are two videos this time (dual episode, dual example)

I have covered six of the qualities of leadership thus far: Focus, Urgency, Initiative, Competence, Communication, and Politics. Today, I will discuss Intellectual Honesty. "What is Intellectual Honesty?", you may ask. Simply put, it is one's personal code of honor. All leaders are entrusted to maintain a high standard of personal honor; therefore the following guidelines are important:
  • Since humans are emotional beings, we can be drawn into doing the wrong thing by what, at the moment, seems a necessity- necessity that often proves to result from either ignorance or denial.

  • Distrust is the result of many factors. Any leader who gains some ends by selfish scheming and underhanded practice my imagine that he has found the key to success, but eventually, the day comes when he is found out, and even his plausible words lose all value.

  • A dishonest person is soon denied the chance to be honest because the doors of opportunity are closed to him. To be true to oneself is to be true to those who provide the keys to opportunity.

  • It is easy to recognize the faults of others, but it is much more difficult for one to admit that he may be the one responsible for those faults he finds in others.

  • To be held in high regard, one;s actions should not betray his words. However, it is of vital importance that one's actions not betray doing what is right for the common good.

  • A leader who makes a habit of being true to himself and to others is one that can be trusted and relied upon in times of crisis. This holds true for everybody.

  • For security purposes, a leader may not be able to fully disclose the nature of a task to everybody. However, no leader should ever,under any circumstances, mislead those around him as to the nature of the task.

  • There may be limited time for one newly appointed to a leadership position to begin developing healthy relationships with those around him, but under no circumstances should he use whatever limited time is available to undo any potential to develop healthy relationships.

  • The morale and motivation of a team is a direct refelction of how they perceive their leader's integrity toward them.

  • in conclusion,
  • Intellectual honesty may result in one being dismissed for a time only to be recalled to duty when the success of the task at hand depends upon one who has proven his rustworthiness.
An effective leader must not only act with integrity of word and deed, but also integrity of idea and principle. This should be nothing less than any effective leader's code of honor.

(Next: Lesson VIII- Interdependence)

Leadership Lessons- Part VI: Politics

(Originally Published 27 July, 2009)

So far in this series, I have covered five of the main qualities of leadership: Focus, Urgency, Initiative, Competence, and Communication. (For follow-up, please refer to the corresponding entries titled Leadership lessons- Parts I-V) This entry will cover yet another important aspect: Politics.

It is a given fact that politics are the means by which civilized people conduct their affairs. Civilized conduct also helps to smooth out occasional wrinkles that tend to surface in interpersonal relationships, and well-intentioned and functional politics are of vital importance to governing organizations and the people within. However, every person also posesses the potential to display the dark side of power and authority. Following are some guidelines to keep such disfunctional and abusive behavior under control:
  • In any organization, rules of conduct create an atmosphere of decency by controlling irrational behavior.

  • A leader who seeks to distinguish himself at the expense of the innocent is in fact digging two graves, as the wrongful distruction of another's reputation will soon serve to destroy one's own.

  • Even the most notable leader can become so weakened by flattery that he ceases to exercise his authority properly, ceases to acknowledge that which is factual, and ceases to heed honest and constructive criticism until he gets to the point where he finds that those who once trusted him have deserted him.

  • A leader who emphasizes the commonalities of those around him, and has the ability to help them understand the differences that separate them, equips them with a great deal of skill to control their own irrational behavior.

  • A leader who constantly strives to find fault with others does not always succeed. However, in doing so, he causes harm to those around him and creates a distrustful environment for everyone.

  • While a leader may not always be convinced to act on factual evidence, he should never allow himself to be corrupted by his own determination in order to achieve his own ends despite what is the truth.

  • A person's bloodlines are bestowed upon him at birth, and are neither cause for alleged guilt nor reason for disqualifying him from any recognition. In order for humanity to improve, we must respect the rights of everyone to have an unrestrained part in our progress.

  • Although a leader has every right to expect those around him to follow lawful orders, no leader has the authority to force anyone to participate in his illegal activities or abuses of power.

  • A leader who respects the authority and power of his position exercises them in devotion to his duty in order to ensure the success of others

  • No leader or leadership group can ever completely prevent others from sowing fear, distrust, doubt, and dissent. However, every leader should stand prepared to boldly uproot any seeds so sown by anyone else.

  • Finally
  • Political games never end and are never resolved to the satisfaction of everyone. There is always going to be something that goes unresolved, something that goes unsaid, and always someone waiting and ready to replace those who are exposed for creating disfunction within the organization

In the end, everyone pays the price for those who would spread fear in the name of self-righeousness or who would otherwise create an atmosphere of distrust, suspicion, and fear among others. Protecting the individual rights of others is a continual price of leadership, and a price that any effective leader should be willing to pay lest he become corrupted himself. There is no success worth sacrificing anyone's individual rights and no reason why one person's corrupted ambitions should corrupt those of anyone else.

(Next: Lesson VII- Intellectual Honesty)

Leadership Lessons- Part V: Communication

(Originally Published 24 July 2009)

"Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing."- Rollo May

I have received a few comments about this series of posts from those few who follow my ramblings, and thus far, they have been positive, so I will continue on today with Part V of this series (there will be four more after this one, and a possible wrap-up of the entire series.) Thanks to my readers for their support and encouragement.

Before going into today's subject, I will briefly go over the first four characteristics of leadership:
  1. Focus- the ability to concentrate on the task at hand in order to complete it successfully,

  2. Urgency- the ability to complete the task at hand purposefully, diligently, and with the utmost patience,

  3. Initiative- The power or ability to begin or to follow through with a plan or task enrgetically and with determination, and

  4. Competence- The state or quality of being adequately or well qualified to perform a given task.

Today, I will discuss communication. Communication is a key element in leadership, as without it, nothing would be accomplished. However, communication is never effective without understanding, and failed attempts at communication often lead to dangerous situations. Also, despite the varied means of communication that are at our disposal, there are certain circumstances in which the only effective means of communication is vi a face-to-face encounter. Following are a few guidelines for effective communication:
  • All things considered, effective communication is the single most important element in resolving any crisis situation. Inversely, it is also the single most important factor in preventing a crisis situation from happening.

  • An effective communicator doesn't always necessarily have to agree with other people. However, tolerating another's differences and diversity of opinion is important.

  • The first battle of most hostile encounters almost always starts just as the communication process is ending. Inversely, the last battle ends only after communication between the opposing parties resumes.

  • Silence is not always golden, but powerful messages can be conveyed without speaking a single word. Sometimes what is not spoken is more important than what is actually said.

  • When one judges another solely by body language, gestures, vocal intonation, and facial expressions, it often leads to misinterpretation- not only where people of different racial or cultural backgrounds or different ideologies are concerned, but also when interacting with people from one's own culture or background who share the same ideology. Therefore, it is of extreme importance that one's non-verbal expression should not cause another to misinterpret what one is trying to say.

  • When one is having difficulty in expressing his thoughts, feelings, opinions, or ideas, it is important to remain patient in order to gain understanding.

  • If one person fails to listen to what another person is trying to convey, that person will often fail to properly respond to what has been said.

  • If nothing else, you gain more knowledge by listening when another person has very little to say.

  • Effective communication does not always end in agreement between people. This is true, as some of the most effective communications simply end with the opposing parties arriving at the reason(s) why they disagree with each other.

  • Interrupting another while they are in mid-sentence is generally considered to be rude. However, sometimes doing so can be the smartest and kindest thing you can do to them at that moment.

  • The use of some forms of advanced technology (ie. telephone, email, etc.) inherently separates the emotion from the communication. However, no technology is capable of removing the harmful effects of what has been improperly said.

  • In conclusion,
  • Always remember that, no matter how a message is delivered or recieved, the way in which you communicate must permit the messages to be understood.

Effective communiction is the lubricant of effective leadership, and one can never become an effective leader without being understood, or without understanding others.

(Next: Lesson VI- Politics)

Leadership Lessons- Part IV: Competence

(Originally Published 23 July, 2009) So far, I've covered three important characteristics of leadership:
  1. Focus- the ability to concentrate on the task at hand in order to complete it successfully,

  2. Urgency- the ability to complete the task at hand purposefully, diligently, and with the utmost patience,

  3. and
  4. Initiative- The power or ability to begin or to follow through with a plan or task enrgetically and with determination.

Today, I will discuss he quality known as competence. An effective leader is expected to perform all aspects of his duties with complete competence and skill, and, as a result, will be held accountable for making sure that his teammates perform their duties with the same degree of competence as well. The following guidelines will help you to achieve these ends.
  • Despite the degree of knowledge that one has acquired, the demonstration and proof of one's experience are required in order for that knowledge to become wisdom.

  • An effective leader should constantly strive to broaden his knowledge with and through others. Also, in doing so, he should also improve and perfect his own experience through the experience of others.

  • To become a master of any art or science immediately is not possible. Rather, if one wishes to excel at anything, he must first struggle with it while showing a great deal of patience until he learns its secrets.

  • One person posessing devices and instruments that he cannot utilize with complete competence has little, if any advantage over another who posesses the knowledge and competence, but inferior technology and tools.

  • The danger that threatens a leader's effectiveness less than anything else is the danger of knowing too much. On the other hand, it is possible to become extremely learned and still be inneffective in making use of that knowledge. Therefore, it is imperative that a leader acquire the proper knowledge to be put to use for the task at hand.

  • Passive experience does not yield competence in anyone. If one is to add his experience to his skill and knowledge, it must be displayed and acted upon with conscious effort and determination in order to learn the lessons contained within.

  • A portion of the power that a person wields comes with the position that he holds. Howeve, the greaest measure of his power and experience comes as a direct result of knowing his work.

  • A person with full mental capacity to adapt readily to mny and varied demand and unique situations, and who also can be inventive in dealing with unexpected emergencies has a higher vlue placed on him than one whose skill is purely immitative in nature.

  • One of the best ways to instill competence among one's teammates is to help them to overcome their errors and miscalculations before mistakes become habits.

  • Finally,
  • While self-confidence is a positive attribute in any leader, it is not sufficient enough to ensure his effectiveness. In order to become effective, one must provide his team with proper instruction and experience so that they will be able to succeed.

Competence should be the top priority of anyone in a leadership position. However, always keep in mind that it is not possible to be too competent, as there is always more to learn, always others to share your knowledge nd experience with, and always others to learn from whose learning and experience is greater than yours and thus can enhance your own competence. Competence is a great force multiplier.

(Next: Lesson V- Communication)

Leadership Lessons- Part III: Initiative

(Originally Published 22 July, 2009)
In this series thus far, I've covered two important characteristics of leadership:
  1. Focus- the ability to concentrate on the task at hand in order to complete it successfully, and

  2. Urgency- the ability to complete the task at hand purposefully, diligently, and with the utmost patience.

In this post, I will discuss yet another important quality: Initiative.
Initiative is an important quality that every leader must learn to master in order to perform routine tasks and to resolve crisis situations. It is also a quality that should be cultivated and strengthened among his team. In order to do this, the following guidelines should be followed:
  • Since conditions aren't always favorable for even the most seasoned leader or team, most successful tasks rely upon those who are willing to work to overcome obstacles persistently and with unyielding perserverance.

  • An effective leader is not so much the product of his time as time is what he makes of it.

  • One's initiative should neither be easily distracted, haphazard, or without purpose. Initiative can only be taken once he fully comprehends the intentions of those around him or when he knows what the circumstances demand of him.

  • Excessive fear of the unknown is the most limiting factor in achieving one's full potential.

  • Fate does not befall a person despite his action or lack thereof, but rather the person who fails to act relies almost entirely on fate.

  • The person who makes a habit of hesitating to act upon his knowledge and experience is perhaps less valuable to those around him than the person who lacks the knowledge and experience to initiate action.

  • Personal initiative is not a quality that people posess in equal volume. Therefore, an effective leader must learn to stimulate, redirect, or even on occasion restrain others.

  • One's ambition is directly expressed by his initiative. This ambition should be properly expressed in actions that provide for the overall good of others.

  • In times when one is granted substantial freedom to act on any given situation, he should do so without violating any laws or impeding on the basic rights of others.

  • The greatest difference between insignificant and exceptional achievement is often a matter of how much enthusiasm and determination was exhibited in executing one's task.

  • The leader who feels the need to control every action taken by the team destroys the team's will to take the initiative when he is not present.

  • Finally,
  • By way of understanding, the success of difficult tasks, as well as the overall progress of our people, is often a result of the actions taken by those when action was necessary, and those who acted when others would not.

(Next: Lesson IV- Competence)

Leadership Lessons- Part II: Urgency

(Originally published 21 July, 2009)

In my last entry, I dealt with Focus, the ability to concentrate on the task at hand, as well as those that may present themselves in the future. This time, the focus will be on Urgency. As a sense of urgency is a remarkable quality to posess, the following lessons regarding urgency should be considered:
  • Urgency should not be interpreted as haste, as haste can often lead to failure, but as purposeful action. Such action should be deliberate and executed with as much patience as the situation permits. Deliberation is not procrastinating or delaying the action, but a careful consideration and weighing of all options available. Patience is not excessive indulgence, but dilligence. The leader who acts with a proper sense of urgency is the leader who selects the best option to maximize opportunity at the most opportune time.

  • An intelligent leader leader is one who acts with a sense of urgency in any given situation. He knows what the task at hand, and he knows the its purpose. As a result, his energy is more easily focused, and not careless, haphazard, or thwarted.

  • An officer with a strong sense of urgency will become the master of his circumstances and not be slave to them, and will rarely be prevented from successfully completing the task at hand.

  • The most talented leader is one who has a sense of urgency in the performance of his duties, and expects the same degree of urgency in his team.

  • It is rarely better to at quickly in any given situation and err than it is to procrastinate until it is too late to properly act on it, as the time when action is required for any one thing is often limited, and many errors are fatal.

  • It is important to note understand that, in many difficult situations, a moment will arise when a decision is critical to successfully completing the task at hand. Oftentimes, sensing when this moment has arrived is more difficult than the decision itself.

  • Acting with a sense of urgency gives a sense of satisfaction, security, and strength. Often, that which is done with proper deliberation and patience is often done with less trouble, and greater effectiveness.

  • It is a fact that some tasks have limited time parameters in which to be completed, but virtually all tasks have time enough to be completed successfully if the team works together and applies itself to the best of its abilities.

  • When a team acts with a sense of urgency, it first understands the task at hand, and then applies itself by doing what must be done until the best possible results are achieved.

  • In conclusion:
  • The extent of a leader's accomplishments is dependent on his ability, opportunity, and how he applies himself to whatever tasks he is presented with. Ability and opportunity are largely static conditions, but can be modified. How he applies himself is the only one that is in his own control, and he may choose how much application will be combined with his abilities and opportunities. Furthermore, the results of how well he applies himself are what measure his accomplishments.

If one approaches whatever tasks he is presented with, however difficult to achieve, with a proper sense of urgency, he will be able to achieve success, and accomplish more, even under the most trying conditions.

(Next: Lesson III- Initiative)

Leadership Lessons- Part I: Focus

(Originally Published 21 July, 2009)[Note, this was the first of nine posts dedicated to leadership, and how to be a GOOD leader]

A few weeks ago, I posted my thoughts on leadership, and gave my recommendation for a good book ("Make It So: Leadership Lessons from Star Trek, the Next Generation", by Wess Roberts, Ph.D, and Bill Ross). At the time, I couldn't find the book in my pile of stuff, and now that I've found it, I will start a short series on leadership. I will take the important ideas from the book, and present them as they apply.

Lesson I is Focus. I will focus on the aspect of focus (heh, I made a pun) as it is the cardinal quality of an effective leader. Without focus, the goals and aspirations of the group will never reach fruition. The following are important points.
  • An effective leader must maintain a clear and unclouded vision about situations that may arise in the future. Such vision requires the leader to deal with all his priorities, but not necessarily sequentially. An effective leader must develop the ability to see and deal with the consequences of his action, or inaction, immediately.

  • The degree of effectiveness of any leader is directly proportionate to the amount of focus he applies to his most important duties.

  • An effective leader should cultivate and expand the full mental ability to adapt and atune himself readily to miscellaneous demands as well as new and unusual situations, and to be inventive when dealing with any crisis that may arise.Such leaders are of far greater value to othrs than they would be if their mental abilities were arrested at mere immitation.

  • The demands of time and attention that are placed on a leader by those on his team increase with rank and position. However, since the leader can not be in more than one place at any given time, it is of vital importance that he be able to distinguish between that which is profitable, and that which is wasteful use of his time and proximity

  • A clear and persistent goal reduces the extent of the effort needed to be effective.

  • While being sidetracked from the main focus may bea result of of taking on too many responsibilities, a gifted officer will most often fail as a result of hasty or uncertain distribution of his talents.

  • An effective leader can not afford to allow his team to be distracted by misdirected competition, as this inevitably leads to failure.

  • When one is not precisely fitted for a job, the best way to hone and develop the skills needed to become successful at it is to concentrate on the enthusiasm and devotion required to do it

  • The most guaranteed way to be selected for a higher position is to concentrate on doing one's present job thoroughly, and to the best of one's abilities.

  • When a leader becomes convinced that the power of concentration leads to success, he will go to great lengths to propagate this power in his team, and will carefully and tirlessly work to prevent wanton waste of profitable effort and valuable resources.

  • And in conclusion:

  • Concentrating on the most important aspects of one's duties gives all the secondary or mechanical operations of one's efforts the ease and expertise of habit.

If you focus your efforts on matters of the highest priorities associated with your position, you will liberate more of your own, and your team's, initiative, power, innovation, and imagination- all which are vital proponents of a successful endeavor.

(Next: Lesson II- Urgency)

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