Letters to my sons
A collection of thoughts and lessons I've learned along the way for my little men, and anyone else that's interested.
Posts tagged with #Leadership
We live in an age where leadership is a quality that is expected at every level. From an early age, children are engrained with the notion that they are all expected to be leaders. They are taught the qualities and characteristics of a leader, and are put in situations where they are expected to demonstrate leadership. Then they go to college and are told that leaders are to be esteemed, and that they are the leaders of tomorrow.
It’s quite clear that leadership - and the attributes and character traits that go along with it - is highly regarded. It behooves us, therefore, to dig in and learn about this topic; to consider, to study, to debate, and to discuss, and in so doing, deeply enhance our own understanding of what it means to be a leader.
It is said that the true measure of a man is not how he treats his equals or his superiors, but rather how he treats those who are inferior to him. This inferiority can come in many forms; an inferiority in status, station in life, accomplishment, or even ability. It could be the cashier at the checkout stand, or the bellman who takes your bags. It could be the new college hire on your team, or the person who restocks the snacks in the office pantry. It could even be the customer service agent you had to call because their company messed up your order.
The truth is that the way we treat these people speaks volumes to our character. Treating those who may be beneath us with dignity and respect says a few things, especially to those in our organizations.
It says that we believe everyone has the same intrinsic value. We tell people who may be in our organization that regardless of their current role, we will treat them with respect and will distinguish evaluating their work from evaluating them.
It says that we believe our current role as the manager is a job role and not a value judgment. As a manager, we are not worth more and are not valued more; rather, our role and responsibilities are simply different than theirs.
It says that we will not judge a book by its cover, and will take the time and the care necessary to get to know people. It says that we will demonstrate the thoughtfulness and empathy needed as we evaluate them.
And if these aren’t enough, remember that as leaders we are examples to those we lead!
“Attitude reflects leadership, captain” ~ Remember the Titans
When we treat the least and the last with dignity and respect, we not only set ourselves up for success as leaders, but we influence those that we lead to do the same. And that, truly, is a mark of a great leader!
Tags: #Character #Leadership
God created us to be in community. He designed us to live with others, to experience life with others, and to share our journeys with others. And with that shared journey comes the ability to be inspired by, and to inspire. To be challenged by, and to challenge. To be loved, and to love. To be taught, and to learn.
That's what mentoring is about.
It's about sharing the things that you've learned with others, and in turn learning from the experiences of others. It's an acknowledgement that you can't learn everything there is to learn in life on your own.
It's a commitment to another person saying that I will walk this next part of my journey with you. I will share things that may be uncomfortable or even unpleasant with you for the sake of our mutual trust and learning.
It's about building a bond of trust to allow someone else to see into your soul and to allow them to speak into it. It's about having the grace to look into the heart of another and treat it with care. It's about truly embodying the statement that together, we are better than the sum of our parts, and that "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another".
I've been blessed in my life to have a small number of phenomenal mentors over the years. These men have poured into my life, have relentlessly pushed me to be better, and have shared with me pieces of their lives and their faith that have helped reveal to me the type of man that I want to become. And I am eternally grateful for their faithfulness.
In turn, I try to do that with others, and try to pour my time, care, and effort into their lives as well. As your mother has helped me discover, the legacy I want to leave is to be known as a person who inspires others to be the best that they can be.
And so my prayer for you is that not only do you find good mentors that will help you through the journeys that you'll go through, but that you too will walk alongside someone else and aid them in their adventures and be a guiding post for them as well.
Tags: #Mentoring #Character #Changing the world #Purposeful Living #Relationship #Leadership
Your namesake is one of independent action, intentional living, and transformative thinking. My prayer is that you would be a man that is kind hearted, who wants to help others, and can lead them to be better.
Leadership is something that is the birthright of every man. God created you to lead your household, just like Jesus leads the church. It is not something you can shirk away from, and so my hope is that you will willingly step into that role, deliberately and intentionally.
There are many books on leadership out there, but over the years, I've been able to boil those thoughts down into 5 key learnings.
Leaders motivate those they lead to action by providing a compelling mission and vision.
Leaders have the tenacity to drive outcomes and to overcome adversity and resistence.
Leaders build relationships that create trust and promote honesty.
Leaders are stewards of even the least of those that they lead.
Leaders leave no one behind.
I'm sure there are many other nuggets of wisdom that you will pick up over the years, but these are just a few that I've found to be timeless truths. I hope they can serve you well, as they have done so for me.
Tags: #Character #Purposeful Living #Leadership
Hopefully you will have grown up having built strong relationships; relationships built on trust, mutual respect and admiration. If so, you may find yourself entrusted with another's secret.
I cannot stress the importance that you keep that secret.
Any relationship that matters values honesty and trust. Divulging another's secret proves a person unworthy of that trust. No matter what the cost, no matter what fire your feet are set to, honor that secret, for it is not yours to share.
When you keep that secret, you prove yourself trustworthy and honorable. When you keep that secret in light of personal suffering, you prove your character, and you prove yourself worthy of respect. In one of my favorite movies, Scent of a Woman, Al Pacino puts it superbly in his final speech:
"I don't know if Charlie's silence here today is right or wrong. I'm not a judge or jury, but I can tell you this: He won't sell anybody out to buy his future! And that, my friends, is called integrity. That's called courage. Now that's the stuff leaders should be made of."
And that's my hope for you, that you would be a leader of men, a great leader that builds strong relationships, fosters long-lasting bonds, encourages others, and builds others up. In order to do that, you have to be a man of integrity, who knows how to keep confidences, and who doesn't have a loose tongue.
Tags: #Character #Integrity #Purposeful Living #Leadership
By now you should know that the two movies that have influenced me the most are Top Gun and Gladiator, and hopefully you'll recognize the title of this post as a pivotal line from the latter. The message I want to convey to you today is that while Commodus spits out this phrase facetiously, mercy is absolutely a critical characteristic for us to develop.
While Grace is the act of blessing someone with something undeserved, Mercy is the act of withholding judgment or retribution from someone that deserves it. Both of these are demonstrated by Jesus for us. His Mercy withholds the consequence of our sin, and His Grace gives us the opportunity to know and have a relationship with God.
As you know, the legacy that I want to leave behind is that I'm a person that inspires others, that motivates them, that instills passion and drive in those that are around me. To do this, we need to able to see people not for who they are, but for the best that they can be.
The capacity to consistently bring out the best in people is called leadership, and the ability to see people not as they are but as they were created to be requires the attribute of mercy.
Leadership requires not just an openness and intuition to see the best in people, but the corresponding amount of Mercy to allow people to make and learn from mistakes as they get there. Great leaders are able to focus on the accomplishments and successes while taking hold of failures and errors and using them as learning opportunities.
So how do we develop our ability to have mercy?
We develop our ability to show mercy when we are able to see how much we ourselves need mercy shown to us. When we humbly recognize our own position and understand the amount of mercy God has demonstrated for us, we are able to see how we should in turn extend mercy to our contemporaries, and we begin to model the characteristics that God desires for us.
My prayer for you then is that in light of your confidence in knowing who you are and what you are capable of, that you would be humbled by the knowledge of who God is and what He created you for, and from that posture of humility be able to show grace and mercy to those around you.
Tags: #Character #Purposeful Living #Mercy #Faith #Leadership