On The Bricks

May 10, 2019

I hear so much about leadership, being a leader, developing leadership skills, and all that stuff. Never has there been a How to be a Follower class, has there? I guess because that’s just easy to do. But there should be a class on How to be an Excellent Helper. That isn’t so easy.

And then you learn that being a great helper is one of the aspects of leadership.

This can be so confusing.

In a recent Toastmaster magazine, an article said, “Great leaders last because they lead themselves first.”

Seems to only add to the confusion, so I read on.

The writer says there are five traits to outstanding leadership. The first one is the “head,” or the brain, but specifically, learning. We need to keep learning to make better decisions.

“When we stop learning,” writes Mohammed Murad, “our brains start deteriorating, as do our leadership capabilities. The ‘head’ in leadership entails a relentless thirst for knowledge … leadership requires balance, not only in gaining knowledge but also in being levelheaded in decision – making. Balance helps us carefully weigh possible outcomes or consequences of decisions we make.”

He says the second trait is “heart. It takes a strong heart to take risk …. Yet risks that are fortified with knowledge and with balance from the head become calculated risks.

“For example, Mahatma Gandhi took a huge risk when deciding to lead India’s non – violent protests against British rule. His heart was drawn to leading change, yet he wasn’t acting impulsively. His actions were based on the knowledge he gained while studying law in England, along with his experience …

“His knowledge, coupled with his legal background, turned his calculated risk into one of the greatest leadership journeys in history – one that led India to independence and inspired peaceful protest and civil rights movements for years to come.

“In addition to his passion and knowledge, Gandhi used another aspect of the heart: empathy. He cared greatly for those he wanted to help. Taking a risk and focusing purely on goals, without regard to people, deprives leaders of a crucial element – loyal followers, who believe in the goal and in the leader.

Health is the third trait. “Health is often neglected by some leaders, who think they lack the time to tend to their own well – being. It is flawed thinking to believe that achieving goals is the utmost priority without considering how both the head and the heart will weaken without physical and mental health. A holistic approach needs to include the three main elements of attaining physical health: nutrition, exercise and sleep.”

Fourth is humility. “Successful leadership will only be attained if followers feel genuinely appreciated and treated with respect. That achievement begins with respect for oneself.

“Only humble leaders can be generous in giving due credit to whomever deserves it.

“Humility requires being a good listener, a trait that conveys a person is caring and is comfortable putting other people first. Leadership begets more leaders. Outstanding leaders treat everyone else as if they are also leaders or leaders waiting to emerge.

“Humility is often confused with passivity or meekness. This is not true. A leader can be humble but also aggressive in achieving goals and taking risks.”

The fifth trait is happiness. “We have many reasons for wanting to better lead ourselves or others, but the true and ultimate reason to lead is to achieve happiness…. To find our leader within ourselves, we must remove our self – doubt, along with the tendency to doubt others, and be confident.”

If happiness is the goal, then we should all aspire to become leaders.

I don’t know about you, but I need to work on number three. Badly. It is time for me to “quit dinking around” as my dad would say. Is there one of those traits you are thinking you need to concentrate on for a bit?

Interesting. And still a little confusing.

I hope you all had a wonderful Pioneer Days. It sure looked the class reunion was having a good time. And for those who have been attending graduations, I hope each of your graduates have a blessed ceremony and time.

We have had lots of visitors this past month. There’s also the OPSU rodeo, the Five State motorcyclists and the bronc school participants. For each of you that helped welcome our visitors, thank you!

Catch you on the bricks!