November 2003 Insight Newsletter

Welcome to the First Edition
How better to start than by demonstrating an honest example of a leadership challenge seen from inside:

One key goal of leaders is steady persistence while honestly facing hurdles. Results may take longer than hoped. This newsletter posed a challenge when a new email system appeared with better ability to offer links and other features. It seemed worth a delay to improve the product!

1. Simple Positive Feedback
With any hurdle, it helps to recall effective leadership is more about attaining the goal over time than occasional charismatic moments. We can all achieve this.

I was fortunate to be quoted a few years ago in David McNally’s book, The Eagle’s Secret: “The true success story is… the ordinary individual who is responsive…, smart with their choices, and conscientious… – consistently taking action to move forward through life. Because millions do this to a greater or lesser degree, the world advances and individual greatness becomes possible.”

Every individual can lead through common sense persistence. For instance, we can steadily help people recognize their own successes. This motivates faster than any other method. It’s easy, yet we often assume others know what they’ve accomplished. Just say a few words about what they achieved.

Such positive feedback has more than individual value. Encouraging even one person advances opportunity for all of us to succeed further. We also feel it instantly ourselves every time we try it – a great habit to develop. This simple routine creates immense value in organizations and in life. Encouraging others to do this multiplies the effect.

I’ve found such simple actions more powerful than grand gestures. Entire teams have performed exceptional, startling feats with just routine daily encouragement. It’s a tribute to the power we all have. Let’s use it.

2. A Useful Leadership Site
Many valuable thoughts are captured in short quotations. This is one source I turn to for leadership ideas – click here.

3. How Complex is Leadership?
Bass and Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership, published 14 years ago, lists 8000 studies. Since then about 1700 new books per year have been written about it. Yet every author offers anywhere from 5 to 75 “simple hints.” The key is to settle on a few principles you can easily recall. Make sure they cover what you need… and stick to them. Time will ensure success or show what’s missing, provided you seek accurate feedback on your progress from time to time.

“Our lives are frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” – H.D.Thoreau