Power Moves: Lessons in Leadership

This year we have been brought face to face, in so many ways, with what makes an adequate, good, and great leader. Even if we didn’t choose it to be so, all of us are examples to someone. If you are an entrepreneur, a leader in an organization, or a leader in your own life…or if you observe the actions of others on the world’s stage…consider that it has been brought into your awareness for a reason – the reason you give it.

This year I have also been exposed to many different leadership styles.  As I consider myself a servant leader, it has offered me “cause for pause” as I am compelled to determine my own leadership attributes and am tasked with their implementation.

The following items have become what I term as my Power Moves:

(1) Determine your core values. Stick to the fundamentals that made the organization you value.  If you aren’t the sole proprietor of the organization, it isn’t up to you to mount a crusade or reinvent the wheel.  Proceed with respect for those who have come before you, learn the ropes, create alliances, and then fill in the gaps that you identify – spaces where you can contribute to the greater good.  You will only identify these gaps after you have paid your dues, and not before.

(2) To a servant leader, our team is our reason for being a leader.  This also takes into account the larger picture.  The group (as a whole) dictates the terms of our agreement.

(3) Be transparent. Bring items that affect other’s work life or club life to the team.  When in a leadership role, the demonstration of how to be a team player begins and ends with you.  If you find yourself thinking on a regular basis, “They don’t understand. I need them to understand what I’m trying to do here…” you have set up a “me and them” adversarial relationship that will probably not come to an elegant conclusion.

(4) Does your team feel listened to?  Do they demonstrate it by their alignment with you?  Can you feel it? If you are always doing the talking, to whom are you listening?  Don’t assume that you know.  Ask them if they feel heard.  What will you do if the answer is No?

(5) The team isn’t your possession and wouldn’t be even if you are paying them.  However, they can be your collaborators, teammates, and co-workers.  Thinking of your alliance in this manner, even if you have veto power, will make your life and your team’s life run much more smoothly.  Respect each person as a valuable asset to the team, with valuable experience and thoughts to contribute.

Keep in mind, as former FBI negotiator Chris Voss says, “Never be mean to those who can hurt you by doing nothing.”

(6) The true meaning of servant leadership isn’t about me, it’s about we.  Our members, our team, those who voted us into office, and particularly our new members or employees, deserve the best of us.

(7) Nobody respects a person in a leadership role who expresses personal anger in a public forum.  Being triggered is a natural reaction, but take the time you need to transform a knee-jerk reaction into a clear-eyed response.  When in a huff, never put something in writing you wouldn’t share in the Huffington Post.

(8) You don’t allow demands to command you, so it is wise to ask, invite, and offer…not to order, or manipulate, or attempt to coerce the team into compliance. 

(9) Do you exercise your Executive “right?” Those who believe in enemies will always find them.  Those who believe in friendship will never meet a stranger.  Trust isn’t bestowed when you are installed into an office.  “Executive” is a hollow title until you RISE to fill it with your best.  If you don’t trust the team with whom you work, it is wise to consider what you consider to be a great working alliance.  Do you often offer people Hobson’s Choice?  Is it your way or the highway?

(10) True leadership will require you to understand your personal Whys on a deeper level.  You have to work through your personal caca.  If you don’t understand why you do something, you will find yourself standing alone, and often embroiled in turmoil, asking, WHY is this happening to me?

Many times it is not the answer that is the problem, it is the question.

(11) Results don’t lie to you but you can lie to you.  List your achievements and thoughtfully consider your track record.  Is the prevailing theme one of triumph or tragedy? 

Burn me once, oh, oh!  Burn me twice, Oh No.  One mishap, the onus may be on you.  Two or more mishaps, the onus is on me.

As CEO, speaker, and host of Impact Theory, Tom Bilyeu says regarding extreme ownership, It’s all my fault.

(11)  Mistakes in life happen.  You will fall down, and sometimes in a public way.  You will miscalculate.  Step up and own it.  Make amends, let it go, and move on.  You cannot drive a bus if you spend all of your time looking in the rear view mirror.  That’s how wrecks happen.  Playing the Blame Game or The Martyr may make you feel vindicated, but it never serves the greater good.

(12) Pay attention to your limitations – those items that feel like resistance and make you want to defend your territory. These are your glass barriers – deceptively transparent and may look crystal clear until you smash into them.  There is always something to learn.

(13) No matter how well established you are, act like you are always arriving. Consider life as a masterpiece that won’t be completed until you draw your last breath…and perhaps, not even then.

However, the greatest lesson I have learned to date is that some of the greatest lessons are learned by pay attention to what NOT to do. 🙂

Thank you to all our elegant teachers for your demonstrations of leadership.


Published by Paula D. Tozer

I am a writer, poet and singer/songwriter. I am a Toastmaster, motivational speaker, personal creativity coach, and workshop leader. My most sincere wish is to share my words with others, and that we both benefit from the exchange.

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