I use to love to hear my father in law talk about the building of their family home. It was a beautiful multi-level home built on the side of a tall hill in NW Arkansas. It was part of a new development in the mid to late 1960's. He talked about how he made sure the workers took the extra step to have extra steel rods placed in the foundation to support the house for the long haul. He knew the land in NWA and how foundations would crack and shift over time because of the terrain. He would check in on the progress regularly to make sure his instructions were being carried out. It took extra money and extra time, but he wanted the house to stand the tests of time. He didn't want the house to come tumbling down that tall hillside. And it has stood the tests of time! It remains a securely anchored home to this day...some 50 plus years later!
When we think about our leadership, we can think about it being like a home we are building in the lives of people or organizations. And as we build this structure of leadership, the foundation counts! We want our leadership to be stable. We want our leadership to last through tough times. We want our leadership to leave a legacy that others can be inspired by and empowered by. How do we build such a leadership? Well...foundation counts! What is our leadership securely founded on?
John Maxwell has some interesting points to share about this topic in his book, Developing the Leader Within You 2.0. He says that CHARACTER is the foundation of leadership. So, our good character is what provides a stable foundation to our leadership.
That's a big word to reflect on...Character. It involves an inner development vs an outward image. It involves such things as honesty, being teachable, genuineness, and grit. Wow! Not skills like: planning, time management, casting vision, gaining buy in, setting and accomplishing goals or production. These are the outward parts of leadership. Character is about building the inner man. It's just like building a house. We can put some beautiful craftsmanship in the structure of the house such as: crown molding, quartz countertops, solid oak cabinets and bookshelves, and so forth. These outward features can create a home with a magnificent image. But if we build this magnificent house on sand versus a foundation of rock, all of it's beauty will come crashing and tumbling down in the storms we encounter in leadership and life.
Developing the leader within you involves developing character within you. John Maxwell says, "The core of character boils down to three main things: embracing good values, practicing self-leadership (doing the right thing even when you don't want to), and valuing people." Start off identifying your values. Make a list. Then ask yourself what will I not negotiate on? Then take another step of showing value to other people. Do this by looking for ways to show others that you value them (acts of kindness).
Dig down deep to the rock and take the time to lay extra steel enforcement. Make the foundation immovable and solid. Your leadership is important. Your influence counts big! Make the foundation solid so your influence will last through the tests of time and remain strong for the next generations.
Adapted from: Developing the Leader Within You 2.0 John Maxwell
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Cindy writes about her adventures, observations, and other nuggets from living in another nation. She and John live in SE Asia. She will also share nuggets from her 58 plus years of life.