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Today's Reflections on Leadership

One of the commonalities I notice consistently in the leaders that impact the world around them is that they are intent on improving the lives around them. Their reasoning is clear, and likely most of the time they don’t consciously think about it. They spend their own lives working toward a brighter future, and they want to share that future and its success with the people they care about.

Business partners and customers, family and friends, employees and their families—great leaders act with generosity and gratitude to effect positive changes in their lives. When good things happen for the people around them, great leaders experience much satisfaction.

What does leadership mean to me? There are several characteristics that rise to the top, and they all cycle around the thought that a true leader is one with a rich life and is able and willing to make other people’s lives better:

  • They are not just interested in getting something from others but giving something to others. They want to consistently add value to other people and experiences. They are focused on lifting the water for all the ships.

  • They consistently become producers in the marketplace, but it’s bigger. Their lives are not compartmentalized. They put effort into all of their lives, and their entire lives improve.

  • They excel in their roles outside the business. They put the same effort and enthusiasm into being a great spouse, son, daughter, friend, etc., as they do in being a great CEO, manager, leader at work.

  • These leaders put thought and effort into their positive contributions, and impart meaning to their communities, organizations, and societies.

  • Such leaders are empathetic and understand the people around them. They understand where they are coming from. This human connection allows them to lead effectively and establish connections that enrich everyone and give strength to their circles.

  • The leaders I admire are mindful and notice new things, identify new opportunities, and avoid potential dangers for themselves and their teams.

Every leader should ask this basic question from time to time: Have the lives of people who are following me gotten better?

We tend to only ask, “Are they leading better? Do they have more followers? Are they more powerful? Are they building the business?” Instead, we need to ask, “Are their lives better because they have experienced life and leadership with me?” A great leader who lives with this kind of intentionality and optimism is able to create that feeling in others and to give hope as they look at future opportunities.

I frequently ask myself, “As a leader, what is the legacy I want to leave?” I will leave one, whether I want to or not. What is really valuable to me, and where do I focus my attention? I ask myself who the most important people are in my life, and then run an evaluation on how the way I am living is impacting them. Is my leadership about making meaningful contributions to the community, society, my organization, and about making other people’s lives better?

If so, my life will be better too.

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