The following post originally appeared in my column at The Good Men Project, and given number 45's recent disturbing comments regarding Haiti, El Salvador, and the African continent I decided to repost it on my personal blog as a reminder of the behaviors that positive leaders embody.
My father’s name, Emery, means industrial leader. For over forty years, he has committed himself to the ministry within the Church of Christ Holiness' community of churches. Before his term in office ended, he responsibly served as the Senior Bishop who is the recognized highest ranking pastor of the denomination. Alongside my mother, my father did his best to raise my five sisters and me to be the best version of ourselves. My dad was not the perfect father, as my sisters and I often recall when we get together; however, we can agree that he exemplified the teachings, morals, and spiritual values daily that he preached about on Sunday mornings.
Big Emery, my dad, encouraged us to succeed in education, employment, and entrepreneurialism. Four out of my five sisters have advanced graduate degrees and are working professionals in respectable fields. One of my sisters is a successful entrepreneur and has recently returned to school to acquire a specialty certification in cosmetology. By every possible measure, my dad represents a positive example of a leader, and that's why I gave my oldest son his name.
It's incredible what a five-year-old can teach you about leadership. As I was writing this article, I asked my son, little Emery, how he defines a leader. He replied, "a leader is someone who other people follow in line. They are someone who does something good, and others follow." It is clear to me that, he developed this definition from his experiences waiting and walking in lines at school. However, if we can look closer to what he is saying, a leader is someone who possesses self-confidence and is willing to engage positive behaviors for the sake of the group. Little Emery is only five, but similar to my father he has a handle on some core ideas that govern effective leaders.
This ability to possess confidence in oneself guides the three principles of high-quality leaders.
Positive self-awareness is at the center of many leaders who we admire. My father decided at age eighteen to commit his life to the church because he believed he was called to do that work. This ability to possess confidence in oneself guides the three principles of high-quality leaders. As a father, it is my responsibility along with my wife to ensure that our children are the epitome of positive self-awareness and possess the courage to earn recognition as leaders.
With positive self-awareness at the core, successful leaders employ these three strategies.
1. Leaders take time to reflect.
In an article written by John C. Maxwell, he discusses the importance of leaders who learn from their mistakes. To identify his errors in leadership, Maxwell practices a routine of self-reflection after dinner each evening. This self-reflection time includes an examination of the day with the intention to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to implement improvements the following morning. Maxwell claims that committing to this positive habit was not easy, but it has proved extremely beneficial in his journey to improve as a leader.
2. Leaders identify the gaps.
The world of podcasting is overly dominant by men. According to Laura Walker as cited by Lydia Dishman, only 20% of the podcasts available on iTunes are hosted by women. Laura Walker and her team recognized this disparity and decided to work toward making podcasting more diverse. As leaders, they identified the gap and turned it into a business opportunity through a podcast and the organization of conferences focused on encouraging more girls and women to join the industry.
3. Leaders believe in others and delegate tasks.
If you want to be a successful leader, you must possess the self-confidence necessary to allow others to assist with projects. Employers who micromanage employees, because they believe that they need to control the outcome are hindering their businesses from significant growth, improvement, and innovation. As Matthew Turner writes in his article, "How to Lead a Virtual Team: 6 Essentials Tips You Need to Know," leaders must be willing to share the responsibilities with their virtual assistants to achieve their individual or organizational objectives.
To understand the necessity of taking time to reflect, identifying the gaps, believing in others and delegating tasks, you must internalize a positive message about yourself, your company, and the people you intend to serve. The conviction my father embodied from an early age came from the belief in his self and a calling to Christian ministry. In his calling, he had to understand or acquire the importance in reflecting, identifying, and delegating to serve as an effective leader. I was honored to give my first son my dad’s name.
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