As a coach, trainer, and speaker for the John Maxwell Group, I have been researching leadership issues and strategies on a daily basis. Throughout my preparation in teaching a Mastermind group in the “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership,” I began thinking about how much we have on our plates and how we must learn to balance it all. I came across the six balancing acts written by John Maxwell.
I put this together in hopes that you may read it, apply it, and live it. I have, and it works! I recently read this and fully believe that it is true, “Great leaders combine an assortment of skills into a single repertoire from which they inspire and guide their team.” Good leaders are able to somehow merge and mix contradictory traits, which they effectively include in their daily activities and interactions.
Here are the six things that I have tried to instill and follow in my own life and leadership style. These are taken directly from the John Maxwell article found in Leadership Wired.
- Leaders are both confident and modest – You need self-assurance to lead, but you also must be able to set aside your ego. Being a leader is not about making yourself more powerful. It’s about making the people around you more powerful. People follow leaders who have a healthy sense of self-worth, and are yet humbled by their responsibility. Egotistical leaders use others to advance their self-centered pursuit of perks, titles, and other status symbols. Eventually, they disillusion their people and stunt the growth of the company. Confident-yet-humble leaders derive satisfaction from serving others. These leaders unlock the potential of people and equip them to further the company’s mission and vision.
- Leaders communicate passionately and listen patiently – Listening to others improves ideas, sends alerts to unforeseen issues, and allows for closer relationships with employees. Listed below are some important quotes on listening. “Big people monopolize the listening, small people monopolize the talking.” “Listening is the way to gain wisdom, because everything you say, you already know.” Effective Leaders allow others to tell them what they need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear.” One of the best ways to persuade others, is with your ears, by listening to them.”
- Leaders give encouragement and they are never satisfied – Effective leaders encourage people, affirm their work, and constantly push them to even greater performances. A group’s primary motivation comes from a passionate leader who positively expresses dissatisfaction with the company’s status, along with a sincere belief that the group can take things higher. Leaders should stretch people, but they can only do so to the extent they can demonstrate care and goodwill towards those they lead.
- Leaders protect their people from danger, but expose them to reality – Most people want a leader who insulates them from difficulty, rather than encouraging action to overcome it. People need adversity to grow; otherwise they level out. A leader’s responsibility is NOT to protect people from EVERY difficulty, but to PARTNER with them in facing life’s trials.
- Leaders blaze the trail and show the way – Leaders are not afraid to buck convention and strike out in a new direction. However, they get no pleasure from living as mavericks. Leaders want to link up with others, push into new frontiers, and better guide others down the road.
- Leaders initiate changes while standing for values that don’t change – One job of a leader is to help people identify what habits and assumptions must change in order for the company to prosper. At the same time, leaders must ask; which values and operations are so crucial to our core, that if we lose them we lose ourselves?
In short, leaders must bring about change without surrendering the organization’s identity. Balancing everything in our personal and professional life is an intricate task. However, in order to maximize enjoyment in your personal life and still maintain professional upward mobility, you must master the balancing act.