“It is a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead — and find no one there.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
I want to cut straight to the point. I don’t think anyone wants to be told what to do. If they do, they clearly have no real desire to be involved in the task.
It has been a long time since I had a boss. I have been an entrepreneur for most of my career. For the time I spent as an employee, I didn’t feel like a really had a boss. I always felt I was a leader, even when I was in a subordinate role.
I have worked tirelessly toward enlightenment about what leadership really is. I have spent well over a million dollars on training and development. I find it difficult to sum up all I have learned over the past 10 years. Who I am today is not exactly who I was 10 years ago, and 10 years from now I will not be exactly who I am today. Why? In order to do more you must become more.
“Who do I need to become?”
When you think about what they do, anyone can be a boss. When I let my imagination run, the vision I get is that the boss sits at the desk, feet up, a cigar in his mouth, shouting orders to his subordinates. The boss directs people to go here and do that and points a finger at everyone when things don’t work out as planned.
The leader is out there in the trenches. A leader is doing more than setting an example, he/she is also creating an environment where everyone else can shine. In many ways, the leader’s role is to build other leaders.
The biggest take away I can give you is to find out who you need to become so that when you look back over your shoulder, you have a team accompanying you.
One of my expectations of my team is that they control the energy they bring with them to the office every day. If they’re not, they’re bringing in all the chaos from getting the kids off to school or the argument they just had with their spouse. The fact that there’s something going on in their lives takes them out of the space where they need to be in order to serve our patients. They are just not ready to deliver a great experience. It affects everyone in the office through what current neuroscience research calls emotional contagion. Their non-verbal communication will send the message that they are in a bad place. Life is unpredictable and we don’t always have a perfect start to our day, but when we show up for work, we have to hang that up at the door, walk in and be ready to serve.
I ask myself, “Who do I need to become to be the leader they deserve?” Since I expect my team to control the energy they bring, I must control my energy. The leader is also a doer.
I have been fortunate in my career to have had the opportunity to speak with some pretty successful people and great leaders–people at the top of their games, professionally and personally, many millionaires and even a couple of billionaires. Here’s one thing they all have in common. They all have a morning routine. They start their day with an anchoring process that sets the stage for what is to come. For some it lasts only a few minutes, and others up to an hour-–but they all do it. I have learned to start my day with intention and strength. This gives me the push I need to start my day with my best foot forward.
Here’s what I do:
My morning routine lasts about 90 minutes and is completely technology-free, except during the exercise component where I usually listen to a podcast or music, making sure my phone is on airplane mode to prevent any distractions from dings and pings. No emails, no texts and no social media.
- Drink 26 oz of water straight away.
- Exercise intensely for a minimum of 20 minute (I prefer H.I.I.T. training–High Intensity Interval Training).</li
- Gratitude Journal</li
- Meditate for 10 minutes (longer if I am feeling into it)</li
- Learn: Business, psychology, leadership, neuro science or personal development, typically in the form of a podcast, audio book or scientific literature.</li
- Set the intention for the day and review my high-value tasks and deliverables.</li
When I set these intentions every day, I can be the example my team needs to see. This is about showing people instead of telling them how to behave. Teach them how to think. That’s what you’re doing. You’re living into it.
Leadership is more about showing than it is telling. As the leader in our respective practices we have to BE the example before our patients, team, vendors or anyone else with whom we choose to build a relationship will follow in our footsteps. That’s why I get a chuckle from the comic strip above. This is exactly what I imagine working for a huge, faceless corporation would be like. We are lucky to be in a position to positively influence so many people on a day-to-day basis.
Being the example is hard work–not just because we have to step out of our comfort zone for many reasons, but also because we have to do it every day all day. It is not easy, but it is worth it!