I have been on a mission this past month to ferret out the truth of what works. Why? Because I think with all of the noise we hear (like the distractions we have, the directives, the email, the movies, the TV, the books, the career, the family, the friends, the hobbies, the trips and so on) that the truth can be missed, that the truth can be disguised, and that the truth can hide in plain sight even when we search for it.

And when we hear the truth that doesn’t make sense to us, we tend to ignore it, laugh at it, fight it, and then, ultimately, … accept it. Truth always finds a way. Always.

In fact, one of my favorite heroes was quoted as saying:

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win – Gandhi

To find the truth,  you first have to identify the type of truth you want to find — your personal truth, objective truth, the truth of what works, or the truth of the herds?

For me, there is only one truth that I am in search of:

I search for the truth of what works and the truth of what raises people up to become the best version of themselves

How about you? What sort of truth hunt are you on?

The Benefits of a Truth Hunt

When we know the truth of what gets the results we want and take action on that truth, we get what we want faster. When we get what we want faster, we make progress, and when we make progress, we get happy!

So I had a question. What did heart-led leaders do differently to succeed?

In a series of essays compiled in the book, The Power of Servant Leadership, Robert Greenleaf, a former AT&T executive, frames the challenges of leadership as a backdrop to discuss principles of what works, what needs to work, and why seminaries, in particular, are posed to fill the vacuum of moral and ethical leadership that still exists today.

As I read, I was surprised to find that many leadership challenges were universal and as relevant today as they were thirty years ago. Below are the traits of leadership that Greenleaf identified as having the most success. Do you have them?

10 Traits of Leadership

  1. Listening – Listening to people, and also, getting in touch with one’s inner voice.
  2. Empathy – People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirits.
  3. Healing – Many people have broken spirits and have suffered from a variety of emotional hurts that leaders need to recognize and then show a path to healing.
  4. Awareness – The ability to quiet the noise to become aware of what needs to be done.
  5. Persuasion – To convince others to act in accordance with one’s point of view for the greater good.
  6. Conceptualization – What it means to be a servant and to nurture the ability to “dream great dreams.”
  7. Foresight – the ability to foresee the likely outcome of a situation that is hard to define.
  8. Stewardship – Responsibility to the vision and to their people.
  9. Commitment to growth of the people and to the services that support them.

What struck me the most in studying these essays were the gems that were hidden in plain sight:  Gems of leadership, of wisdom, of understanding, of best practices, of grace, and of truth. This reflective book by a reflective man had insights into what works best for us all.

If you are interested in becoming a leader in your own life, personal reflection on the ideas discussed in these essays will help guide your next steps.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Great institutions are a fusion of great ideas and great people . Neither will succeed without the other.
  • The test of greatness in a dream is that it has the energy to raise people up to a place where they can face the  future with grace.
  • Responsible people want to build period. They do not destroy and they are moved by the heart.
  • Widespread alienation in our society and the inability or unwillingness to serve on the part of too many institutions are the greatest challenges of our times.
  • We tend to confuse leadership with administration, management, talent, or money.
  • Leadership is the ability to operate at two levels of consciousness: A: In the real world of the present — heart-led, focused, effective, and value-oriented . B: Detached — seeing events through the lens of history, and then, project that understanding into the future.
  • The keys to leadership are foresight, intuition, experience, preparation for the unexpected, and the willingness to serve their mission before and above personal gain.
  • When it comes to the truth of what works, multiple points of view correct mistakes, expose weaknesses and cancel out biases.

This collection of essays did more than make me think. It made me revisit the way I lead in my own life and helped me to develop more of an understanding of what I fight for and why. If you are interested in some weekend reading that prompts you to think, check out The Power of Servant Leadership.

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Thank you so much for reading and until next time, make the most of the time you have!

With love and respect,

Coach