Two SIMPLE ways to grow.

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Leadership is one of those things that can’t rally be handed to you in a few short steps.

It has to be grown. It has to be clutivated. You have to pay attention to what you are doing under a very broad set of guidelines in order to improve, and it isn’t something where the same method will work in all cases. It’s like trying to nail jello to a wall. You can’t really do it effectivly unless you have purchased a Jell-o brand Wall Nailer.

I’m kidding about the wall nailer, but I’m serious about the rest. Leadership, to those that aren’t involved regularly, is a very difficult thing to grasp. I am currently trying to grasp it myself. I have a basic understanding of what is asked of me, but being able to put actions in to practice has been proving difficult. The big spot where I have been failing is caused by me not knowing what actions I have to actually put in to practice.

As with so many other things in my life, the answer was handed to me by my father some years back.

Two books were handed to me as a child.

As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

&

How to Win Friends and Influence Other People by Dale Carnegie

(You can click the titles for their Wiki Links, also available for PDF download at the end of this post.)

These two books, for at least a little while after I read them (thanks to my ADD), change my life. They teach me how to deal with people. How to lead. How to be sincere. How to have the positive attitude required for success in a world that prefers to destroy people.

From self actualization as put out by James Allen, to the finer points of making anyone like you, winning ANY argument, and getting people to do what you want and making them think it’s their idea as coming from Dale Carnegie… These books are AMAZING!

I’ll be frank, they are a great toilet read. If you’re sitting in the bathroom, read a chapter. Sitting in the car, read a chapter. Sitting in church and the sermon is bland and you can’t pay attention, read As a man thinketh.  You don’t have to devote weeks on end to these great works of literary management. A minute here, two minutes there, and every time you read you WILL learn something.

I can’t stress it enough how good these two books are.

In fact, since I’m sure you would enjoy them, I’ve taken the liberty of linking to their online (and downloadable) PDF versions so that you can actually see and read what I’m talking about.

Not just exceprts, but the whole thing.

Read them. Print them if you want. Just take a look.

I promise you won’t be dissapointed.

Oh, and since I said I would provide them, here are the links to the full books.

AS A MAN THINKETH by James Allen [download]

HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE OTHER PEOPLE by Dale Carnegie [download]

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Professionalism and Growth

I recently had a counseling session with three of my supervisors who discussed professional development with me.
I was told that while I am an excellent technician, and am wonderful in the leadership role that I am currently filling, I still lacked the required leadership skills needed to advance to the next level of responsibility.

while I pondered on this decision, I came to conclude that they may be right. People will always rise to their own level of incompetence. You will advance to the point that you can’t advance any further without looking like a fool.
I have advanced as far as I can without making drastic changes to my styles of leadership and management.
So, because of this, I am currently working on improving my personal leadership and management attitudes.

Facebook is a plaything and occasionally a tool. I became aware that if I am going to lead people, then I need to be viewed as a leader. My personal life, my comments, stupidity, concerns, and private issues need to stay just that… Private. Because of this, my facebook does not have any ‘friends’ whom I work with. It’s nothing personal, just business.

Proper respect is key as well. If I want people to respect me as a leader, then I need to act as if I am to be respected. Looking out for my people, not acting childish around those that are supposed to respect me, and not acting worse than those that I am supposed to be governing.

Looking the part is also just as important I have realized. If I don’t have a clean shirt and buffed shoes on myself, then how can I expect that from others? Lead from the front.

Now, while I have these conclusions, and a handful of others, I am also aware that this is not the first time I have been in this spot. I was in the exact same situation nearly 4 years ago. while I was dealing with that, I came to develop a few personal sayings as well as work with some sayings that were passed to me by my father Kent Anderson. Because they have affected me in such a positive way, I’ll share them with you here.

1. Trust your people to do the job that they were trained to do. -Garen Anderson
I believe this statement because most of the people in my field have received the same training that I have received. They know just as much as I do. As a technician, the general thought is that if something isn’t going how YOU want it to go, then shove them out of the way and do it yourself. A leader delegates, not operates. Let them put their training to work.

2. Nothing in life is worth getting mad about.
Sure, you need to be concerned about things. Sure you need to make things get done. But is it worth getting mad about? Will it really make a difference in 20 years? Most likely your being mad does more harm than good. Just take a deep breath and you’ll be fine. Relax a little bit.

3. Nothing in life is worth stressing. If you can’t do something about it, then why are you stressing it? If you CAN do something about it, then do it… then stop stressing it.
Honestly, this one is fairly self explainatory. If you can’t do anything about it, stop worrying. If you can, then do it. And THEN stop worrying.

So there you go. Three small pieces of advice. Just remember what they say about advice. It’s worth exactly as much as you paid for it. Last I checked, this was free.