Leadership My Dad’s Way

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My dad, General (retired) James L. Anderson spent 24 years as the Master of the Sword at West Point. He currently speaks on leadership at the Lincoln Leadership Institute in Gettysburg, PA. He has dedicated his life to developing leaders of character wherever he serves. Click here to learn more about him.
The two of us will be sharing a father-son perspective on the leadership lessons he taught me, the lessons we both learned at West Point, and the unique perspectives we each have based on his lifetime in leadership in the Army, and my 20 years in the business world.

Becoming An Uncommon Leader

Be Uncommon

Early in my leadership career in Corporate America, I followed the pack.  I did what others did.  I remember watching my sales manager lead a certain way, and I emulated what he had done.  Unfortunately by following what was commonly done, my teams consistently had very common results.

Like many people, being common was never one of my goals growing up.  I came to the realization that I needed to change.  If I wanted to be an uncommon leader, I needed to do things that the pack was not doing.  Continue Reading…

Culture Is The Leader’s Job

A Leader's Job

Politics.  Gossip.  Back stabbing.  Whining.  Distrust. Selfishness.  Bad Attitudes.  Work environments characterized by one or more of these traits are miserable places to work.

I often run into leaders that know they are leading teams that have these issues.  Unfortunately some of these leaders fail to realize that the cultures of their teams are the results of their leadership.  Or more accurately, their lack of leadership.

I am attending The National Conference on Culture and Leadership this week.  This blog is reposted from February 2013.

Continue Reading…

Trust Before Trust Is Earned

Trust First

Trust in a relationship, whether it is at work or at home, is the foundation to the success of that relationship.  Without trust between individuals or on a team, mediocrity and failure are the most likely results.

I have worked for people who told me I had to earn their trust.  I have worked in organizations that made the same thing clear, without someone verbalizing it.  In both situations, the team was dysfunctional and selfishness prevailed.

I believe the first thing a leader needs to establish on a team is trust.  The fastest way to establish trust is to be the first one to trust! Continue Reading…

What Is A Low Maintenance Team?

Tools

There are High Maintenance People and there are Low Maintenance People.  The High Maintenance People wear me out.  I like Low Maintenance People!

I believe you can have teams that are High Maintenance and teams that are Low Maintenance.  I have led both types of teams.  Again, I like Low Maintenance Teams!  

What does a Low Maintenance Team look like?  Why is a Low Maintenance Team the best team to lead? Continue Reading…

Leaders: Get Out Of The Way

Get Out Of The Way

Lead, Follow AND Get Out of The Way!  The famous bumper sticker actually reads Lead, Follow OR Get Out of The Way.  But, for leaders the proper statement needs the AND instead of the OR.

For most people placed into leadership the call to lead is obvious.  This is a no-brainer.  A teacher’s job is to teach.  A saleperson’s job is to sell.  Also no-brainers.

But, what about following or even more confusing…getting out of the way?  Continue Reading…

Four Keys To Overcoming Failure

What now?

What if I fail?  There are no “If’s”!  You will fail.  We all fail.  We all fall flat on our faces at some point.  Some of us have more scars from those falls than others.

I am convinced that whatever success I have achieved in this life can be traced back to the failures that preceded the successes.  Thomas Watson once said, “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”

If leaders, employees, spouses and children changed their attitude from fearing failure to embracing it, they would all increase their success rate. Continue Reading…

Staying Strong In A Crisis

Stroms are coming!

Business crisis, family crisis, personal crisis – no matter who I am or how blessed a life I’ve led to this point, I will face a crisis sooner or later.   How I respond in a crisis says a lot about who I am as a person and a leader.

Do I run from a challenge or towards one?  Do I act selfishly or selflessly?  Do I disappoint others or do I lead them?

In other words, do I come through the crisis weaker or stronger? Continue Reading…

Teamwork: Rookies Versus Veterans

Rookies Vs. Veterans

“That’s not going to work.”  Every time my most experienced people said this, I cringed.  I had a team with eight veterans and four rookies.  I soon realized that our team’s experience was killing innovation.

Each time a veteran spoke, it hurt us or helped us.  Experience kept us from moving forward into new territory.   At times, experience helped us make wise decisions and other times it kept us from growing. Continue Reading…

Leadership Depends On Character

Leadership Philosophy

I believe leadership is inherently a positive term.  Some well known experts whom I respect define leadership as influence, or influence towards a common objective.  However, I believe these definitions do not go far enough.

In my mind, being a leader is a positive statement.  There is a moral component to leadership.  Leadership is not simply about influence.  If I convince someone to perform immoral acts, I am influencing them, but I am not a leader. Therefore. I do not use the word leadership when discussing historical figures like Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin.   Continue Reading…

3 Words That Prove I Own My Actions

Who Owns It!

Ownership or excuses.  One is the mark of a leader.  The other is a sign that I am bound for mediocrity and failure.  In the long run, people who make excuses stall out.

Making excuses is a habit.  I wrote about how West Point deals with this habit in West Point:  How Leaders Seize Accountability.  But what are the results for me if I habitually make excuses?

Previously posted in December 2012.

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