There is nothing more challenging than following a leader who feels stale.
Have you experienced this? Maybe you follow a leader who feels like his/her best days are behind them and there is nothing exciting about the future. Or maybe you have felt this in yourself at times.
Keeping a fresh perspective is absolutely necessary for any leader.
Often times it’s NOT a new perspective that I need, but a fresh perspective that has already settled down in me. That is why I wanted to bring this to you today.
If you’re feeling stale, or feeling like your best days are behind you, I’m hoping to remind you of that time when you received a new perspective. I want to put the alarm clock on that dormant point of view that you received many years ago – because nobody wants to follow a leader with a stale perspective!
Here are 8 tools that I have put into practice in my own life that I believe will help you keep a fresh perspective.
1. Ask yourself questions.
I regularly ask myself 5 questions:
- What is my mission?
- Who is my client?
- What does my client value?
- What is my plan?
- What are my results?
Good questions inform. Great questions transform.
2. Examine and clarify your offer.
I have found this tool very challenging, but also very effective. I ask myself a couple of questions: What is it that you are offering to the world that the world would miss if you left your post? What are the areas in your life where your contribution matters?
Know your strengths and the value you bring to the world! How you do what you do can change, but what you do shouldn’t change.
3. Offer who you are.
The greatest gift one human being can give another is to offer themselves. This comes from focusing on who you are more than what you do. It’s all about emphasizing the internal realities over the external realities.
Here’s an example to illustrate. Giving myself to Stephanie (my wife) is very different than working harder to be a better husband. I always succeed more when I attempt to be who I am rather than trying to be the best husband in the world. In the end, who we are spills over into what we do. But what we do cannot define who we are.
4. Re-certify yourself each year.
Change is always necessary. I believe you are either evolving or becoming stagnant. Never assume that because something is working today it will continue to work tomorrow.
Most leaders only recognize the need to change after decline has set in. Be careful with this! It is too late to take action after you realize something is broken.
5. Commit to a personal development plan.
Once a year, usually in January, I carve out a few days to get away and map out my personal growth trajectory. I set big, audacious goals for my own growth and I form an intentional plan of how to accomplish them. This has become one of my top priorities each year and it’s been the catalyst for incredible growth throughout my adult life.
Setting a new growth trajectory for yourself each year is imperative for keeping a fresh perspective in leadership. I am where I am today because of the commitment that I have made for years and years to a personal development plan.
6. Focus on personal discipline.
John Maxwell often tells a story of the legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. Coach Wooden would begin each season by watching his players at practice shoot from all over the court. Then he would identify the spot where each player was most effective so that he could develop plays that set his players up in their sweet spots.
Coach Wooden understood that knowing your strengths and staying true to your sweet spot will consistently bring the best results. This takes personal discipline.
Focus on the disciplines that make you successful. The disciplines that have brought you to where you are will be the disciplines that bring you through when the pressure is on.
7. Remember that learners beat the learned.
John says it like this, “best is the enemy of better.” When somebody has arrived, it is a distraction. Because when you are at the tip-top, many times you sit back and rest in that “best” and don’t allow the drive to “better” keep you focused.
You have to be content to be a work in progress. Always remember: life is not a destination; it’s a journey.
8. Ask yourself 3 questions at the end of every day.
- What did I learn today?
- How did I grow today?
- What will I do differently?
Unless you can tell me what you plan to do differently tomorrow, you didn’t learn anything today. And if you didn’t learn anything today then you didn’t grow for tomorrow.
I have the privilege of walking with John Maxwell daily on this leadership journey. I see the value it brings to the team when he leads with a fresh perspective. That’s the type of leader I want to be. And it’s the type of leader I want you to be.
Give it a shot. Apply these 8 tools to your life and I believe you will be able to keep a fresh perspective.
John Maxwell Leadership Podcast