We live in a tumultuous world. Disturbing news wakes us up nearly every day. We work hard at our jobs, but still face financial struggles and fear for our future. We want to have peaceful homes, but find it difficult to even sit down as a family without screen-driven distractions fighting authentic connection. Even youth sports have turned into a competitive, caustic, stressful experience. We often feel helpless to effect any meaningful change to improve anything. However, that is simply not true. You can change the world.
In every area of our lives, I believe the problem (and solution) comes down to one word: Leadership. When our nation is led by public servants with vision, we all feel better invested in our nation. When our companies are led by CEOs with integrity, it’s a delight to go to work. When we lead our families intentionally, our homes are more peaceful. When our kids’ sports programs are led by coaches with the proper perspective, the investment builds character in our kids and transforms our communities. However, when there is a leadership vacuum in any of these areas, it is obvious and tangible. Turn on CNN…. NOW. Do you see what I mean? Do you see the leadership void? It permeates every story.
At Leadercast, our mission is to build leaders worth following. I love sharing that mission with everyone I meet because I’ve yet to have it not prompt a reaction, follow-up question, or comment. I love that our mission prompts a conversation.
“What’s a leader worth following?”
I think we all have our guttural response to that question. It might be hard to describe, but we know a good leader when we see one. We feel it. We hear it in a rousing speech. We see it in a competent performance. We recognize it in a one-on-one meeting. At Leadercast, we’ve actually given that question a lot of measured attention. It’s not a great idea to try and build anything if you don’t have a plan and a materials list. If we are going to work to create leaders worth following, we better know what makes up a great leader.
"We believe that leaders should think and behave differently. A Leader Worth Following embodies a foundation of core values. In addition, they actively demonstrate key leadership behaviors. It is this combination that produces actions that lead to longstanding results and relationships."
Leader Worth Following = Values + Behaviors
A great leader not only conducts their lives under a framework of values, but demonstrates tangible behaviors to everyone they encounter. Here are a link to Leadercast's values and behaviors if you're looking for a good starting place.
Here’s my challenge to you: In any area of your life, your job, your family or your community, stop waiting for someone else to step up as a leader worth following. Instead, become that leader yourself. You can do it. We don't need Trump or Hillary to save us. We need you to step up and lead in your sphere of influence. You’re more qualified than you think. You can be a leader worth following.
Here’s some practical steps.
Identify an area of your life that could use your engagement. (Here's a simple assessment tool: What is ticking you off? Bam! That's it. Start there)
Step out of your comfort zone, and be bold enough to try and solve that problem.
Identify the Values and Behaviors you will consistently bring to your leadership.
Engage others in your cause.
Here's a personal example: I didn’t like the culture I was seeing from many of my boys’ football teams. It seemed to all be focused on winning, and it really wasn't that fun for the boys, especially those who were not the stars of the team. Instead of pulling my kids from the program or going shopping for a new one, I volunteered to become a coach myself and try to make the culture just a little bit better. Was I qualified? Well, I’d only played football for one year. But, I was motivated, I was intentional, and I cared more about my player character development than the scoreboard.
When it came to my leadership style, I purposed to always live out the values of authenticity and personal discipline for every practice and game while demonstrating the behaviors of intentional culture and simplicity to my players and parents. The result: We had an awesome team, winning season, small playbook, engaged parents, and an enduring culture that put more stock in a firm handshake than a touchdown.
I only coached for one year, but another dad inherited my whistle and led the team to a championship, building on the culture I helped transform. It was incredibly rewarding. I continue to serve on the board for the entire program and we’re seeing a real cultural shift. Our players and parents actually have fun!
Did I change the world? Well, I changed my world, and I feel the reward of helping to make my community just a little bit better. Isn't that how big things happen though? A whole bunch of little things at a time. We can’t look to others to solve our nation’s problems, our work’s challenges, our family’s trials, or our community’s needs. We can only look to ourselves, step up to the plate and make this world a better place. We're all counting on you.