Every region needs its heroes. These folks take role modeling to an extreme; they have names like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ted Turner, Steve Case, Anita Roddick, and Oprah Winfrey. Kids need heroes, in that they can say, ‘When I grow up, I am going to be the next Steve Jobs.” Guy Kawasaki, Reality Check

nolen from Pixabay

The concept of hero worship is an interesting one Some people would rather not mention that they had heroes at any point in their lives. Some are willing to name all the people they looked up to, or still do, and why. Some can’t explain why they looked up to someone; they just did.

Sometimes the hero is a family member; sometimes it’s a best friend. Rarely is it someone you work for, but it can be someone in your industry that inspires you to try harder, to be better, such as the case indicated above where Guy Kawasaki is talking about people who work in Silicon Valley and some of their heroes.

At this point in my life I don’t have any more heroes. That’s not how it was for me as a child. Most of my heroes were athletes, one or two entertainers, some civil rights leaders and that was pretty much it. I never considered my dad as a hero back then because I didn’t know much about him other than he was dad. He wasn’t famous in any way, but he was a part of the greatest generation that Tom Brokaw talked about some years ago.

The best part about life is that one doesn’t have to be a hero to have people look up to them. It pays to be ethical, honest and someone others can look to and say “there goes a reliable person who I know will always do right by others.” In business that’s one of the best qualities a manager can have. In life, sometimes we think that’s what we’re seeing, but sometimes we find out we’ve been hoodwinked. It’s too bad because, unfortunately, these are qualifies that I don’t know if many of us see all that often. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m wary.

I wish I could say that in all the years I worked for someone else that I met many people whose ethics were impeccable. I wish I could say that in the years I’ve worked on my own that I’ve met many people whose ethics were impeccable. Unfortunately I can’t. I’ve worked with a few people as a consultant who’ve never paid me for my services; it jades you a bit for a while.

I do have people I admire, rather than anyone I look up to. Surprisingly, some of them are younger than me; I never thought that would happen. There are a few people who’ve proven themselves to be ethical beyond belief. I love seeing that sort of thing because at times I’m an eternal optimist.

I tend to believe that humans in general will try to do the right thing, even if what they do turns out not to be so. For those whose actions end up being positive, they lend me to believe that we’re all going to be okay, that someone’s got our back when we need it most, and they’ll come through for us. Hopefully we’ll also always be up to the challenge when it’s needed.

Do you have someone you look up to? Are you someone others can look up to?

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If you’re like me, you do a lot of waiting. I wait for my computer to boot up. I wait for food to cook. I wait to get paid. I wait for the mail. I wait in long lines at the grocery store. None of this is all that new; it probably happens to you as well.

Samuel Francis Johnson
via Pixabay

We live in a pretty rushed society where we want instant gratification. Have you ever seen so many 15 second commercials in your life? The answer has to be no because back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s we didn’t have 15 second commercials; most of them lasted a minute and told a story. The speed of commercials today is such that often we have no idea what the product we’re being pitched is.

You want your cell phone to be on “now”, the same as your TV. We eat fast food because we don’t want to wait 10 minutes for food to cook. And today, behind another car waiting to get money from the ATM, I had to wait while the lady in front of me got her money, then took the time to, probably, put her money in her wallet and then her purse before driving away, even while knowing I was sitting behind her.

We have to wait for things; it’s just a natural occurrence. Yet, I believe all of us, especially leaders, still need to practice how to be patient. Why is that?

I continue hearing stories from people who say they get pushed at work to learn new concepts and procedures they have problems understanding. It may be a part of the job they have to do, but what many leaders fail to realize is two things. One, just because people do a job doesn’t always mean they understand it, and two, training is only as good as the trainer and the materials used to help someone learn.

Leaders don’t always want to hear that sort of thing but it’s true. Many years back I remember having meetings with staff where I’d be talking about something, and then I’d get that feeling that they had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. I’d ask someone to explain what I’d said and they’d stare at me.

I’d ask if anyone else wanted to take a shot and if I got no response, I’d realize that I needed to go back further and explain things a lot better until everyone got it. I realized that I needed patience, taking the time to go back through things. Even if I had to do it more than once, I’d do it until the majority had a better understanding of what we were trying to do and accomplish.

It’s the same kind of patience we need when working with customers. I’ve been on the phone with customers that take 10 minutes to explain a problem that should have only taken a minute. I’ve also been on the phone with customers that have taken longer than what I’d initially perceived to explain their issue, then realized that their issue was really something else and I’d have missed it if I hadn’t been patient enough to fully listen. You can only imagine the patience I sometimes have to have while I’m consulting; the stories I could tell! 🙂

Acts of patience will make you a better person and a better leader. Do you need to practice patience or are you already good at it?

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch  Mitchell

In all my years of being either an employee, leader or consultant, the one thing I believed to be consistent was that eventually I’d be able to work with almost anyone. No one gets there 100% of the time unless they’re the ultimate leader; even then they might get lip service and be ignored once the person leaves.

30-year friends!

In the early years I didn’t think it took all that much skill, but over time I realized the way I worked was more of an anomaly than I’d ever dreamed of. I think it all comes down to 3 relatively easy steps; at least they’re easy for me.
Read more…

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Some years ago I wrote a post asking if you as a leader or an entrepreneur feel that others treat you as a professional. It was an article that gave readers a chance to complain about how they’re treated, which doesn’t happen often, in discussing the behavior of others towards them, justified or not.

professional entrepreneur
professional me

Even though that’s a major issue for some of us, we have to ask ourselves if we act like professionals. Do we offer respect to our clients… whether they deserve it or not?

I believe everyone should have to earn respect. I also believe that more leaders and consultants need to earn the right to be seen as a professional. I’ve met a lot of people over the years who feel that because they have a title or a business certificate that they’re professionals and should be seen that way. Unfortunately, it goes further than that. To keep it short, let’s look at 5 points.
Read more…

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I believe all of us have it within ourselves to be extremely successful. Some people get there while others don’t. I can’t say that I’m successful yet, though I’ve had some very good times, enough to keep me a relatively happy guy.

successful people
Flash Alexander from Pixabay

What holds many of us back from being successful? Usually it’s one of three things.
Read more…

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