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Leadership: A Choice You Must Make Every Day

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 9:00 AM

Expert Advice, The BSM Way

Written by: Dixon Davis

Dixon Davis
Senior consultant

At a recent industry meeting in New Orleans, my colleague, Derek Preece, and I presented a course on how leadership is a choice. We based the course on three well-written books that focus on how we each have the power to influence the choices we make in life.

The three books were:

- “QBQ! The Question Behind the Question” by John Miller
- “Save Your Drama for Your Mama” by Charlie Sheppard
- “The Better People Leader” by Charles Coonradt

Before we started covering concepts from the books, Derek and I asked the audience to help us define culture, and how it affects us in our workplace. We heard comments on how our upbringing or those in authority influence us, how culture influences our perceptions, and how influences and perceptions affect our actions. Suffice it to say, we agreed that our surroundings and “culture” often times influence how we perceive things, which in turn, can affect the choices we make each day when presented with challenges.

Each of the three books mentioned above encourage us, as individuals and leaders, to think differently (despite our surroundings and influences) to make us more effective leaders. Here are several ways to do just that:

Be accountable. “QBQ! The Question Behind the Question” preaches the importance of becoming more accountable in our lives by avoiding asking questions that are outwardly focused and promote entitlement thinking, procrastination, and blame. Instead, QBQ teaches personal accountability by asking questions that begin with “what” or “how,” contain the word “I,” and focus on action.

Instead of asking “Why won’t they provide me better training on refractions?” author John Miller encourages us to change the question to “What can I do to get better and faster at refractions?” Each of us can be more effective in providing good service to our patients when we are accountable for our success.

Avoid drama. Charlie Sheppard, author of “Save Your Drama for Your Mama,” describes how drama is a mindset rooted in a history of dependence and “external locus of control,” and how this perspective can often lead to anxiety and fear. Each of us has the tendency to drift into drama, leading to perceptions that others are incapable, that we are at the mercy of others, or that fear is needed to motivate people.

Rather than living in drama, Sheppard encourages us to make the choice to move into leadership, where we believe in the ability of others, see the possibilities and potential in every situation, and learn how to unlock the full potential of others. We enter leadership as we identify our most important values, adopt and follow principles that we firmly believe, and are intentional in our decisions.

Trust others. “The Better People Leader” takes the perspective of a sports coach and applies it to the business world. Author Charles Coonradt promotes the perspective of expandability, not expendability, of people and to trust that people will rise to the challenge of their responsibilities. There is truth in the following statement: "The way people feel about their company is primarily a reflection of how they feel about their boss," and that we — as leaders — can choose to make a difference.

The book teaches that success begins and ends with leadership attributes such as having a plan, communicating it effectively to your team, supplanting personal wins for that of the team, knowing your team members, and being patient and persistent while exuding confidence.

Take the Lead

Each of these books provides great insight and tools for how to be a more effective leader and successful individual. These books are readily available and might provide a new perspective that will empower you to be more consciousness in your decision making and successful as a leader.

Together, with those who attended our leadership course, we shared experiences and made goals of how we can ask better questions that lead to personal action, choose to leave drama behind, be intentional in our choices, focus on our vision, and lift those around us. Above all, we all learned that leadership is a choice we must make every day.

YOUR TURN: What can you do to be a better leader today? Please leave your response in the comment section below. Thank you.

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