This article is the first of a new series that I am writing for Insights. I’m excited to be part of and vested in the eastern North Carolina community. My leadership perspectives began as a teenager in the shrimp boat fleet of Brunswick County. I went on to a 24-year naval career after graduating from Annapolis, I taught high school for four years, moved on to the maritime terminals industry and now provide team development and leadership coaching to corporations in the Carolinas. Some of my most recent efforts include work with members of the Leadership Wilmington program and providing leadership excellence courses to corporations aboard the Battleship North Carolina. I look forward to sharing these hard-earned perspectives.
Like many of you, I am convinced today more than ever that the future economic success and quality of life in our region, as well as of our society in general, depends on the leadership each of us brings to our communities and businesses. Our legacy will depend on how successful we are in developing leadership concepts at all levels of our organization as we seek to attain solutions to problems and strive for results.
Unfortunately, we have become distracted. Rather than focus on solutions to our problems, we allow social media and un-civil public discourse to focus our attention on our differences and foibles. It’s as if the ship is sinking and we are heading to the life boats, and rather than taking care of urgent matters — like gathering drinking water, getting a compass, finding some rations — we are arguing about who is going to sit on the starboard side and who will sit on the port side of the life boat. Such an argument just doesn’t matter and it wastes time. If you recognize a peril, you need to focus on a solution, strive for results and don’t allow tribalism and personal agendas to drive the discussion. As with the lifeboat analogy, we must start with a practical, commonsense approach to leadership to get all involved and guide us forward.
And who do you think is going to provide the leadership that will enable us to get results? Political figures? I believe too many of them are spending their time arguing before getting into the lifeboat. Mega-corporation leaders? Let’s face it, their guarded lifestyles and search for privacy have isolated them from most of us. Military, education, religious leaders? I haven’t seen many public figures since Colin Powell who have so unselfishly offered their service to our country. So, who will it be? Who will fill that role in every workplace by bringing their lunch pail, rolling up their sleeves, assessing the situation and working tirelessly to achieve results while motivating their teams?
You guessed it. It’s you, business leaders and senior and middle management across our landscape. As The Wall Street Journal pointed out recently, if we are to maintain our economic momentum, the importance of capable middle management cannot be over-emphasized. And if you are a business owner or in senior management, your most important role will be to prepare the middle management. You will need to develop a mindset of mentoring, coaching and preparing those entrusted to your leadership. There are many facets to the leadership proposition, but with commitment, a plan and discipline, we can achieve the improbable.
Let’s work at this challenge together and share some insights in the days ahead so that a rising tide will float all boats. I welcome your feedback.
Ron works with emerging leaders, execs, entrepreneurs and managers who want to sharpen their leadership skills and inspire their teams to achieve a level of performance beyond their imagination. He does this by providing high-impact, energizing programs that give the participants an opportunity to learn and practice the guiding principles of leadership that are crucial to establishing a success-oriented environment. You already know a lot about leadership, Ron helps you to amp it up and put it all together so that you use your abilities in a disciplined fashion every day to achieve results! His course participants are unanimous in their feedback, "I wish I had attended earlier in my career." He has also brought his Leadership Excellence Course to the Battleship North Carolina, where participants learn in a most inspiring environment how to motivate people, the power of integrity, the reasons for good feedback and many other defining leadership principles that help leaders and teams get to the next level and achieve results. You can check out some other course opportunities at AcademyLeadership.com. Look in the Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte and Wilmington areas.
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