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Charades and Leadership

“Who you are is speaking so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Preach the Gospel; if necessary use words.” St. Francis of Assisi

“Trust but verify” Ronald Reagan

“Listen to what your coworkers have to say and watch what they do.”   Alison Doyle

“The smallest good deed is better than the grandest good intention.” Duguet

John Maxwell defines leadership as influence. So how do leaders influence? In this election year, the chattering political class would have you believe that leadership is speeches. Rhetoric is praised while the eternal truth of living within your means is totally ignored.

Leadership influence to me is best judged by behavior. The quotes above all speak to that truism. This challenges me on one level as people person extrovert. I use words to gain my bearing in situations. On another level, behaviors keep me honest.

Here’s a question that gives me pause for self-examination.  If my life were a great game of charades, would anyone guess leadership? Time will tell and I hope a few people guess that.

What gives me hope is my role model, Jesus Christ. He spoke often on leadership and success and yet his closest followers mostly didn’t get his words. Yet his actions over a three-year period demonstrated servant leadership so well that his organizational legacy defies words.

So go ahead and write LEADER on a little piece of paper, fold it up, and put it in your wallet. Open it each day and play charades at work that day (or at home). Repeat daily for life. It’s the best way I know to make sure no one will ever describe your life as a charade.

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