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Lessons in leadership


May 18, 2012
By Glenn Gutek

May 18, 2012 – Before any leader can aspire to lead a thriving
enterprise they must first master leading an organization of one. Some
people are more naturally disciplined than others, but for those who
struggle with being disciplined, you can create the structures that
promote greater professional will. Here are five disciplines of
self-leadership to help accelerate your effectiveness and prepare you to
do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.

May 18, 2012 – Before any leader can aspire to lead a thriving enterprise they must first master leading an organization of one. Some people are more naturally disciplined than others, but for those who struggle with being disciplined, you can create the structures that promote greater professional will. Here are five disciplines of self-leadership to help accelerate your effectiveness and prepare you to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.

Control time

The most basic expression of self-discipline is controlling your time in such a way that you are focused on your highest and best use. The effectiveness of leaders is limited by allowing others to set too much of the agenda. There is a wealth of material available to assist with time management, so there is no need to reinvent the wheel. However, there are some practices you can intentionally engage in that will promote a greater ability to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.

• Time blocking: Predetermine blocks of time allocated for your most important activities.
• Landing the plane: Do not allow meetings and conversations to extend beyond the appropriate time limit.
• Time cop: Give an assistant or colleague some authority to assist you in executing your calendar.
• Power sprints: Protect one-hour blocks of uninterrupted time to execute your most complex work.

Fuel energy

Leadership is an energy-intensive endeavour. One of the primary reasons for allowing unsolved problems to be swept under the carpet is the leader’s lack of energy. It is imperative to sustain the appropriate levels of energy to intercept entropy at its earliest stages.
The disciplines most commonly associated with fueling your energy often involve diet, exercise and sleep habits. Beyond these practices, build into your schedule opportunities to engage in things that put wind in your sails. What are the activities that energize you, and ignite your curiosity and passion?

Temper emotions
So much business literature will reference the all-important aspect of passion. There is no argument that passion is essential to effective leadership. Passion is the natural reservoir of energy that propels a leader forward in the face of adversity. However, at times it is critical to practice the discipline of being dispassionate.

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Being dispassionate allows a leader to protect the environment from becoming toxic, and engaging in the wrong battles. A leader should fuel their energy by investing in their passion, but keep things from running off the rails by not pouring gas on a volatile situation.

Focus words
The most commonly used tool in the arsenal of a leader is their words. Far too often we lack the right words at the right time. Why wouldn’t the wise leader make time to practice the discipline of focusing our words for the greatest amount of impact?

The discipline of crafting or outlining scripts for crucial situations will assist in making sure that the words that flow from your mouth achieve the purpose of the right words at exactly the right time.

Use power
The fifth important discipline that must be an ongoing practice for leaders is disciplining your power, particularly as it relates to knowing where your source of authority comes from. Are you building your power base from the positional role in the organization or your credibility with the people you lead?

The authority of a leader rests in the relationships they form with the people they lead. The risk most often encountered when influencing people where there is a personal relationship is not maintaining the authority to exercise your power.

All leadership begins with self-leadership. Master these areas of self-leadership and you will find you possess an uncanny ability to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.


Glenn Gutek is a speaker and CEO of Awake Consulting & Coaching, a firm that helps small businesses and organizations improve their leadership and business development through training, development and coaching. He is also the author of Wide-Awake Leadership, which teaches leaders how to overcome mediocrity though effective leadership. For more information on speaking and consulting, please visit www.AwakeConsulting.com or contact Glenn by e-mail, at glenn@awakeconsulting.com or by phone, at 407-901-4357.


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