THE GREAT CHALLENGE OF LIFE

If you wantto be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself. Leadership is the ability to attract someone to the gifts, skills, and opportunities you offer as an owner, as a manger, as a parent. Jim Rohn calls leadership the great challenge of life.

What is important in leadership is refining your skills. All great leaders keep working on themselves until they become effective. Rohn offers some specifics:

Learn to be strong but not impolite. It is an extra step you must take to become a powerful, capable leader with a wide range of reach. Some people mistake rudeness for strength. It is not even a good substitute.

Next, learn to be kind but not weak. We must not mistake weakness for kindness. Kindness is not weak. Kindness is a certain type of strength. We must be kind enough to tell somebody the truth. We must be kind enough and considerate enough to lay it on the line. We must be kind enough to tell it like it is and not deal in delusion.

Next, learn to be bold but not a bully. It takes boldness to win the day. To build your influence, you have got to walk in front of your group. You have got to be willing to take the first arrow, tackle the first problem, discover the first sign of trouble. We can all agree that farming is not an easy job.

Farmers must face the weeds and the rains and the bugs straight on.

Likewise, if you want any rewards at harvest time, you have got to be bold.

You have got to seize the moment.

Here is the next step offered by Rohn. You have got to learn to be humble, but not timid. Some people mistake timidity for humility. But humility is a virtue; timidity is a disease. It is an affliction. It can be cured, but it is a problem.

Rohn offers a good tip: learn to be proud but not arrogant. It takes pride to win the day. It takes pride to build your ambition. It takes pride in community. It takes pride in cause, in accomplishment. But the key to becoming a good leader is being proud without being arrogant.

The worst kind of arrogance is arrogance from ignorance. It is intolerable. And it can be expensive. Ignorant arrogance is the worst kind. If someone is smart and arrogant, we can tolerate that. But if someone is ignorant and arrogant, that is just too much to take.

Next, deal in realities. Deal in truth. Save yourself the agony. Just accept life like it is. Life is unique. Some people call it tragic, but it is only unique. The whole drama of life is unique. It’s fascinating.

Life is unique. Leadership is unique. The skills that work well for one leader may not work at all for another. But the fundamental skills of leadership can be adapted to work well for just about everyone: at work, in the community, and at home.

BUILDING A SUCCESSFUL TEAM

Once you have seta goal for yourself as a leader—whether it is to create your own enterprise, energize your organization, build a church, or excel in sports—the challenge is to find good people to help you accomplish that goal. Gathering a successful team of people is not only helpful, it is necessary.

So to guide you in this daunting task of picking the right people, Jim Rohn shares with us a four-part checklist. Number one: check each candidate’s history. Seek out available information regarding the individual’s qualifications to do the job. That is the most obvious step.

Number two: check the person’s interest level. If he is interested, he is probably a good prospect. Sometimes people can fake their interest, but if you have been a leader for a while, you will be a capable judge of whether somebody is merely pretending. Arrange face-to-face conversation, and try to gauge his or her sincerity to the best of your ability.

Number three: check the prospect’s responses. A response tells you a lot about someone’s integrity, character, and skills. Listen for responses like these: “You want me to get there THATearly?” “You want me to stay THATlate?” “The break is only TEN MINUTES?” “I will have to work two evenings a week ANDSaturdays?” You cannot ignore these clues.

A person’s responses are a good indication of his or her character and of how hard he or she will work. Our attitudes reflect our inner selves, so even if we can fool others for a while, eventually, our true selves will emerge.

And number four: check results. The name of the game is results. How else can we effectively judge an individual’s performance? The final judge must be results.

There are two types of results to look for. The first is activity results.

Specific results are a reflection of an individual’s productivity. The second area you need to monitor is productivity. The ultimate test of a quality team is measurable progress in a reasonable amount of time.

When you are following this four-part checklist, your instincts obviously play a major role. And your instincts will improve every time you go through the process. Remember, building a good team will be one of your most challenging tasks as a leader. It will reap you multiple rewards for a long time to come.

FOLLOWING THE 80/20 RULE

Learn to spend eighty percent of your time as a leader with the twenty percent who deserve it. This is the 80/20 Principle which asserts that minority of causes, inputs, or effort usually lead to a majority of the results, outputs, or rewards. Taken literally, this means that, for example, 80 percent of what you achieve in your job comes from 20 percent of the time spent. Thus for all practical purposes, four-fifths of the effort – a dominant part of it – is largely irrelevant. This is contrary to what people normally expect.

There are plenty of examples to show how this 80/20 Rule applies across the board. In business many examples have been validated. Twenty percent of products usually account for 80 percent of sales; so do 20 percent of customers. Ask the minister of the church, “Who donates the most money here?” He will answer, “Probably twenty percent of the people donate eighty percent of the money.”

So what do you do with the other eighty percent of the people? You learn to deal with the situation and not try to solve it. Rohn believes it is like trying to figure out the laws of nature. You do not figure out the source of those laws, you learn to work with them. They are all set, just like this 80/20 Rule is all set. “The key is to learn to work with things the way they are.”

Part of the task of leadership is learning to spend eighty percent of your time with the twenty percent who are doing eighty percent of the work. We would call that good leadership sense. If you wondering how you can possibly do that, here is one answer: spend individual time with the twenty percent and group time with the eighty percent. This is an important aspect of skillful leadership.

However, guess who wants your individual time! The wrong group—the eighty percent. But that is what life’s all about. So now you have got to be strategic; and you have got to be diplomatic. Diplomacyand strategyare two key words for the effective leader to understand.

Even if you have built a terrific team, this 80/20 Rule will apply. It is inevitable. But if you learn to work with it, your bottom eighty percent can raise their competence level dramatically. And that will push your top twenty percent even higher. They will be simply exceptional. You will have a true high-performance team.

BY CAPTAIN SAM ADDAIH RTD

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