Leadership Starts at Home

Ask my son to do something. Ask my son if he wants to do something. Ask my son if he will do something for you. I can fairly accurately guess, his answer will be, ‘No.’ Not because he is rude obstinate or being rebellious. His answer is no because he is two and that is what two year olds do.

On the other hand, if I tell my son what I am going to do and then start doing it, he will trip over himself to come join me. He will perform his fastest run-waddle possible to get over to me. He will help me, do it for me, do a part of it, or somehow be in the midst of the action of whatever I am doing.

As a parent, I get the opportunity to learn how to parent a toddler who wants to do what I am doing, not what I want him to do. Which means I am learning how to lead him.

I get to learn how to lead him and show him the right things to do. The simple mundane tasks of cleaning up the living room at the end of the night. or not throwing his fork across the dinner table. Then there are the complex tasks of voicing my emotions and helping him voice his emotions. When he is ramped up and he is losing his mind because he is upstairs and he wants to be downstairs.

At this stage, leading my son is more about modeling the right thing to do. Leading him is an invitation to do the right thing more than it is about telling him or asking him to do the right thing.

As you work with your team, friends, and family, how are you modeling the right things to do? How are they modeling for you the right thing to do? What do you do to invite them into the right thing to do? How do you respond when they invite you into the right thing to do?

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Developing Hunger

I am an easygoing and laid back person. When appropriate, I have a sense of urgency. I generally try to be intentional and use good judgement for when I have urgency or high standards. More often than not, this is a feature of my personality not a bug.

This becomes a bug when I cannot drive others to get tasks done and the tasks have no timeframe. It becomes a bug when I bring up things that are important to me. It is a bug when I think something needs to be addressed and there is no looming deadline.

My selfdefense mechanism thus far has been apathy. When I bring up an issue that is important to me, when it is not received and used, I shrug and let it go. I can only do so much. When I bring up an issue I care so much about, I have to work hard to let myself not get hurt when others don't care about it.

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I have to develop a hunger in others for the meat of the issue. I have to develop a devouring hunger in them to satiate the need before they die of starvation. Developing a hunger in others takes time. But long term, I will be more satisfied because I will be adding value to others and the group as a whole.

Developing a hunger in others to resolve an issue will help me be more fulfilled in my role, position, and relationship.

How do you find value in your role? When have you found the most value from what you do? When have you provided the most value to others? How do you seek out opportunities to add value to other people?

BONUS: How do you discern between urgent moments and non-urgent moments? How do you work to develop a sense of urgency in others when they normally would not be urgent? Do others think you are always urgent or never urgent? How can you better develop a healthy sense of urgency in yourself?

Rejecting A Cold

And just like that, Brendan Iribe, Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger, and Jan Koum. They all left. Facebook lost them to their own ambitions.

Who knows who will really come out on top. Truly, all four of them could colossally fail, be an absolute success, or most likely be some mix there in-between.

No matter what, Facebook is leaking founders.

They are leaking starters

They are leaking innovators

They are leaking leaders.

It is well above my pay grade to guess the nuanced reasons as to why they are leaving. But the reality of it is, they are leaving. Much like your body will reject a cold, flu, or stomach bug. These people are leaving. Again, I do not know why, but the body of Facebook could continue as it was and keep these people a part of Facebook and so they left.

Similarly, when you are leading, when you are a part of a group, when you are doing the work that matters. Pay attention to the people around you. You will be attracting people like you and people unlike you will not stay around. When people do not resonate with you or engage with you, stop and assess what the difference was.

When someone does not stay around, stop and assess a few things in yourself, your group, and your organization/family:

What did I not resonate with them about? What is so different between us? What is so similar between us? What quality would they add to us? What can we add to them? How can we help them? How could they help us? What would I want them to add to the team? What should change about the team so someone like them can connect in the future?

These are a few ideas. You, your team, and your group is not for everyone but you should be intentional about who your group is trying to attract.

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Authority

My whole life I have treated authority as a tool to be wielded. Much like a wand with a magical power or a wrench I have considered it something to be owned and operated by the one who holds it.

Recently I was reading a bit talking about authority and it occurred to me, the authority is not to be owned or wielded by the recipient of authority. When you are placed in authority, you are placed under the authority you are given. When you are given authority, you are now first responsible to model what it looks like to be submissive to the authority and then an arbiter of the will of the authority.

At no point are you ever placed in a position of authority where you are no longer responsible to the authority you in, you are required to submit to the authority first and then advocate on behalf of the authority.

What authority are you under? How are you at submitting the authority you are under? How are you at advocating on behalf of the authority you are under?

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However, Although

In my high school English class, we had to write a paper on the famous novel Watership Down by Richard Adams. Being the famously intelligent student I was during my senior year of high school, I did not finish the book. I paid attention to the conversations in class, I started reading the book. But truly did not care or finish the book.

We then were required to write our summary of the book and relate it to something, I cannot remember what I was supposed to relate the book to or even what I wrote about besides writing an eleven page paper when the requirement was five to seven pages.

The teacher that year required we turn in a rough draft of the paper for her to review as her way of assisting us in the paper writing process. So I did. I was up till 11:30, midnight, or later the night before pounding out the rough draft.

The following week we all met with the teacher one-on-one to discuss our drafts. When she and I met, I don’t remember anything else about my discussion with her besides one thing.

She laughed at me.

My teacher laughed at me for starting a paragraph, “However, Although?”.

My goal in doing so was to get her opinion of which word would better start the paragraph. Ultimately, I just picked a word and said nothing else to her the rest of the conversation.

Who do you have influence over? How careful are you with your influence? How much do you measure your words and actions with those you have influence over?

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Authoritative Responsibility

Responsibility without authority is abuse. 

When I was responsible for the outcome or delivery of a final product; but, I did not have the authority to make major decisions or lead the project, I was being abused. I have realized, a small part of the reason in an unhealthy place, was because I did not perceive myself to have the authority to make decisions about the areas I was responsible for. Whether I did or I did not does not matter at this point. The reality of the situation is, I choose whether or not I have the authority to make decisions in areas I have responsibility. 

When you give someone responsibility, do you give them the authority to make the decisions? Are there places in your life you are responsible for but you are not taking the authority to make decisions?

Authoritatively and Responsibly,

–JT

Horsing Around

I remember, as a kid in the 1st or 2nd grade, going on a horse back ride. A horseback ride for me then was not necessarily super special; however, it was different and enjoyable. It is all pre routed and is about as dynamic as the rising and setting of the sun, I don’t know if you noticed, but the sun rises and sets every day. However, there was one very memorable part of this adventure for me. The memorable part was my horse. 

My horse wanted to be the leader. He would regularly march out front of the lead horse and start to lead the group. After a few minutes of leading, he would realize he was not a leader. He didn’t know where to go. He didn’t know how to lead. He didn’t like being in the front. He wasn’t sure what to do. He wasn’t sure where to go. After a few minutes at the front, he would fall back into second place and stay there. 

A short while later, he would want to lead again. He was tired of looking at the back end of the horse in front of him. He would want to be numero uno. Accordingly, would confidently start clopping back into first place and try to lead again. Same as before, once again, he would realize he was in the wrong spot. He was ill suited to lead and had no idea where to go. He desperately wanted to lead. However, he couldn’t. He didn’t know where to go or what to do on his own. 

The horse in the first position, never once nipped, bit, or kicked at my horse. He always let my horse pass him and then gladly passed him back when it was time. 

Which horse are you? How well do you fill your role?

Not Horsing Around,

–JT