President's Day 2011 Leadership Lessons
Subscribe to the Three Star Leadership Blog
Contact Wally about coaching, consulting, or speaking to your group.
Today is President's Day. When I was a boy, there were separate holidays for Washington and Lincoln, keyed to their birth dates, but today they're both covered on a single day that gives a three day weekend to Federal employees.
You can learn a lot about leadership by studying the lives of the presidents. Just don't look for the usual things that books and articles suggest. Forget traits and zero in on behaviors. Ask yourself: "What did he do and how did it work out?"
Lesson: Learn from what they did and how it worked.
Counting Barack Obama, there have been forty-four US presidents. There's no federal holiday named for any of them.
Lesson: It's not about you.
We call some of our presidents "great," but you can't be great without a great challenge. Dig through their bios to find what great presidents did to prepare themselves to meet a challenge that probably couldn't predict.
Lesson: Great leaders prepare in private for the challenges they may face in public. Do your homework. Expand your horizons.
It's not about perfection, or ideological purity, or getting everything done. Most of the great issues have been problems that couldn't be solved, only worked on. Most successful presidents have had to balance the challenges of politics and policy.
Lesson: Judge our presidents, and yourself, based on how you play the hand you're dealt.
Boss's Bottom Line
Leadership is not about traits, magic, or perfection. It is about actions, hard work, and progress.
Wally's Working Supervisor's Support Kit is a collection of information and tools to help working supervisors do a better job. It's based on what Wally's learned in over twenty years of supervisory skills training. Click here to check it out.