How to start right and end well

Over coffee yesterday, a local business leader complained to me, “I can’t get him to decide.” Decision-making is one of your greatest leadership challenges.

I believe you’ll flounder until you make the two decision that enable you to start right and end well. These decisions come before the others.

Starting right.

Kouzes and Posner said, “Everything you will ever do as a leader is based on one audacious assumption. It’s the assumption that you matter,” (The Truth about Leadership). You start right by deciding you can and will make a positive difference.

Why it’s hard to decide to matter?

To matter you must stand out. Yet all your life you’ve been trained to fit in, to color within the lines.

Can you think of anyone that changed the world by fitting in? “The world belongs not to those who fit in but to those who stand out,” Anonymous. Sadly, much of the energy I see expended around me is expended on being average.

Beware! You feel pressured to fit in so that you won’t stand out, so that you will disappear.

Ending well.

The conundrum of leadership is you matter most when you make others matter.

You end well by deciding to serve rather than be served. The spotlight’s on you so you can shine it on others.

Balancing the tension.

Put yourself first by understanding and enabling yourself. Read books, take classes and seminars, rest, and stretch yourself. Nurture and protect that which makes you stand out. At the same time, embrace the leadership conundrum. Put yourself first so you can put others first.

One reason daily decision-making is hard is you haven’t made the two decisions that enable you to start right and end well.

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How can leaders make others matter without becoming door mats?

What are your thoughts about the tension between serving yourself and serving others?

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