Leadership Freak Reading List for March
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Harry S. Truman
I’m currently two thirds the way through The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam. It’s the story of Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots.
The book is a bit dated, published in 2006, but it’s really the story of a father’s influence.
Steve Belichick, football scout for Navy, had a huge influence on his son Bill.
Bill is often quoted as saying, “Do your job.”
Hard work was part of Bill’s life because his father worked hard, harder and longer than other football scouts. Bill’s dad reminds me of mine.
I was fortunate to be brought up on a dairy farm. Hard work is synonymous with life for dairy farmers.
My dad was the hardest working man I ever knew. He never preached about hard work. He simply did it and expected his children to live that way, too. Frankly, we didn’t think there was any other way.
I don’t understand people who work so they don’t have to work.
We are made to work. Work gives meaning to life.
Success apart from hard work is shallow, degrading, and unfulfilling.
The work of leadership begins with modeling the way.*
#1. Do the work.
Get off your butt. You can’t lead from a chair. If you aren’t sure what to do, do something and learn as you go.
Show the way. Don’t simply point the way.
- Ask more of yourself than you ask of others.
- Get dirty. Perform menial tasks.
- Identify with support staff.
- Never look down on people who do work that’s different from yours. Organizational silos disrespect the work of others.
#2. Support others while they work.
- Challenge and cheer.
- Notice progress.
- Honor the qualities that produce results – things like industry, discipline, and attention to detail.
#3. Remove obstacles to successful work.
Make the work of others less frustrating and more productive. One corporate leader told me, “My main job is figuring out how to remove obstacles that slow my team.”
If you have position, you have authority to eliminate barriers and create connections.
Reading list for March:
- Servant Leadership in Action by multiple co-authors.
- Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges 2nd Edition by C. Otto Scharmer. (Underway)
- Intelligent Disobedience: Doing Right When What You’re Told to Do Is Wrong by Ira Chaleff.
- The Book of Mistakes: 9 Secrets to Creating a Successful Future by Skip Prichard.
What are you reading in March?
*The phrase “Model the Way” comes from The Leadership Challenge.
**I relax my 300 word limit on weekends.
Your Blog of course, daily!
It’s nice to have the same roots, my how are tree has grown.
I have ” Let’s stop meeting like this” by Dick and Emily Axelrod next on my tasks this month, thank you so much!
I had conversation with young man the other day, and we shared the same values on hard work and sweat equity that’s missing in many people now days, we see the building trades falling away slowly, and how we can build them back up? Falls back on Hardwork ethics!
Hey Tim, Thanks for being a daily reader!! I look forward to your comments.
I have a cure for lack of work, it’s hunger. 🙂
Humbling when one is hungery you will do what you have to do to survive. I have always said that ” my hands will always fit a shovel”! Hardwork will always exist, having no fear of hard work will reward you sooner or later.
The 300 word weekend clause made me laugh. Thanks Dan for you dedication. You are appreciated!
Laughter is good. 🙂 Thanks Kevin.
Reality Based Leadership and No Ego by Cy Wakeman. Awesome! And her in person presentations are even better-a lot of good, common sense!
I once read a story about Mahatma Gandhi. One day a lady approached him and asked him to speak to her son to stop him eating sweets. Ghandi kept quiet and did not utter a word.
Months went by, then and one day Gandhi saw the same lady, he went up to her and asked how her son was.
She then asked him why he did not tell her son to stop eating sweets. He then replied saying, he too had a sweet tooth and had to overcome eating sweets first, before he could tell her son to stop eating sweets.
He demonstrated leadership by example. He looked inwards first.
Great story, Gerry. Thanks.
I suppose we could engage in shared aspiration. How might WE stop eating sweets?
There is an herb called gymnema that helps with sugar cravings. I take it each morning and allow the tablet to melt a bit on the back of my tongue-it tastes a little bitter. I have found it helpful. I found out about it from a functional md who has a special focus in diabetes.
300 Word Limit? In the words of Steve Jobs, ‘less is more’, but select them wisely, and make them count! Haiku anyone?
“notice progress”. It’s important to differentiate between noticing progress and over-praising. Over praising can often stifle progress because people can develop a false sense of contentment. Noticing progress acknowledges work well done but still encourages moving forward.
The only thing I would add to this great exposition is what I believe is attributed to Max De Pree… to remember to say thank you to everyone…
“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”
Thrilled to see you’re reading it Dan, hope you’re enjoying it!
Always like to pull out, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield when I need to overcome resistance, especially when I’m resisting something that I know will bring growth opportunities.
“Get dirty. Perform menial tasks.” Always makes me proud to work with managers that don’t think the “unskilled” laborer’s work is beneath them. I had a co-worker who did just this beautifully; he wasn’t as good or quick as his staff and eventually they would ask him to stop helping, but they respected him and felt he had their back. BTW, his skill with what they did daily was “rusty;” he tried his best. I think it also gave him perspective.
Well, delighted to “meet” another dairy farm kid! Talk about work ethic, whoo-whee! Especially like this segment from this one: “Make the work of others less frustrating and more productive. One corporate leader told me, ‘My main job is figuring out how to remove obstacles that slow my team.'”