“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.