Saturday, May 1, 2010

Humility, Blinders, and the Impossible

"You can't go back and make a new beginning, 
but you can start today and make a new ending "

What role does humility play in trying to do the impossible?  This is something that has dominated my current thinking.  Success can be contagious and can easily lead you away from your mission.  In an effort to do impossible things, you can end up becoming an impossible person.

I recently read a post entitled "Blinders".  I even passed it on to a good friend because I thought the message was important.  The post focused on keeping your blinders on.  I believe that there are times to put on blinders but there are also times to remove them.  This post explores both.

Blinders are critical when it comes to focusing on your mission.  It is very easy to get wrapped up in what other people are doing/not doing.  This can absolutely overwhelm you and make you lose sight of what is important.  There are times as a leader that you need to put on your blinders in an effort to stay focused on the things/people that are truly important.

There are also times to remove your blinders.  Blinders can be detrimental when it comes to how you are perceived as a leader.    Leaders must be cognizant on how their message is delivered and more importantly how it is received.  Leaders must take the time to remove their blinders in order to conduct a 360 degree evaluation.  It is important to get honest feedback from all levels of the organization about your performance, attitude, etc.

Leaders can easily fall into the trap of putting on blinders when it comes to themselves and removing blinders when it comes to the work that everyone else has in front of them.  Exceptional leaders understand when to put on blinders and when to remove them.  It is this type of situational awareness and self awareness that separates good leaders from great ones.  I've realized recently that I haven't been using my blinders very effectively.  This realization (with help) has me focused on exploring the relationship between humility and leadership.  Here are two important things to know about humility.

  1. Humility can go a long way in a leader's journey towards success.  It is important to remember that you are always part of something bigger.  A leader typically falls when they put themselves before the mission/organization.  This is an easy trap to fall into when you encounter success. 
  2. It is also important to remember that every member of the team brings something unique to the table.  Great leaders capitalize on each individual person's talent in order to move the organization forward.  It is very easy to get caught up in focusing on shortcomings and deficits.  This will not get a leader very far because organizations are only successful if we all move forward.  
Great leaders lead from a place of influence, not position.  This influence begins with a strong sense of humility and the proper use of blinders.

Stay Focused. Remain Humble. Do the Impossible.  B

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