I recently posted a video on Linkedin with me jumping into a pool in a suit. In the video, I mention that Steve Harvey states you should "jump," and Gary Vaynerchuk suggests that people should just "make the leap." So why did I jump?
I've had the dream of becoming a professional speaker for years, but it has only been a dream. I love people. Yes, I know. If you have interviewed anyone for a job, you probably hated to hear the response, "I love people."
To be more specific, I love people that want to be better leaders. I am thrilled when the "light goes on" for someone when they realize that leadership matters, and they can indeed be better at leading others. I am passionate about developing leaders so that they can realize their full potential.
Most people have a very narrow view of leadership, that leadership is the role held by business executives and politicians. Leadership happens every single day in schools, churches, non-profit organizations, and perhaps most importantly, in our homes. I define leadership as influence.
If you are in a position to influence the thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes of others, you are in a leadership role. Teachers, parents, members of the clergy, and athletes have tremendous influence on those around them. Leadership is happening all around us all of the time.
In 1999, in one of the most difficult periods of my professional life, Emory professor Rick Gilkey challenged me to rediscover what had worked for me. While struggling in my career, I began to discover the elements of my previous success. The seven eLements were born.
LAUGH, LEARN, LISTEN, LANGUAGE, LAGNIAPPE, LEGACY, and LOVE
Seven elements that seem to be simple, but they are not easy. Seven elements that appear to be common sense, but they are not common practice.
Over the past two decades, I have seen these elements turn around careers and turn around companies. I was blessed to lead a dedicated team of people at LeasePlan USA that were recognized as the best place to work in Atlanta (twice) and also recognized as one of the Great Places to Work by Forbes magazine. Many of the gifted leaders on that team made these elements a part of their leadership skill set.
Most of these exceptional leaders also knew the meaning of Lagniappe. (I am assuming that unless you are from Louisiana, you were wondering, "what the heck is Lagniappe"?). Lagniappe is a Cajun French word for a little something extra, akin to "a baker's dozen." Leaders do the little extra things that other leaders do not do.
In the future, I will be suggesting ways to incorporate these seven elements into your daily life. Each element can be used in your professional career and at home. The core of the seven elements is in building rich and meaningful relationships. There has been a great deal of research and published information about employee engagement and how engagement leads to successful organizations.
Team engagement does not just magically happen. It occurs when team members enjoy deep, meaningful relationships. Review the seven elements. If your leaders and your team practiced each of the seven, how strong would your relationships be?
I hope you will allow me to become a part of your leadership journey. Learning is such a critical element of leadership success. So, JUMP in, and let's learn and lead together.
Your comments, suggestions, and recommendations are ALWAYS WELCOME.