Leadership with heart, mind, and soul

#009: Leaders Say Thank You

Added on by Sam Davidson.

Want to be a more admired and skillful leader? Say thank you. A lot.

Then say it some more.

Don’t be fake with it, doling out gratitude when it's not deserved. But be diligent in your saying of thanks - to team members, to customers, to vendors, to mentors, to family, to anyone who needs to hear it.

No leader rose to occasion alone. Therefore, someone is always due your gratitude. Leaders say thank you. Frequently.

The phrase “ungracious leader” is an oxymoron.

(For more on gratitude, read this editorial by David Brooks.)

#008: Find Your Mecca

Added on by Sam Davidson.

While reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me last year, I came across a passage where he talked about his Mecca. He is encouraging his son to find his, described as a place that transformed you, made you better, pushed and challenged you, and that you can’t escape.

For Coates, his Mecca was - and is - Howard University. But where is yours?

Do you have a place that utterly changed you and left you different than before? Is there a place now you can return to for wisdom or support, guidance or stimulation? Do you have a sanctuary or a respite? What about a paradise or a solace?

Leaders need to find their Mecca to return to as needed. The journey of leadership is long and if we don’t have a place to refuel as needed, we won’t make it to where we’re striving to take others.

#006: For the First Time

Added on by Sam Davidson.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

As leaders, the temptation creeps in to just do the things we’re good at, which often means doing things we’ve already done before. This is important, certainly, but do it too much and you’ll stagnate and plateau. Eventually, then, your leadership will stop.

As a leader, you must find time to do something new, even if it feels awkward, unsafe, or odd. You need to be in a place of learning and trying. Otherwise, you’ll never again be in a place of growth.

And a leader who isn’t growing isn’t one worth following.

Take up a new skill. Try learning a new language. Manage your people with a new mindset. Read a new book. Pick up a brand new hobby. Dare to improve your performance in a critical area by flexing a new mental muscle.

Do something for the first time. You’ll feel dumb. But that’s the only way to get to a place of mastery and intelligence.

(I was inspired to write this after reading this article on LinkedIn.)