Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What's in Your Leadership Toolbox?

Guest blog post from Amy Burkett/PBS39 Station Manager

First,  I must admit I am not handy.  I can't fix anything broken around the house.  I don't use power tools.  I don't own a tool belt or a toolbox.  However, when it comes to leadership, I've packed that imaginary toolbox full of all the knowledge I've learned from my experiences in leadership, reading great books, attending incredible seminars and living a life committed to professional development.

It's shocking to me, but research shows about two-thirds of people won't read a book after they graduate.  I find that heart-breaking and can't understand why people don't enjoy learning.  I'm committed to being a life-long learner.  I suspect years of working for PBS had something to do with that.  I've been encouraged through that programming to grow personally.  Then, I have to ask, "What good is knowledge if you keep it to yourself?"  My quest to improve my own leadership lead me to want to share what I've learned with others.

Ask my husband what it's like to be with me when I'm reading a new book.  He'll tell you he doesn't have to read it, because I stop every couple of pages to share what I just learned.  Ask my friend Kim what it's like to sit on the beach with me while I'm reading what I consider to be a gripping new leadership book?  Better yet...don't ask them.  I realize my excitement may make me a bit of a geek, but over time I've learned I was created to share what I've learned with others.

So here are 10 of the greatest things a leader can put in their toolbox.  I didn't create them.  They come from leadership guru and NY Times bestselling author John Maxwell.  He's written over 70 books and I've probably read over 25 of them.
  1. The leader's greatest victory---VICTORY OVER SELF! Followers tend to think of themselves first, while leaders put others ahead of themselves.
  2. The Leader's Greatest Asset---CONFIDENCE! This is the cornerstone of successful leadership.
  3. The Leader's Greatest Weight---  FINAL RESPONSIBILITY! Leaders don't play the blame game. They take responsibility.
  4. The Leader's Greatest Discipline---TAKING TIME TO THINK! Our lives today are a result of yesterday's thinking.
  5. The Leader's Greatest Handicap---PRIDE! Prideful leaders push others aside to seize the spotlight. 
  6. The Leader's Greatest Opportunity---TODAY! Yesterday's gone and none of us are promised tomorrow so we need to take advantage of today.
  7. The Leader's Greatest Mistake---PUTTING SELF BEFORE OTHERS! If you want to be an ineffective leader than go ahead and be self-absorbed.
  8. The Leader's Greatest Prayer---WISDOM! Wisdom is worth more to you than all the gold in the world.
  9. The Leader's Greatest Loss---HOPE! Hope keeps us going in the tough times.
  10. The Leader's Greatest Joy---ADDING VALUE TO OTHERS!  Trophies eventually collect dust. But adding value to others never gets old.
That last one means the world to me.  I love teaching people how to make great television and how to grow people to meet their potential.  I've had the chance to sow seeds of success in all the freshmen in the Bethlehem Area School District this year and right now I'm teaching two groups of incredible students at Penn State Lehigh Valley and Lafayette College.  I think they know how much I love working with them, but if they didn't, they do now.  Here's another source of  joy for me:  Watching CBS3 in Philadelphia on weekday mornings to see two of my former reporters, Nicole Brewer and Katie Fehlinger.  I gave them both their first jobs.  They had so much talent and ambition.  They just needed a chance to learn, grow and hone their craft.  My heart swells with pride every time I watch them from my comfy couch.

My Friends, it's time to load up your leadership toolbox and keep it handy, so YOU can make a difference in the lives of others.

Amy is an Emmy Award winning producer who's passionate about developing people.  She is a John Maxwell certified leadership trainer, speaker and coach.  Like me on Facebook at Amy Burkett Sucess Seekers, 610.814.0610

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