I’m going camping tonight. Just for one night. But for one night I’ll be disconnected from the Internet, away from my cell phone and just hanging out with three of my closest friends. I’ve always found that being able to change your surroundings, even if for a brief period, can be renewing and refreshing. It’s also a great time to both reflect back on what you’ve been doing and look forward to what you want to be doing.
People often talk about the “work / life balance.” I don’t describe it that way since for me, and for many of you, work is life, or at least work occupies a large portion of your life. I describe it as being able to compartmentalize. When changing roles from work to home, it’s important to have the ability to compartmentalize one role for another. I’m referring to the ability to change roles from being a boss or employee or team player at work to being a good boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, friend or neighbor, or whatever the scenario calls for.
All too often people carry their frustrations from one interaction to the next. I’m all for confronting issues and dealing with problems, but when you leave a bad meeting and go to another meeting with a whole new agenda, you need to leave your problems at the door. The same thing applies for when you have a bad day at work and you get home.
I guess another way to put is is… be happy with what you have and remember that tomorrow is a new day.
There are a lot of books on leadership out there, but there is only one that tells you how to be a leader… or as I’d say, “How to not suck at life and instead work to inspire those around you to be great.” Some folks believe that leadership is born and not learned; I disagree. While some folks are probably better suited to become strong leaders, the skills of leadership can be adopted by anyone in any situation and put to good use. Much of it seems like common sense once read, but are things that people often forget.
The book is called FM 6-22, also known as The U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual.
If you’ve ever been faced with having to lead a group of any size, this book will provide invaluable help. It covers leadership characteristics, leadership presence, leadership intelligence (both ways!), and topics like how to extend influence beyond a single link, how to lead by example, how to lead by authority, and how to provide direction, guidance, feedback and priorities. And it covers how important all of those topics are.
Finally, it covers a topic the “business school” leadership books often omit, how to deal with the stress of being a leader; a topic of great importance as you lead your teams into new projects, initiatives and essentially ask the people under you to trust you.
As a side note, I think this books is also for the “cheerleader” type of leaders (what I tongue-in-cheek call bullshitters) because it helps those kinds of leaders understand that not everyone can just rally around an idea forever. They need evidence, confidence and a feeling that the leadership is competent in being leaders. Being a cheerleader is fine, as many cheerleaders might know what’s happening under the hood and have enough confidence in themselves to just tell everyone “it’s gonna be awesome, we’re gonna be rich if you just build this,” but for many workers that won’t fly. You have to tailor your messages to your audience, and nobody knows how to do that better to a diverse group of individuals than the US Army.
In closing; go get this book or ask me for a copy; I keep a bunch around.