A year of leadership mastery: introduction and overview
I am so reluctant to write this because it feels like I’m jeopardizing my career and credibility, but after working in the leadership industry for five years it’s become completely true to me, so I’m going to share it despite the risk: studying and talking about leadership is largely a waste of time.
Most “leadership trainers” have no real world experience and are deeply disconnected from their audiences. Most of the authors and bloggers writing about leadership overcomplicate the art and make it unapproachable. And the majority of the leadership courses offered around the world provide nearly no enduring value to the participants.
The truth: the leaders who you and I admire, the entrepreneurs and philanthropists and innovators, they aren’t sitting around studying leadership theory. They are out there doing. They are learning from their mistakes as they go and pushing the boundaries of success and awesomness.
So I’ll make it simple for you: if you really want to improve your leadership ability, stop reading and start doing. Take action. Pause from time to time and reflect. Realize that failure will only stop you if you allow it to. That’s it.
But of course, I know it’s not always that easy. I want to learn how to surf well, and if someone said to me, “Dude, just grab a board and get out on the water!” I would never start. I’m not that bold or confident.
Personally, I would want a talented instructor to teach me the basics so that I could practice effectively. Then as I practice I would want to periodically check back in with the instructor to deepen my understanding and ability.
And that’s what I want to offer you in 2015. A clear, no non-sense guide to modern leadership.
Starting in January, I’m going to publish one article a month that will guide you through the process of leadership mastery.
I’ll still be writing auxiliary articles posted between the longer ones (and the occasional non-sequiturs as well), but my focus for 2015 is putting together an effective, no BS guide to leadership for people who are fed up with the mediocrity of modernity and want to improve themselves and their communities.
We are going to start by investing time and attention into you so that you can begin the process of self-mastery. Personal development is critical for leaders because the more effective you are as an individual, the more effective youll be when leading a team.
From there, we will study how people actually work so that you can quickly build teams and help others see the world from your perspective.
We’ll end by taking action and attempting to build the world we want to live in.
Each of the articles will provide action steps to get you out in the world so that you can become the creator and leader you want to be.
The specifics of what we’ll be discussing in the year ahead (though they are subject to change a bit):
MARCH: Stop whispering
MAY: Becoming magnetic
DEC: The only secret I know…
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The elephant in the room…what qualifies me to write this?
I mentioned earlier that the vast majority of the leadership industry isnt worth your time. And I stand by that. So at this point you should be asking yourself, “What makes Jason different?”
I could give you a list of reasons why I think I’m qualified to do this but that would be disingenuous and one sided. Or I could direct you towards the testimonial page on my site, but heres the truth about that: I can very easily manipulate those testimonials. I havent, but I could.
So instead, I’d ask this: try the ideas I’m going to share over the coming weeks and months and see if they actually work for you. Or just, cruise through my blog’s archives and try a few things now. Try what I advocate and see if it works for you. I want to continue to earn my reputation based on merit and skill instead of marketing and manipulation.
What’s the approach to leadership we’ll be using?
At it’s core leadership is influence (Hat Tip John C Maxwell’s 21 Irrefutable Laws). If you are the person in the room who can get everyone to behave the way you want them to behave, and if you are the person who can get everyone else to see the world from your perspective, you’re the leader. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.
But I’m not interested in merely making you more influential. If that’s your aim, I suggest reading Robert Cialdini’s excellent book, “Influence.” This will cover 80% of everything you need to know about influence and persuasion and make you far more persuasive than the average person.
What I really want to do, personally, is contribute to the creation of a better world. So when I talk about leadership, I don’t just want to talk about influence, I want to talk about changing the world for the better. I call that good leadership.
Good leadership is about building better communities locally and globally.
It’s about proactively improving the quality of life on Earth. Its about reducing suffering and increasing joy. It’s about living in such a way so that when you die, youll know that the world is a better place because you lived.
This can be inviting a lonely guy or a lonely gal to a party, bringing coffee and sandwiches to a homeless person, volunteering at an orphanage and really loving the children there, raising money for HIV/AIDS research and prevention, working to eradicate global poverty, or a million other things.
If your work or your dream actively improves the quality of life on our planet – especially for the less fortunate – I’m down.
Ok. Enough talk. Lets get going. The first article in the Leadership Mastery Course, “How to find Your Truth” can be read right here.