In this ongoing blog, we explore stories and insights that offer valuable lessons applicable to our lives today. These insights will provide guidance, understanding, and often, prompt wise actions and words. We shall highlight some ironies, add common sense habits we should consider, and hopefully give you a chuckle to two as this develops.
Profound Perspective #1
The filter of perception: A newspaper cartoon once depicted a conversation between 2 students. John walked up just as his roommate Rick was saying, “Shoot him, shoot him.” “Rick, what are you watching?” “It is an old episode of Rat Patrol.” John says, “Actually I believe it is a documentary on the Iran-Iraq War!” Rick says, “Shoot him, kill him, well, I mean if this isn’t real” The irony led John to make a profound observation. He turned to the reading audience and said this.
“Will someone please tell us whether this is real or not, so we know whether or not to enjoy it?”
This statement invites us to deeply ponder the importance of our filters – how we perceive people, situations, our thought processes, our education, the books we read and the people we meet.
What makes a Leader Effective? While there are many factors to consider, it can be argued that their people skills play a pivotal role. In order to gauge a leader’s effectiveness, we should ask ourselves, “How do they make others feel.”
The following story about two prominent leaders, Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone serves as a powerful illustration of this concept.
Profound Perspective #2
True Story 1 – Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) was a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Disraeli’s advocated for a paternalistic society with the social classes intact, while providing support to the working class. He emphasized the importance of social obligation rather than individualism. He naturally received support from the establishment.
William Gladstone (1809-1898) was a Liberal Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, on 4 separate occasions. He was noted for his moralistic leadership, focus on world peace, economical budgets, political reform, and efforts to address the Irish question. Their debates and verbal clashes were legendary.
This story revolves around a prominent socialite who had the opportunity to enjoy private dinners with both Gladstone and Disraeli on consecutive nights. When asked about the difference between the two evenings and the two great leaders, her response left a lasting impression. She simply said,
“When I went out with Lord Gladstone, by the end of the evening, I thought he was the smartest person in all of England.” “When I went out with Lord Disraeli, at the end of the evening, I thought I was the smartest person in all of England.
This anecdote prompts us to reflect on what truly makes a leader effective. It becomes evident that a leader’s people skills, particularly their ability to make others feel valued and empowered, rise to the top.
Most interactions with people are fleeting, yet there are some individuals with whom we feel a genuine connection and invest our time. I have been fortunate to have the ones to whom you leave feeling you invested your time. I would receive many pearls of wisdom, yet a question in my mind persisted. Why would these Phenomenal Leaders invest their valuable time with me? Yet I am most grateful they sensed value to give their time to me.
Remember, the key to effective leadership lies in the leader’s ability to influence and inspire others through empathy and genuine connection. Leaders who make others feel smart, capable and important, tend to have a profound impact on their teams and achieve exceptional results.
As we assess the effectiveness of leaders, let us remember the question, “How do they make others feel?” Recognize the significant role that people skill play in shaping successful leadership.
Profound Perspective #3
Prejudging Story - A friend I hadn’t seen in two decades, called out to me when I was travelling through his small town. He traveled quite a bit with his work. When I knew him, he had habits to avoid facing the daily restaurant tempting fat filled dishes. When I last saw him, all 5’ 7”, he weighed about 165 lbs. He quickly stated, “Don’t I look great! I have lost 100 lbs in the last six months. I am down to 290 lbs with just another 120 to go.” My thoughts went from, wow, he looks huge, to “Fantastic Billy. Keep it up.”
Later, reflecting on my impulse to judge, I realized I almost got athlete’s tongue, by putting my foot in my mouth. I also remembered the two core principles I taught my children while they were young. We discussed these often.