Hi Everyone and welcome back to the Hockey Journey Podcast, episode number 45,
Leadership (Part 1), presented to you by OnlineHockeyTraining.com. I'm your host Coach Lance Pitlick. If you're new here, please make sure you subscribe, so you won't miss out on any future episodes.
Before we fire up the engine and start the conversation, if you want to learn more about me, my hockey experiences, what I know, and most importantly, how I've been helping hockey players get really good with a stick and puck, just head on over to onlinehockeytraining.com and gain instant access to my 10 part video series where I'll show you everything. Consider it my gift to you.
So today I want to talk about leadership, what is it, how do we get it, and if you're a parent, teacher or instructor, how are we supposed to be teaching it?
Here's what I found on Dictionary.com
Definition of leadership
1. the position or function of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group:
Example - He managed to maintain his leadership of the party despite heavy opposition.
2. ability to lead:
Example - As early as sixth grade she displayed remarkable leadership potential.
3. an act or instance of leading; guidance; direction:
Example - They prospered under his strong leadership.
4. the leaders of a group:
Example - The union leadership agreed to arbitrate.
That's leadership defined by Dictionary.com
The other day, I was over visiting my parents and my Mom always asks me what I have coming up for podcast episodes, because she's the hockey journey podcast's #1 fan, as I mentioned before, and I told her the next one on the docket was on leadership, and then I followed it up with a question, did you guys ever have a conversation together, when I was a kid, saying, we need to start introducing leadership to our boys? My Mom and Dad looked at each other with blank faces, a short pause and then looked at me and said, the thought never crossed their mind. My Dad did interject this, he said, I don't know Lance, I guess I just remember telling you to be an engine and not a caboose. I chuckled and told him that I remember him saying that to me, and I'm grateful for that small, short, simple sentence, because it's stuck with me to this day.
But what the conversation showed me, was that I'm sure there's all kinds of other parents, kids, teachers or instructors out there that might have the same question, how is leadership acquired or taught? What do those conversations sound like, when should they start in one's life, and, is there a competitive advantage out there, when it comes to acquiring leadership skills, available to everyone, that you might have missed the boat on? Well, I'm not an expert in the field of leadership, but there are many in this world who have made this quality or characteristic their life's work, and we're going to see what they have to say on the topic.
For the following books I'm going to reference, know that I'm only scratching the surface of all the learning nuggets in each of the titles. If something resonates with you from a certain book, by the end of this episode, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of your own and read it in its entirety. I'll put the links to each of the titles in the description. With that being said, let's begin.
Book Number 1
In Turbulent Times
By Doris Kearns Goodwin
“Four case studies will reveal these vastly different men in action during defining events of their times and presidencies. These four extended examples show how their leadership fit the historical moment as a key fits a lock. No key is exactly the same; each has a different line of ridges and notches along its blade. While there is neither a master key to leadership nor a common lock of historical circumstance, we can detect a certain family resemblance of leadership traits as we trace the alignment of leadership capacity within its historical context. ... It is my hope that these stories of leadership in times of fracture and fear will prove instructive and reassuring. These men set a standard and a bar for all of us. Just as they learned from one another, so we can learn from them. And from them gain a better perspective on the discord of our times. For leadership does not exist in a void. Leadership is a two-way street. ‘I have only been an instrument,’ Lincoln insisted, with both accuracy and modesty, ‘the antislavery people of the country and the army have done it all.’ The progressive movement helped pave the way for Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Square Deal,’ much as the civil rights movement provided the fuel to ignite the righteous and pragmatic activism that enabled the Great Society. And no one communicated with people and heard voices more clearly than Franklin Roosevelt. He absorbed their stories, listened carefully, and for a generation held a nonstop conversation with the people. ‘With public sentiment, nothing can fail,’ Abraham Lincoln said, ‘without it nothing can succeed.’ Such a leader is inseparably linked to the people. Such leadership is a mirror in which the people see their collective reflection.” (End Quote)
“No single path carried them to the pinnacle of political leadership. Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt were born to extraordinary privilege and wealth. Abraham Lincoln endured relentless poverty. Lyndon Johnson experienced sporadic hard times. They differed widely in temperament, appearance, and physical ability. They were endowed with a divergent range of qualities often ascribed to leadership—intelligence, energy, empathy, verbal and written gifts, and skills in dealing with people. They were united, however, by a fierce ambition, an inordinate drive to succeed. With perseverance and hard work, they all essentially made themselves leaders by enhancing and developing the qualities they were given.” (End Quote)
“I MUST DIE OR BE BETTER” - LINCOLN
“What fired in Lincoln this furious and fertile time of self-improvement? The answer lay in his readiness to gaze in the mirror and soberly scrutinize himself. Taking stock, he found himself wanting. From the beginning, young Lincoln aspired to nothing less than to inscribe his name into the book of communal memory. To fulfill what he believed to be his destiny, a different kind of sustained effort and discipline was required, a willingness to confront weakness and
imperfection, reflect upon failure, and examine the kind of leader he wanted to be. The diligence and studiousness he exhibited during this period of introspection would have been remarkable in a young student; in a man of forty, it was astounding.” (End Quote)
LINCOLN’S GROWTH MINDSET
“While uncertain about his prospects in this first election, Lincoln made it clear that failure did not intimidate him. Should he lose, he had said when declaring his intention to run, he had been ‘too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined.’ And yet, he forewarned, only after being defeated ‘some 5 or 6 times’ would he deem it ‘a disgrace’ and be certain ‘never to try it again.’ So, along with the uncertainty of whether his ambition would be realized was the promise of resilience.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #5
FIND WAYS TO RELIEVE STRESS
“‘I find it pleasant when I have been hard at work at some big state question,’ Roosevelt told a friend, ‘to entirely change the current of my thoughts.’ Though possessed of no surpassing athletic gifts, robust activity was his way of keeping mental balance. His letters abound with accounts of raucous tennis matches, strenuous hikes in the wooded cliffs of Rock Creek Park, the numerous efforts to scour up sparring partners to box with him. He regaled his children with comic tales of being ‘thrown about’ by two Japanese wrestlers: ‘I am not the age or build one would think to be whirled lightly over an opponent’s head and batted down on a mattress without damage but they are so skillful that I’ve not been hurt at all.’ Sometimes, he relished jousting with his helmeted and armored friends in a game called Singlestick. Deprived of such zany exertions by his infected leg, Roosevelt turned with a vengeance to his most reliable recreation—books. From his earliest days, young Roosevelt had found in literature not only diversion but an escape into the lives of others, allowing him to embark vicariously on thrilling adventures, to breathe free, and accomplish great deeds. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that books were the chief building blocks of his identity. So now, confined to his wheelchair, he appealed to the librarian of Congress, Herbert Putnam, for ‘some books that would appeal to my queer taste’—histories of Poland or the early Mediterranean races. Two days later, fully gratified, he wrote to Putnam. ‘I owe you much! You sent me exactly the books I wished. I am now reveling in Maspero and occasionally make a deviation into Sergis’ theories about the Mediterranean races. . . . It has been such a delight to drop everything useful—everything that referred to my duty—everything, for instance, relating to the coal strike . . . and to spend an afternoon in reading about the relations between Assyria and Egypt; which could not possibly do me any good and in which I reveled accordingly.” (End Quote)
Book Number 2
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
by John C. Maxwell
“Whether you are a follower who is just beginning to discover the impact of leadership or a natural leader who already has followers, you can become a better leader. As you read about the laws, you may recognize that you already practice some of them very effectively. Other laws may expose weaknesses you didn’t know you had. Use your review as a learning experience. ... No matter where you are in the leadership process, know this: the greater the number of laws you learn, the better leader you will become. Each law is like a tool, ready to be picked up and used to help you achieve your dreams and add value to other people. Pick up even one, and you will become a better leader. Learn them all, and people will gladly follow you. Now, let’s open the toolbox together.” (End Quote)
LEADERS ARE LEARNERS
“In a study of ninety leaders from a variety of fields, leadership experts Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus made a discovery about the relationship between growth and leadership: ‘It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from their followers.’ Successful leaders are learners. And the learning process is ongoing, a result of self-discipline and perseverance. The goal each day must be to get a little better, to build on the previous day’s progress. The problem is that most people overestimate the importance of events and underestimate the power of process. We want quick fixes. We want the compounding effect that Anne Scheiber received over fifty years, but we want it in fifty minutes. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate events. They can be effective catalysts. But if you want lasting improvement, if you want power, then rely on process. ... If I need to be inspired to take steps forward, then I’ll attend an event. If I want to improve, then I’ll engage in a process and stick with it.”
THE FOUNDATION OF LEADERSHIP? TRUST.
“Most high achievers spend time developing their professional skills. They seek to be highly competent. Fewer focus on their character. What are you currently doing to develop your character? I recommend that you focus on three main areas: integrity, authenticity, and discipline. To develop your integrity, make a commitment to yourself to be scrupulously honest. Don’t shave the truth, don’t tell white lies, and don’t fudge numbers. Be truthful even when it hurts. To develop authenticity, be yourself with everyone. Don’t play politics, role play, or pretend to be anything you’re not. To strengthen your discipline, do the right things every day regardless of how you feel.” (End Quote)
GREAT LEADERS ARE VISIONARY *AND* PRACTICAL
“Great leaders always seem to embody two seemingly disparate qualities. They are both highly visionary and highly practical. Their vision enables them to see beyond the immediate. They can envision what’s coming and what must be done. Leaders possess an understanding of how:
Mission provides purpose—answering the question, Why?
Vision provides picture—answering the question, What?
Strategy provides a plan—answering the question, How?
As author Hans Finzel observed, ‘Leaders are paid to be dreamers. The higher you go in leadership, the more your work is about the future.’ At the same time, leaders are practical enough to know that vision without action achieves nothing. They make themselves responsible for helping their followers take action.”
Bonus Quote #5
WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO SAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
“What do you want people to say at your funeral? That may seem like an odd question, but it may be the most important thing you can ask yourself as a leader. Most people never consider it. And that’s not good, because if they don’t, their lives and leadership can take a direction different from that of their greatest potential impact. If you want your leadership to really have meaning, you need to take into account the Law of Legacy.” (End Quote)
Book Number 3
The Leadership Challenge
How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations
By James Kouzes and Barry Posner
“Leaders get people moving. They energize and mobilize. They take people and organizations to places they have never been before. Leadership is not a fad, and the leadership challenge never goes away. In uncertain and turbulent times, accepting that challenge is the only antidote to chaos, stagnation, and disintegration. Times change, problems change, technologies change, and people change. Leadership endures. Teams, organizations, and communities need people to step up and take charge. That is why we wrote The Leadership Challenge, and why we found it imperative to write this fifth edition. Change is the province of leaders. It is the work of leaders to inspire people to do things differently, to struggle against uncertain odds, and to persevere toward a misty image of a better future. Without leadership there would not be the extraordinary efforts to solve existing problems and realize unimagined opportunities. We have today, at best, only faint clues of what the future may hold, but we are confident that without leadership the possibilities will neither be envisioned nor attained.”
THE FIVE PRACTICES OF EXEMPLARY LEADERSHIP
“We first asked people in the early 1980s to tell us what they did when they were at their ‘personal best’ in leading others, and we continue to ask this question of people around the world. After analyzing thousands of these leadership experiences, we discovered, and continue to find, that regardless of the times or setting, people who guide others along pioneering journeys follow surprisingly similar paths. Although each experience is unique in its individual expression, there were clearly identifiable behaviors and actions that made a difference. When making extraordinary things happen in organizations, leaders engage in what we call The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. They
• Model the Way
• Inspire a Shared Vision
• Challenge the Process
• Enable Others to Act
• Encourage the Heart
These leadership practices are not the private property of the people we studied. Nor do they belong to a few select shining stars. Leadership is not about who you are; it’s about what you do.” (End Quote)
THE FOUNDATION OF LEADERSHIP? CREDIBILITY.
“Credibility is the foundation of leadership. Constituents must be able, above all else, to believe in their leaders. For them to willingly follow someone else, they must believe that the leader’s word can be trusted, that she is personally passionate and enthusiastic about the work, and that she has the knowledge and skill to lead.” (End Quote)