Do you think of yourself as a leader?

Some of you might know that I’m good friends with Colleen Barrett, who stepped down as President of Southwest Airlines two years ago.  It’s interesting – at Southwest Airlines, they say that all of their people are leaders, including those who don’t have management positions. It’s because they think everyone can have a positive impact on others. That’s consistent with the way we at Blanchard define leadership—it’s an influence process. Anytime you’re trying to influence the thinking, beliefs, or development of someone else, you’re engaging in leadership. I think the reason people like the title of The One Minute Manager better than if it had been called The One Minute Leader was that a lot of people don’t think of themselves as leaders. When I do sessions, sometimes I’ll ask big groups of managers, “How many of you think of yourself as a leader?” and less than one-third of them raise their hands. Somehow they think the word leader is reserved for high-level positions like Presidents and CEOs. In reality, when I ask folks to list influential people in their lives who have impacted them the most, they very seldom mention managers or supervisors at work. They usually talk about parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, coaches, or teachers. So there are life-role leadership roles as well as organizational leadership roles. It’s an interesting thing.

So I want every one of you to remember that you are a leader. Each of you has the ability to influence other people, whether it’s a coworker, a kid at home, a spouse, or a friend. Because anytime you attempt to influence the thinking, beliefs, or development of someone else, you are engaging in leadership. So we’re all leaders. It’s just a challenge to get people to think that way. So be good to yourself. Be a good leader this week. Impact people in a positive way for the greater good!

Every Ending Has A New Beginning

I’ll never forget when, right after my dad died, I took my mom up to Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power. They watched that all the time in Florida and that was their favorite Sunday activity, watching the Hour of Power with Reverend Schuller. She had never been up there and this was the last service in the old chapel. Halfway through the service, everybody got up and walked into the new Crystal Cathedral, which is just absolutely beautiful. And the sermon from Reverend Schuller that day was “Every Ending has a New Beginning,” which is a wonderful thought. So as the next season or the next year ends for us and other people, we have new beginnings.

It was also amazing thinking about visualization. I was sitting there with my mom, and it’s a magnificent place, and I leaned over and I said, “Someday I’m going to be up there with Reverend Schuller.” And this was 1979. And my mom said, “How are you going to do that?” and I said, “I don’t know.” And then when The One Minute Manager came out in 1982, the next year, there I was up there with Reverend Schuller and my mom was out there in the cathedral, watching.  So life is a very special occasion. I visualize a wonderful fall for all of us.

Admitting Mistakes

I have been working with two top guys from a radio program to prepare some “One Minute Advice” radio spots. I tell you, it’s really interesting in life—you have certain things you learn how to do and you get confidence, and all of a sudden you’re asked to do something that you’re not used to. In this case for me, it’s to say something in just a minute. Even though I’m called the One Minute Manager, you know, I usually have more to say than what takes a minute!

But it’s been a good learning process. I’ve thought a number of times about John Maxwell’s saying: “A winner is big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” So as I’ve been going through this process, I would do one of the spots and then laugh and say, “Of course, we need to do that one over again!” and try to profit from what didn’t go well and see if I could correct it the next time. So I’ve been dealing with my own image of myself—what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. But I’m learning! I’m getting better all the time. It’s been an interesting process.

I think that’s good advice for all of us, to be big enough to admit when you’ve made a mistake, smart enough to profit from a mistake, and strong enough to correct it. Otherwise you would do the same thing wrong over and over again. That would get a little boring and it could be career damaging.

Take care of yourself—have a great day. Life is a very special occasion even though some days are more learning days than others.