Leading without tears
To be a good leader, you must be a good listener. Ever wonder why God spends greater part of His time listening to us? Listening is an effective influence tool. Every successful leader commands great followership because he yields himself to listening to those he leads. One mark of true leadership is when the people being led begin to hear their own voices in the words of their leader.
Every good listener may not be a leader, but every good leader must be a listener. To have a successful leadership experience, learning the listening aptitude would be an unavoidable success-factor. This is because listening enables you to expose yourself to positive input from others. It usually opens a leader to many options required for the creative thinking process. It is in the strengths and weaknesses of other people’s words that a good leader fashions his own wisdom. Apply speed in paying attention to other people’s words, but slowly and carefully respond to them [James 1:19, paraphrased].
Listening must become a habit for any result-oriented leader, whether he is leading a home, company, community, association, or state. This is so because, as a value, listening ability fosters shared thinking, while qualitative shared thinking bequeaths a listening leader with innovation, strength and maturity. A leader, who has developed the practice of effective listening stretches beyond the hurt of indictments and criticisms to understand the humanness of his critics, positions himself for synergy with his team an avails himself of resources hitherto unused.
Meditation: So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; – James 1:19
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
The creator created people, gave them words for communication and thinking, settled them in the fertile valley at the foot of the mountains, gave them longevity and started to observe how they would aspire to the development.
The time has passed, but people did not develop. Their feet did not go beyond their village and did not climb up the mountains. Their eyes did not look at the sky and did not look in the Heart. So they became old.
The Creator decided to find out, what was the matter. He became a man and came to them as a traveler. Before sunset people gathered at the square to talk with the traveler. He described them a life beyond the horizon and suggested:
“Do you want me to lead you there, and you will see how people live in these places?”
“Oh,” they answered sadly, “It is late, we became old…”
“Then come with me to the mountains to look at the world from the top!”
“Oh,” they suspired, “It is too late, we have no energy…”
“Look at the sky.” The traveler said to them, “And I will tell you about the life in the Kingdom of Heaven!”
They answered again: “It is late; our mind will not understand your story…”
The traveler became sad. He decided to cheer people.
“Let‘s sing a song!” he said and was going to sing first, but people noticed that the Sun went down.
“It is late,” they said, “It is time to sleep…” and went to their huts.
The traveler shouted at them:
“People, when life is continuous and infinite, it is not late for any achievements!”
But they did not turn back. Then the Creator told himself: “I will take away all words of limitation from people: ‘late’, ‘not’, ‘impossible’, ‘far’, ‘high’, ‘hard’, ‘will not understand’, and will place in their hearts the joy of infinity. Maybe they will perceive my Law: nothing is late, because there is no end, there is only the beginning! New beginnings!”
He did so and waited for the morning: will people change and will they go with him to the mountains?
Meditation: Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
Here is the concluding part of Leadership Lessons From a Janitor
As often happens in life, events sweep us away from those in our past. The last time I saw Bill was on graduation day in June 1977. As I walked out of the squadron for the last time, he shook my hand and simply said, “Good luck, young man.” With that, I embarked on a career that has been truly lucky and blessed.
Mr Crawford continued to work at the Academy and eventually retired in his native Colorado where he resides today, one of four Medal of Honor winners living in a small town.
A wise person once said, “It’s not life that is important, but those you meet along the way that make the difference.” Bill was one who made a difference for me. While I haven’t seen Mr Crawford in over 20 years, he’d probably be surprised to know I think of him often. Bill Crawford, our janitor, taught me many valuable, unforgettable leadership lessons. Here are 10 I’d like to share with you.
1. Be Cautious of Labels. The labels you place on people may define your relationship to them and bound their potential. Sadly, and for a long time, we labelled Bill as just a janitor, but he was so much more. Therefore, be cautious of a leader who callously says, “Hey, he’s just an Airman.” Likewise, don’t tolerate the O-1, who says, “I can’t do that, I’m just a lieutenant.”
2. Everyone Deserves Respect. Because we hung the “janitor” label on Mr Crawford, we often wrongly treated him with less respect than others around us. He deserved much more, and not just because he was a Medal of Honor winner. Bill deserved respect because he was a janitor, walked among us, and was a part of our team.
3. Courtesy Makes a Difference. Be courteous to all around you, regardless of rank or position. Military customs, as well as common courtesies, help bond a team. When our daily words to Mr Crawford turned from perfunctory “hellos” to heartfelt greetings, his demeanour and personality outwardly changed. It made a difference for all of us.
4. Take Time to Know Your People. Life in the military is hectic, but that’s no excuse for not knowing the people you work for and with. For years a hero walked among us at the Academy and we never knew it. Who are the heroes that walk in your midst?
5. Anyone Can Be a Hero. Mr Crawford certainly didn’t fit anyone’s standard definition of a hero. Moreover, he was just a private on the day he won his Medal. Don’t sell your people short, for any one of them may be the hero who rises to the occasion when duty calls. On the other hand, it’s easy to turn to your proven performers when the chips are down but don’t ignore the rest of the team. Today’s rookie could and should be tomorrow’s superstar.
6. Leaders Should Be Humble. Most modern-day heroes and some leaders are anything but humble, especially if you calibrate your “hero meter” on today’s athletic fields. End zone celebrations and self-aggrandizement are what we’ve come to expect from sports greats. Not Mr Crawford-he was too busy working to celebrate his past heroics. Leaders would be well-served to do the same.
7. Life Won’t Always Hand You What You Think You Deserve. We in the military work hard and, dang it, we deserve recognition, right? However, sometimes you just have to persevere, even when accolades don’t come your way. Perhaps, you weren’t nominated for junior officer or airman of the quarter as you thought you should – don’t let that stop you.
8. Don’t pursue glory; pursue excellence. Private Bill Crawford didn’t pursue glory; he did his duty and then swept floors for a living. No job is beneath a Leader. If Bill Crawford, a Medal of Honor winner, could clean latrines and smile, is there a job beneath your dignity? Think about it.
9. Pursue Excellence. No matter what task life hands you, do it well. Dr Martin Luther King said, “If life makes you a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be.” Mr Crawford modelled that philosophy and helped make our dormitory area a home.
10. Life is a Leadership Laboratory. All too often we look to some school or PME class to teach us about leadership when, in fact, life is a leadership laboratory. Those you meet every day will teach you enduring lessons if you just take time to stop, look and listen. I spent four years at the Air Force Academy, took dozens of classes, read hundreds of books, and met thousands of great people. I gleaned leadership skills from all of them, but one of the people I remember most is Mr Bill Crawford and the lessons he unknowingly taught. Don’t miss your opportunity to learn.
Bill Crawford was a janitor. However, he was also a teacher, friend, role model and one great American hero. Thanks, Mr Crawford, for some valuable leadership lessons.
Dale Pyeatt, Executive Director of the National Guard Association of Texas, comments: And now, for the “rest of the story”: Pvt William John Crawford was a platoon scout for 3rd Platoon of Company L 1 42nd Regiment 36th Division (Texas National Guard) and won the Medal Of Honor for his actions on Hill 424, just 4 days after the invasion at Salerno.
On Hill 424, Pvt Crawford took out 3 enemy machine guns before darkness fell, halting the platoon’s advance. Pvt Crawford could not be found and was assumed dead. The request for his MOH was quickly approved. Major General Terry Allen presented the posthumous MOH to Bill Crawford’s father, George, on 11 May 1944 in Camp (now Fort) Carson, near Pueblo. Nearly two months after that, it was learned that Pvt Crawford was alive in a POW camp in Germany.
During his captivity, a German guard clubbed him with his rifle. Bill overpowered him, took the rifle away, and beat the guard unconscious. A German doctor’s testimony saved him from severe punishment, perhaps death. To stay ahead of the advancing Russian army, the prisoners were marched 500 miles in 52 days in the middle of the German winter, subsisting on one potato a day. An allied tank column liberated the camp in the spring of 1945, and Pvt Crawford took his first hot shower in 18 months on VE Day. Pvt Crawford stayed in the army before retiring as an MSG and becoming a janitor.
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan officially presented the MOH to Bill Crawford. William Crawford passed away in 2000. He is the only U.S. Army veteran and sole Medal of Honor winner to be buried in the cemetery of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
By Colonel James E. Moschgat
Meditation: By humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches and honor and life. – Proverbs 22:4
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!
But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.
– Matthew 2:6
Leadership is the first purpose of Jesus mentioned in the synoptic gospels. Jesus came to shepherd God’s people. He came to provide leadership and every responsibility that comes with that calling. Similarly, some people are created to lead others.
Are you the kind of person people naturally flock to for direction? Do you feel burdened seeing people living without coordination or below their best? Do you always want to help people improve and become better? These are some of the burdens of leadership. Perhaps, you are called to be one.
Jesus felt likewise at one time. “When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). If you are not called to do it, you probably won’t feel so burdened by it. The fact that you are so consumed about it is because God has called you to do it.
Leadership does not necessarily mean you must rule your nation; although, you could be entrusted with it. Leadership starts with doing the best you can with the number of people in your care, helping them to attain the best they can be. The test of a leader is his/her ability to influence others to achieve set objectives, whilst equipping and helping them to become better along the way.
Leadership thrives on influence. Anyone who would rather be left alone and not be disturbed by the affairs of others might not have been called to leadership, because a leader interferes and works on/with his charges until they fully evolve.
If this sounds like you, don’t wait for a push, start making a difference right away.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
You never know when someone
might catch a dream from you.
Or something you say may open up the windows
of a mind that seeks light;
The way you live may not matter at all,
But you never know, it might.
And just in case it could be
that another’s life, through you,
might possibly change for the better
with a better and brighter view,
it seems it might be worth a try
at pointing the way to the right;
Of course, it may not matter at all,
but then again, it might.
— Author Unknown
Meditation: See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15-16
You will succeed in Jesus Name!
A butcher watching over his shop is really surprised when he sees a dog coming inside the shop. He ‘shoos’ him away. But later, the dog is back again.
So, he goes over to the dog and notices it has a note in its mouth. He takes the note and it reads, “Can I have 12 sausages and a leg of lamb, please?”
The dog has money in its mouth, as well. The butcher looks inside and, low and behold, there is a $10 note there. So he takes the money and puts the sausages and lamb in a bag, placing it in the dog’s mouth. The butcher is so impressed, and since it’s about closing time, he decides to shut the shop and follow the dog. So off he goes.
The dog is walking down the street, when it comes to a level crossing the dog puts down the bag, jumps up and presses the button.
Then it waits patiently, bag in mouth, for the lights to turn. They do, and it walks across the road, with the butcher following him all the way.
The dog then comes to a bus stop and starts looking at the timetable. The butcher is in awe as the dog stops a bus by pulling its left leg up and gets in it. The butcher follows the dog into the bus.
The dog then shows a ticket, which is tied to its belt, to the bus conductor. The butcher is nearly fainting at this sight, so are the other passengers on the bus.
The dog then sits near the driver’s seat looking outside waiting for the bus stop to come. As soon as the stop is in sight, the dog stands and wags its tail to inform the conductor.
Then, without waiting for the bus to stop completely, it jumps out of the bus and runs to a house very close to the stop. It opens the big iron gate and rushes inside towards the door.
As it approaches the wooden door, the dog suddenly changes its mind and heads towards the garden. It goes to the window, and beats its head against it several times, walks back, jumps off, and waits at the door.
The butcher watches as a big guy opens the door, and starts abusing the dog, kicking him and punching him, and swearing at him.
The butcher, surprised with this, runs up, and stops the guy. “What in heaven’s name are you doing? The dog is a genius. He could be on TV, for the life of me!” to which the guy responds:
“You call this clever? This is the second time that this stupid dog’s forgotten his key this week!”
Moral of the story: You may continue to exceed onlookers’ expectations, but may fall short of the master’s expectations.
— Author Unknown
Meditation: So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do. – Luke 17:10
You will succeed in Jesus Name!