The Leadership Myth – I

Hello All, it’s a wonderful feeling to be alive this first Friday of September 2019!! The tribute song “September” by Kirk Franklin is booming in the background as I write today.

So in a blink of an eye, we are LIVE in Q4 ( the “EMBER” months) & in a few days we will welcome the year 2020.

As usual, how are you doing in the light of your goals & targets set earlier in the year? Are you on track or off? No matter the situation dont give up on yourself now, you have all it takes to make it on your inside & you will get to cross the line, it’s just a matter of time.

We would like to sincerely appreciate everyone who has joined this train, who reads our posts, follows this blog, makes comments & share these posts with others. You, all are the reason we are still here.

The “Cultivating A Growth Mindset” series is by far the longest we’ve embarked on since the inception of this blog & we are currently at the point of discussing the Leadership Myth.

It’s taken this long & it lends credence to the fact that changing of a mindset is the most difficult thing to do (especially when the subject is still in denial about the need for change)

To catch-up on this topic, please click the link below:

THE LEADERSHIP MYTH

We tried to bust the very first myth about leadership ( Another blogger reached out to me on this, she writes about myth busters & we just clicked), which is:

Leaders are born not made

Everyone is born with the innate gift to lead, rule & reign (Gen 1: 28), however that potential needs to be worked on, refined & brought out.

That takes process & time which is really the art of making something. Nothing of real value is on the surface, Gold, Diamond & Precious Stones are buried deep down in the belly of the earth & it takes work to get it out & make it look awesome.

So don’t condemn yourself, if you are not there yet, everyone is a leader & you have your audience & circle of influence waiting on you to display your giftings, please don’t let them down.

As previously stated, I’ve been reading since last month the book of Dr. Alex Ihama titled “The Mystique of Leadership (How to become an exceptional Leader) & it just gels with the leadership myth topic in the series.

Let’s look at the next myth:

Having a position makes you a leader!!

This is another major myth, I’ve seen over the years of studying people in position authority that it’s not the position that makes the leader, the leader makes the position. You see instances of people forcing themselves on others on the basis of their position, making them comply to orders, instructions & directives.

Looking at the 5 levels of leadership ( by John C. Maxwell), it’s the base level of leadership. I call it baby step leadership, everyone starts from there but if you remain there after a while, then you become a dictator & a bully.

Those who remain in Level 1 do not think of those who report to them as team members or colleagues —rather, they consider them their subordinates or slaves.

A level 1 leader will find it very difficult to manage volunteers, young people, highly intelligent & highly educated people.

I think it was Steve Jobs that said “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do.”

Looking at the practical skills required to be a leader, we mentioned 2 previously :

  1. Reward & Encourage learning through trial & error
  2. Learn to grow into your role as a leader

The next skill is

Third, learn as you go and don’t wait for all the answers

If you wait until you know exactly what you’re doing before you feel confident in leading others and projects, you’ll never be ready.

The key is to learn as you go, figuring out next steps along the way.

I love a portion of Maya Angelou’s poem it says “Let your fall be part of your dance” Dont wait for the perfect time or season, just do it anyway, do it scared but do it nonetheless!!

I’ve led a couple of successful teams & projects that at the start I didn’t have a clue on how to get it done, but I just started it anyway with a high level of articulation & confidence that the clients or my managers think I’ve got it all figured out. I am the only one in the room that know that i’m quacking in my boots. In project management it’s called Progressive Elaboration

Fourth, ask others for feedback

If you want to get better at anything, you need to seek the perspective of others. You want to know how you come across, what you do well, and where you could develop as a leader.

Feedback is a great developmental tool & if used very well can produce awesome results. As an Engineer, in control systems I was taught about open loop & close loop systems.

An open loop control system acts completely on the basis of input and the output has no effect on the control action. – A closed loop control system considers the current output and alters it to the desired condition.

The control action in these systems is based on the output & the main aspect of a closed loop control system is FEEDBACK

I do this regularly & also encourage my team members to do same, in fact I sometimes ask other colleagues outside my team for feedback about myself or a member of my team strictly for developmental purpose & not for appraisals.

This is the reason why some organizations adopt the 360 degree appraisal strategy. This will only work in an environment that allows openness, void of prejudice & toxicity.

Fifth, be flexible and adaptable in your approach

Get comfortable with changing your opinions and direction to achieve results.

I am a stickler for process, procedure & all of that, however I also realize the need to be flexible & adaptable. It seems confusing for a lot of people around me as sometimes I stubbornly stick to the process & other times I just let things slide without saying a word.

I love this quote from Dr Mike Murdock, he says “Wisdom is the ability to recognize differences”. I see differences on a regular basis & I tend not to deal with 2 situations the same way ( even if the look similar), I dig deep to see the uniqueness as all projects are.

Telling others you won’t always have the answers and you’re open to new ideas and opinions that may shape the strategy you choose will positively impact how your team see you.

It will also empower your team to know they can help you to shape the strategy. As you know, leaders are made, not born. You don’t have to be a natural leader. You just need to use the principles that will help you to develop and lead with a growth mindset.

My alarm just went off now, signals it’s time to go….Allow me drop the gist now & we will surely catch-up soon.

Are you still a Level 1 leader?

What are you doing practically to move your leadership to the next level?

What leadership skills are you grooming?

This is another long snippet …….. I AM SHALOMESQ

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The Leadership Myth

Hello wonderful family & welcome to the 1st Friday & 2nd day in the 8th month of the year 2019. It’s a beginning of another fantastic month that is fixing to be exciting as we kick-on into Q3.

As always I’ll like to know how far you are on the path to reaching your goals & targets for 2019? If you are on-track, well done!! Keep pushing until that finish line. If off-track, re-assess yourself, identify what went wrong, make corrections & get back on-track, keep on keeping on!!! You are not far from the end.

Even though I am still working out of station, I’ve fully readjusted my routine to align & things are going smoothly now. The last couple of days has been a bit emotional for me as I was given the privilege to attend a vendor’s exhibition event for all players in my industry – Telecommunications- and it was great seeing old faces & reconnecting. I’ve had the privilege of working in the industry for the past 18 years or so & started as part of the pioneer engineers in the country at that time.

One thing I took away from the experience is the fact that people will remember you for good or evil based on the impact you have on their lives during the times they interacted with you & also that you don’t have to be in a leadership position to lead, influence & impact lives. I am super grateful for the experience & this takes a special place in my heart.

Coincidentally, based on my blog schedule, today’s post is meant to be on Leadership Myth which is the continuation of our “Cultivating A Growth Mindset series. It’s interesting how things just pan out & work together for good.

GREEK MYTHOLOGY

I was introduced to Greek mythology when a was a child while reading books from my father’s huge library & I still remember the 1st story I read about “Jason & the Golden Fleece” & then the classic 1981 movie “Clash of the Titans“. Zeus ( God of the sky, lightning, thunder, law, order, and justice) is the Leader & King of the Greek Gods who ruled from Mount Olympus. There is a whole catalog of documents & videos on this topic which you can dive into if you are interested in such, for me I was really fascinated.

LEADERSHIP

I recently started reading a book by Alex Ihama titled “The Mystique of Leadership (How to become an exceptional Leader)” & this all tied nicely together with everything that has been happening to me & the recent experience I shared earlier.

I have been a student of Leadership, Strategy & Warfare tactics & History for a while & have studied & learnt from Iconic Leaders like Jesus Christ, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, John F. Kennedy, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Obafemi Awolowo, Nndamdi Azikiwe, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Barak Obama, John C. Maxwell, T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Miles Munroe, Olubi Johnson, Tunde Bakare & a host of others, so I was super excited when I got to this topic in the series & we are going to spend a while here.

LEADERSHIP MYTH

According to Dr. Roberts ( The facilitator of the Growth Mindset Course on LinkedIn Learning), when it comes to creating leaders, research shows those with a growth mindset show far more potential than those with a fixed mindset. It’s such an important part of successful leadership that organizations like Microsoft invest heavily in helping leaders to create a growth mindset.

This is because it’s an essential ingredient in reaching potential, stretching current abilities, and creating high-performing teams. In fact, one of the key goals of Satya Nadella who is the CEO of Microsoft is to transform Microsoft’s culture into that which values and rewards continual learning and growth.

Now, there is a leadership myth that you may have heard. Leaders are born, not made. This concept means you either naturally have the capability and skill to be a leader or you don’t. This kind of thinking is opposite to developing a growth mindset. And actually, research has completely debunked this idea. Some people may find it easier than others to step into a leadership role, but everyone has the ability to develop and hone leadership skills. There are key skills you need to be a good leader.

Arguably, the most important being utilizing a growth rather than fixed mindset when leading. What does creating a growth mindset as a leader look like in practice? There are some key principles:

First, reward and encourage learning through trial and error.

When leading projects, teams, and developments, you won’t always start out with the best solution so testing and trialing approaches is important. The key focus should be on encouraging and rewarding smart risks whether they succeed or not especially if they yield insights that can help the business to move forward.

Earlier in my career, I worked with a company that had this culture.

Failure wasn’t fatal, it was treated as a lesson so it helped build up confidence in our abilities as engineers & solution architects to recover from any situation, we were given the chance to develop a growth mindset.

I remember days that we will be in the WAR ROOM trying to resolve challenges related to the launch of the network whether it was due to a fault of an individual or the entire team.

It was ONE for ALL & ALL for ONE!!

The confidence reposed in us by our Line Manger, Head of Division, GM, CTO & CEO was so great that we broke a lot of barriers & became firsts at a lot of things. Sadly, it seems that company is still the only place in the industry that kept & nurtured that culture even after 14 years of my departure.

All other places have treated failure as fatal & during times challenging time, the hatchet is out looking for whose head to cut off.

This has developed a defensive mindset in people, so no one is willing to take risks & they just settle for mediocrity not knowing that with great risk comes great reward.

At Pixar Animations, President Ed Catmull has created a culture that not only accepts mistakes and failures, but actually celebrates them.

Second, learn to grow into your role as a leader.

As time passes, you’ll learn more about the kind of leader you are and the kind of leader you want to be. No one wakes up one day as a leader with all the skills, vision, and abilities they’re ever going to require.

With a growth mindset, you’ll be continually learning and developing as a leader. And that’s the positive and humble way to create leadership success.

I have worked with different types of managers & leaders over the course of my career & believe me there are many flavors out there, THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY & I’ve gleaned ( and still gleaning) lessons from ALL of them on what to do ( or not do) as a leader.

PREVIOUS POSTS ON LEADERSHIP

Over the last 4 ( going to 5) years of this blog, I have written a few posts related to Leadership & It would be great at this point to reference some of the links below for your catching up.

Be a Leader, Be a Boss!!

Leadership & Work Ethics Series

Criteria for Leadership

Cultivating Leadership Skills in our Kids Series

The leadership growth journey is summarized below based on John C. Maxwell’s principle & book “The 5 Levels of Leadership“:

LEVEL 1- POSITION

It’s the lowest level of leadership and considered the entry level to the leadership ladder. Maxwell points out that just because someone is a boss does not necessarily mean they are leadersand those people will not get past level one. They do not think of those who report to them as team members—rather, they consider them their subordinates.

Because of this, they hold rules, regulations, and policies up on a pedestal, using them to control the people who report to them. The only reason people follow level one leaders is that they have to, and they follow them only so far as they must.

Because it is entry-level, the position does not require any particular effort or ability. Any person can be placed in the position of level one leadership, so anyone seeking to become an influential leader must seek to advance past this level.

A level-one leader will have difficulty influencing volunteers, younger people, and the highly educated.

LEVEL 2 – PERMISSION

As the first level requiring effort to obtain, level two marks someone’s rise to leadership. This level leads to people following because they are compelled to by something more than following orders or a job description. The reason for this is that there is a relationship between the leader and those reporting to the leader. This fosters an environment where people feel that their leader values and trusts them. They start to work together with their leader.

The leader is no longer in charge of subordinates, but rather begins to act as a point person for a team of equals.

LEVEL 3 – PRODUCTION

This is where the wheat is separated from the chaff. In this analogy, the leaders are the wheat and those who do nothing more than occupy positions of leadership are the chaff. Strong leaders get results and impact an organization. They have the ability to be productive individually and to inspire their team to be productive. In order to reach level three, leaders must have self-discipline and work ethic. They must possess organizational skills.

At this level, leaders are starting to develop an influential reputation because of their relationships with others and because of their production. It is important to keep building relationships—reaching a higher level of leadership does not grant permission to neglect the skills that brought one to previous levels. As the level three leader produces, momentum builds and not only does the bottom line improve, but so does morale.

The team is able to meet more goals and turnover decreases. This is also the level when leading becomes fun for the leader, too.

LEVEL 4 – PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT

At level four, the leader begins to shift from focusing on personal and corporate production to building other leaders. Great leadership begets great leaders—people are an organization’s most valuable asset and also its most appreciable asset because, with the guidance of a level-four leader, others can begin their journey through the levels of leadership as well. Level-four leaders spend only about 20 percent of their time focused on personal productivity. The rest of their energy is devoted to building other leaders.

Work on this level requires that leaders learn to delegate, which can be difficult for more hands-on types. The relationships developed at this stage are often lifelong.

LEVEL 5 – PINNACLE

At the fifth and final level, reside the leaders who have led other leaders to level four. It is rare to find a level-five leader because reaching this level requires much skill as well as natural leadership abilities. Level-five leaders are legacy-makers. Success seems to follow in the wake of pinnacle leaders, and it may look effortless to those outside of the leadership levels. Their influence is transcendental. It is rare to find a level-five leader who is not advanced in his or her career as well. This level is a great opportunity for leaders to make changes outside of their organization and even outside of their industry.

Unlike levels one through four, which can be achieved through hard work, skill building, and relationship building, level five requires an innate talent for leadership.

We will continue on the other myths in the coming posts….. Stay tunned

What leadership myths do you have?

Are leaders born or made?

What level of leadership are you on?

This is my (long) snippet …….. I AM SHALOMESQ

CULTIVATING A GROWTH MINDSET – III

Hello Family!! It’s the penultimate Sunday in the month of March & we are at the start of the 13th week of 2019. I usually don’t post on Sundays, but I’ve had to work out of station for a few days in the last week & that has altered my routine but my commitment of posting at least once a week still remains resolute.

How are things going with you?? Q1 is at it’s end, hope you are on-track with your 2019 goals, it’s time to take stock & fuel for Q2.

I will like to appreciate everyone who has given me a feedback one way or the other regarding this series & other posts on this blog. It’s quite refreshing to know that from my little corner of the world some form of impact is being felt as I contribute my quota to the pool of resources available out there.

Before we jump right into the flow, for the sake of those who are just joining the series, you can catch-up on the first 2 posts by clicking on the links below:

PART I

PART II


The series topic is “Cultivating a growth mindset” which was a LinkedIn course I took about 4 months ago as part of an e-learning trial team for my company’s HR department. This class was taught by Gemma Leigh Roberts, Chartered Psychologist, Executive Coach, and author.

MIXED MINDSET

In this post, we will be looking at the 2nd type of mindset, “The Mixed Mindset“. Traditionally, research focused on fixed and growth mindsets and nothing in between.

What we now know to be true is you may veer more towards a growth or a fixed mindset naturally, but actually a lot of people are somewhere in between and have a mixed mindset.

This means your mindset is part fixed, part growth depending on the situation, circumstances and how you feel about events going on in your life. This means sometimes you may feel like you have the ability to develop skills and talents and other times you may not.

Ideally, you want to develop and cultivate a growth mindset. This will dramatically improve your performance, productivity, goal achievement, and happiness.

It’s all about changing your thought process to view challenges and disappointments as opportunities to learn and develop. It’s about understanding you can develop skills, talents, abilities, and even your mindset over time.

There is a concept I’ve adapted from John C. Maxwell’s latest book “Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace” which is about the different mindset zones. And the graphic below helps to explain it better.

It’s really clear that zones 1 & 2 mindset are more of the fixed mindset type while Zones 3 & 4 fit into the growth mindset. Now going back to today’s topic, it’s easy to see how in different situations & circumstances there is a tendency to have a mixture. This is not a bad place to be, at least it’s better than staying at the rock-bottom zone with a fixed mindset & just cruising or coasting through life.

My challenge to you today is to check your views & perspective of life, mentality, truisms, beliefs systems, etc & honestly assess where you are. Once you know that, then start to make effort to progress from where you are now to where you ought to be.

“Getting better doesn’t just happen from wishful thinking. Getting better only happens with the discipline of doing better. Discipline is the requirement for progress.” — Jim Rohn

This is my snippet …….. I AM SHALOMESQ

Cultivating Leadership skills in our kids VIII

Kids

Hello family, as we wrap up the month of October, I thought it apt to also wrap up this series on “Cultivating Leadership Skills In Our Kids“.

There is a lot more to point out on this topic & I will try to take it further at another time as I am inspired.

At the beginning of this journey, while I was thinking about the name for the series, I thought about a couple, one of such was “The 3 Ms of Parenting – Modelling, Management & Memories” but it just didn’t sit well with me, so I settled for the current one.

Just to recap, our anchor scripture has been Prov22:6  which says “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” I highlighted that our job as parents involves, Modelling ( or Mentoring) in which we display the right characters we want our kids to emulate so as to be worthy citizens in our society, then we talked about Management & all of its various flavours.

My last post highlighted the need for failure management for our kids as a way of ensuring that they learn from these failures & turn them around as stepping stones to greater successes.

This & many other areas ensure that we help develop greats leaders of tomorrow.

Before I talk about the last job of a parent ( Making Memories), lets look at 2 more points about management of our 21st century kids.

Team & Independent Management

I mentioned team management in passing while I was talking about talent management, but its worth emphasising again.

As they grow older in this current age, the requirement to be a vibrant team member is of great value especially as the world is becoming a global village.

The need to collaborate with people in different time-zones with different cultures, beliefs & upbringing will be super high in their generation, so we need to ensure they develop with the required skills to be fantastic team players.

We are intentional with our kids as regards extra-curricular activities in school, we enrol them in team oriented sports like Football, Basketball, Athletics-(Relay races), Ballet, etc to ensure that they imbibe the team spirit.

To be an effective team player we ensure our kids:

  1. Have an Identity ( Self-Awareness): In a world where people are trying to be others, we ensure that our kids know who they are as a person & as a member of our family. They have clarity about Dos & Donts as well as Whats & Whys.
  2. Understand their strength: We ensure that they know exactly what they are contributing to the team as a member. So they are not intimidated by another team member, we reason with them to see what their unique strengths are & how that helps the team.
  3. Be socially-aware: To know that there is a whole lot more in the world than what we are teaching them right now. There are different people, cultures, beliefs, experiences, etc. Going to a school that is truly international has opened up their eyes to the world at large as they interact daily with colleagues from different parts of the world.

We are blessed that God has given us the privilege to raise our kids as citizens of the world & super proud when we see them interact among their colleagues.

They are bold, articulate & always ready to help & take up responsibilities amongst their mates. I recall a time we travelled on vacation to the UK & my son didn’t miss a beat interacting with his cousins & their friends as if he had always lived in the UK, he wasn’t out of place.

By virtue of his participation in a summer camp programme “Leadership in TrainingLIT in church, his leadership skills & team spirit has greatly increased & at the recently concluded Family Conference, I saw him display these skills as he interacted with others in a group activity to solve a problem & provide services to other kids.

I have a great relationship with my kids which is far better than what my Father had with me, but I also found out during the Conference that I need to do more especially as they are getting older.

Independence management is about creating a culture, a template for them to follow & then empowering & releasing them to use it independent of you as they grow older.

Give your kids the ability to make choices for themselves ( especially not so critical choices). This may mean allowing them to make mistakes from time to time ( remember failure management), as it forms part of their learning process & experiences.

A typical example is picking up what they will wear, while they were younger we picked what they wear, but as they are getting older, we’ve eased out on that & sometimes allow them to pick what they want to wear just to see their choices & rationale so that we can either validate or correct it accordingly.

Before, we chaperone them to all parties & events, now sometimes we drop them off & transfer their care to a trusted elderly person  & come back to pick them while getting feedback from the person on how they are doing or did at the event.

We see independence management as a way of judging how far they’ve imbibed what we’ve taught them over the years.

I remember when one of my son’s best friend was having his birthday party & both my wife & I had somethings to attend to that Saturday, I dropped him off at the place, handed him over the the parents of his friend & picked him up later.

When I came back for pick-up, I was properly attended to with food & drink, I sat down in a corner, eat, cleaned up after myself & trashed things properly, before I went to play with the kids.

Unknown to me, a guest had been watching & while I was playing with the kids she came up to me & asked “Is that your son?” pointing to my kid.

I said “Yes, dont we look alike” & she said we do in every way, she told me how she noticed him as being polite & intelligent & that he did exactly what I did in eating in a corner, cleaned up after himself & trashed things before running off to play.

I told her that it’s all about God’s help & the support structure my wife & I have intentionally put in place & as I drove off, I was filled with pride & gratitude.

Days like this encourage me a lot & also drives me to do more as I really dont have a lot of time, he will be 11 years old in December & in my mind I have 7 years to go to cultivate & activate what he can GO & IMPACT the world positively with……. Time is of the essence!!

We will conclude on this series tomorrow while November will be dedicated to something else.

Are you doing a great job as a model to your kids?

Are you managing your kids correctly in all the required areas?

This is my snippet, I AM SHALOMESQ!!!

Cultivating Leadership skills in our kids VII

Kids

Hello everyone, I hope we are all doing great as we wrap up the year 2017? Its been about 7 weeks since my last post on this topic & a lot has happened during that time.

Firstly, my country of birth Nigeria celebrated her 57th independence anniversary & more than ever before I am convinced & committed to the success of this nation &  Nigeria will indeed flourish again!!

Secondly, in the past 10 weeks or so, my focus has been on one word – GROWTH- its been an intensive 1 hour weekly session with my mentor John Maxwell looking under every rock related to that word & it’s been a blast.

There is so much to learn & i’m amazed at the body of work that is available on this topic, it’s been an ocean of knowledge relating to personal,corporate & governmental growth. I am ever learning & I will be sharing more on that in the coming days.

Lastly, I’ve had to make some adjustments professionally, reshuffle my priorities & optimise my focus so as to remain on track & bring out the best in my current situation.

Now that we’ve sort of caught up on my hiatus, let’s do a brief recap on the topic.

I started out with Prov 22:6 & the first point was about us training our children by being Role Models to them, second point, I talked about Management & we delved into different aspects of management, i.e. Position, Chore, Knowledge,Authority & Talent.

You can check all of my previous posts for more details.

In this 7th post, I will continue on management & look at Failure Management.

Throughout time, a lot of focus has been directed towards successful people & how they became successful. So much noise about the things they did right & very little about what they did wrong & how they failed. It seems to me that we get so familiar with & get to study their successes while little attention is given to their failures.

But for those that actually have real & lasting success ( not just flash in the pan), they all have something in common, they made mistakes, had challenges, failed & then learnt from those failures turning them into stepping stones to success.

History is filled with such great people like Thomas Edisson,Abraham Lincoln, The Wright brothers, Mary Kay Ash, Usain Bolt, etc.

One thing I must clear out is this “The fact that you failed, doesn’t mean you are a FAILURE. You become a FAILURE when you accept that point of view & decide not to do anything about it”

I’ve read 2 books on this topic by John Maxwell, Failing Forward & Sometimes you WIN, sometimes you LEARN & it has shaped my perspective about failure.

As parents we need to have the right perspective about Failure so that we can help shape our kid’s perspective.

When our kids were growing up, there is a disposition we had about failure that we tend to loose as they become older.

While they were toddlers & as they started to move from crawling to walking, we encouraged them when they fell ( i.e. failed to walk), we walked around & gave them the picture that walking is possible, we took them by their hands & helped them one step after another.

They held on to stuff to help them stand upright & with time they started to do what seemed impossible before, they started walking.

Every time they fell, we didnt say “Well James walking is not for you”

NO!! We gave them all the encouragement they needed to try & try & try again till they made it.

When my son was in primary school, he contested to become the Sport Prefect & we were all excited about it, we had hand-made posters, wrote campaign speeches & slogans,worked on his public speaking skills, designed a new strategy for sport related activities & developed ideas to jazz up the inter-house sport day, etc.

Unfortunately, for one reason or another, he lost as 1st runner-up, but I’ve always told him that this is a game & someone must win. He was disappointed, but saw areas where he had learnt a couple of things like improvement in his confidence to speak in public, strategic thinking, wholesome times that the family spent together during the campaign, etc.

I ensured that he congratulated the winner, highlighted the things they did better than us & also shared some of our ideas with him. I saw the opportunity for him to learn how to manage failure & he was better for it.

Now that he is in high school, I will encourage him to go for it again because he loves sports so much or even become the school president, who knows?

I once read the story of a boy who could not handle failure. He has always been the best in the class in all subjects until a new girl transferred to the class & started beating him.

He was so bitter about 2nd position that he was caught in the science lab attempting to put acid into the girl’s drinking flask. Thank God no one was hurt,but the alarming thing was the fact that he decided to harm ( or kill) opposition so as to get back his  no.1 position in class. Where did he learn that from?

The school authorities called in the parents & they were shocked at the action of their son. The issue has been taken out of the spotlight & hopefully settled, but it has not left my mind ever since.

Could it just be that the boy’s action is a reflection of how his parents perceive failure & handle opposition?

I see the same in our society in which our leaders view politics as a do or die affair in which they must win at all cost & by all means possible.

We must do better for our kids, encourage them to handle failure properly.

Let them learn how to FAIL FORWARD & know that sometimes they will WIN & sometimes they will LEARN!!

This is my snippet, I AM SHALOMESQ!!!

Cultivating Leadership skills in our kids VI

Kids

As we reach the end of August 2017, I would like to sincerely appreciate everyone who has either visited this blog, followed this series, liked my posts & made comments here or across other social media platforms.

I am truly grateful & you are the reason I am encouraged & inspired me to go on.

This is the 6th post in the series & we’ve been laying brick upon brick as we look under every rock to build up on this topic, my advise will be to refer to all the previous posts to catch up.

In my last post, I started talking about TALENT management as part of ways to cultivating leadership skills in our kids.

Our kids are blessed with an abundant supply of talents & its our duty as parents to help them nurture & refine them as well as develop vital skills so as to be successful & to bless the world & their generation.

A lot of the times as parents, we tend to only focus on their “education” from a view of ensuring they get good grades so as to get to good schools & end up getting a great 9 to 5 job while we play down or even shut off their creativity.

I knew a lot kids growing up who got frustrated by their parent’s quest to actualise their unfulfilled dreams of becoming a doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, etc at the expense of their child’s dream & talent.

Some of my mates in college faced this frustration & I witnessed it first hand.

Almost all of them graduated from college with good grades, but a lucky few dumped their certificates to pursue their dreams after gaining independence from their parents & they are doing great now, imagine the time wasted in trying to fulfil their parents dream.

For some reason, my mother wanted me to become a medical doctor, but I wasn’t cut out for it at all, she nurtured this dream until I got to junior high school & passed my exams.

In senior high school I was a science student, excellent in mathematics, physics & chemistry, but so poor in biology & she was very disappointed but I was so happy because by that time I had been introduced to electronics & computers so much so that I got hooked.I was already opening up our old TV & radio sets as well as all of my electronic toys to understand what was inside of them.

By the time I finished high school & was ready for college, my mom gave up that dream &  personally got me two 6 months internships at a local electrical repair shop & an electronics/computer repair shop respectively to help me decide on what I wanted to do as I was torn between either becoming an electrical engineer or an electronics/computer engineer. I ended up combining both with a major in electronics & telecommunications & the rest is history.

I said all of that to show the importance of  nurturing the giftings & talents of our kids.

Before starting our family, my wife & I discussed & agreed that we will not put any pressure on our kids to build up to one profession or the other, but we will closely watch them & ensure that we nurture & support their love for any profession,talent or giftings they display growing up & just advise them on the journey to reaching their greatest potential.

Our job was to provide them with the enabling environment & resources to be the best they can be.

Because we wanted our kids to be better version of us, we ensured that they had a better start than we had growing up, for example I didn’t get to interact with computers until my late teens & didn’t own one till my early twenties.

Our son started operating a computer by age 3 & owns a laptop now. We noticed that he loved watching cartoons & animated movies, he loved Ben10, DC & marvel comics heroes so much that he started drawing his own characters & narrating  stories along with them, almost all of his school books had cartoon drawings on them.

We didn’t shut him down, we encouraged him to do this & even got him drawing books to use while ensuring he kept his grades up at all times. Just like in developed countries, they ensured an all round education that involved extra-curricular activities, we did the same with him.

As we saw that his interest was getting serious, I downloaded an application for him to use & he moved from drawing on paper to doing it on his computer, remember I shared under knowledge management how I introduced him to the internet, now he uses that to get more information on how to make animations & he got better.

We recently enrolled him in a summer coding program on computer programming, animations & game development, he was super excited about it & finished best in his age group category.

We have sparked a fire in him already & we are excited on how far he will go with this considering the trends in Information & Communication Technology.

This is just one example, we have also exposed him to other skills that are very important to his all round success in life even if it wasn’t innate to him.

My wife taught him music & he plays classical music on the piano & keyboard, we are both taking guitar lessons, he started swimming from the age of 2 & now competes & win medals for his school, he is also in the football, basketball,athletics & gymnastic teams competing & winning medals.

Being involved in these activities teaches him about empowerment, team-work, hierarchy, strategy, self-confidence, endurance, consistency & overcoming failure ( I will touch more on this later) & we reinforce these lessons as we have engaging conversations with him about them.

“No individual can win a game by himself.” -Pele

Our daughter is not left out too, we noticed that she loves singing & dancing as well as cooking with her mom. So she got enrolled in ballet classes at age 4, she also started swimming at 2 & we exposed her to watching shows like Idols, The Voice, So You Think You Can Dance, Junior Master Chef , My Kitchen rules, etc & she regularly performs her latest songs & dance routines for the family.

Talent management is very essential to their success in life, observe what they are good at, what they like doing & help them kindle that fire.

I have 2 more points under Management before we move to the next segment.

Are you trying to live your dream through your child?

Are you shutting down their creativity & innate talents?

Are you cultivating those talents, giftings & skills required to make them successful in life?

This is my snippet, I AM SHALOMESQ!!!

 

Cultivating Leadership skills in our kids V

Kids

Hello everyone & thanks so much for sticking with me on this journey as we look at ways to cultivate leadership skills in our kids.

Just a bit of a summary on the series so far, we started by looking at Proverbs 22:6 it says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”. The first thing we highlighted was that to train our kids in the way they should go, we must first travel that path by MODELLING these traits before them.

Then we talked about MANAGEMENT.

As part of our parental responsibilities we highlighted different areas that requires our management.

Management involves discerning the uniqueness of  each child & teaching/raising them accordingly.

POSITION & CHORE management was an area we touched on as we looked at unique ways of managing our kids as a result of their position in the family as well as giving them a sense of responsibility by allotting age-appropriate chores.

Then we got into KNOWLEDGE management looking at the 2 sides of this coin, exposing them to reading & to information to fuel their imagination & curiosity while also having engaging conversations with them to learn what they know & align them accordingly.

In my last post we started looking at AUTHORITY management with the emphasis on discipline, we will continue in this line today.

In relation to leadership, the sense of responsibility, ability to get & use information, engage with people & be disciplined are all major leadership skills that guarantees success in the life of our kids. 

Authority Management

Another area of authority management that we engage our kids with is the fact that authority is transferable. For example, I give their teachers at school full consent to spank them when required ( even though the school doesn’t support that) but our kids know that is a possibility. If they misbehave, the only thing the teacher has to say is “I will tell your parents” & that is enough to get them back on track.

On date nights, my wife & I usually take them to a friend’s place & they know at that point that the authority is transferred to the parent in whose house they are staying.

I remember growing up in those days & the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child“, then your elderly neighbour could discipline you as they deem fit if they noticed you are going left, but these days we hardly know our neighbours talk less of even getting them involved in raising our kids.

For our kids to be law abiding citizens, we also model the fact that authority is transferable in the society by obeying the laws of the land e.g. obeying traffic lights & being polite to the policeman, traffic warden, airport security,etc.

Another part of authority management is causality, this is the relationship between cause & effect. We let our kids understand that for every action, there is an equivalent reaction, so if they do bad, they get the required spanking & discipline & if they do good, they get rewarded.

One of the key things about causality is that you must keep your words at all time else your kids will see you as fake & not trust you.

As a standard rule, my wife & I keep a united front to the kids, we dont argue in front of them about anything. These kids are very smart & they can detect a weakling between the parents & exploit them accordingly.

We always keep our promises to them ( either reward or punishment) & always synchronise between us about what was promised even when one of the other parent is not around at the time of promise, either one can deliver.

For example, my wife promised my son he could take his computer to school after he completed a certain task at home,  I wasn’t there at the time this deal was struck, so when I was ready to drive them to school, I noticed the computer in his bag & I told him to drop it at home. He protested saying his mom had agreed for him to take it, so I called his mom on the phone to confirm it & she said yes.

On that basis I allowed him & as he was putting the computer back in his bag he said “Nothing passes through you guys“, meaning we are so tight that he cant even find a loophole, I just smiled & said “that  shows we are doing a great job as your parent

The last part of authority management I would mention is negotiation. We run our home like a government with constitutions, decrees, rules etc ( that is a post for another day) & negotiation is a major part of governance. My wife & I are not just a set of dictators over our kids, its not always my way or the high way.

As I highlighted earlier under knowledge management, we dont say “because I said so”, we explain things to our kids in age-appropriate ways to allow them develop their sense of reasoning & engagement in conversation.

Under authority management, they are allowed to negotiate their rewards or punishment as the case may be,they must bring up points to support their arguments either for or against. Of course they dont win all the time but it helps them develop negotiation skills.

Talent Management

At the start of this discussion, we defined management as the ability to discern the uniqueness of a child and to teach him or her accordingly. Our kids are unique & they are blessed with an abundant pool of talents & as parents our job is to help them refine those raw talents & thrive using them.

These talents, giftings, skills & abilities could be natural to them or could be developed.

I remembered growing up, I was groomed more as a book-worm, I wasn’t the athletic type. During break-time when my classmates were out running around, playing football, jumping, having fun, etc, I was inside doing my arithmetic & mathematics.

It paid off as I grew up with the love of numbers & ended up being an engineer, but I feel I left some other talents undeveloped.

I was very good at architectural drawings, drawing cartoon & comic book characters, I had the ear for sound & music, I could sing very well, I wanted to learn how to play the guitar ( my dad had an electric guitar in his room, but we couldn’t touch it) but my parents focused more on book related talents to ensure I got good grades & got a good job at the end of day.

My wife’s upbringing was slightly different, she was more athletic than I was. She was an all round athlete, she ran for her school ( cross-country, relays, etc), played handball, swam, & also learnt music & played the piano in additional to her studies. These were talents & skills that made her super attractive to me & the rest is history.

While dating we agreed that our kids were going to get the best of both of us. They will be both book-worms & athletes, they will have extra-curricular activities & develop other talent & skills to make them complete all round.

I had look at the educational systems of developed countries & realised that they incorporated both, students that were good at sports were allowed to thrive while ensuring they maintained a certain grade to guarantee scholarship or progression.

We will continue on this in my next post.

As a parent are you a good role model to your kids?

Are you managing them uniquely in required areas?

This is my snippet, I AM SHALOMESQ!!!

Cultivating Leadership skills in our kids IV

Kids

And just like that we are in the middle of August & the year 2017 is fast approaching the final bend to the home stretch.

I have been very busy over the last 3-4 weeks & hence my long silence as regards this series. Now things have simmered down a bit for me to make progress as we continue on our discuss.

I will like to thank everyone who has read my posts & made comments across the different platforms, you have all made my day & encouraged me to continue in this path & I am super grateful.

Now let’s add a couple more points to those earlier shared in this series.

My last post was about KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT in which I highlighted the need to cultivate a reading habit in our kids & how they can benefit from information we share with them in an age appropriate manner when they ask us questions as we gradually expose them to more information & to the information super-highway, THE INTERNET.

One side of knowledge management is  having a grip on what information they access or are exposed to, the other side is gauging what information have already filtered in from outside.

Your kids interact with a lot of people outside the home & no matter how much you try in protecting them, they still get information from others as well. You can gain access to that information by having ENGAGING CONVERSATION with your kids.

While my wife & I were dating, we spent a lot of time talking, we talked about our childhood, what we experienced growing up & the good things we will like to keep & transfer to our kids as well as the bad things that will not cross over to them.

One of the things we both agreed on was that we both did not like the way we were talked to as kids growing up & we decided that we were going to constantly talk to & treat our kids as adults by engaging them in conversations.

We dont talk down to our kids & we ensured that we explained things to them in age-appropriate ways instead of saying “Daddy or Mummy says so!” We had no scientific proof about this, but later discovered that engaging your kids in conversations was one of the ways of raising them smart & intelligent.

These conversations help us as parents to access those information that might have filtered into their minds outside our sphere of influence.

About 4 years ago, on our way to the barbing salon, my son asked me, “Dad can I ask a question”? Knowing that this was a chance to access his world, I say “Yes”, then he said “What does it mean if someone gives you a peck? I wasn’t too shocked, but then I probed further & discovered that he had helped a girl in school with her books & in saying thanks, the girl gave him a hug & a peck.

So I took the time to explain that it seems the girl liked him, further probe showed that this particular girl was our friend’s daughter & they get to see regularly in school as well as in church & they like each other.

I didn’t blow him away, I just explained that they are far too young for those kind of physical contacts & it will be nice to just limit it to handshakes. It also opened the door for us to talk about friendship & respect for the opposite sex.

He understood it, there was no damage to his self-esteem & this gave him more confident to come ask me more questions about other things.

As he is getting older, our talks are getting deeper as we talk about faith, spirituality, prayers, etc, imagine if I had blasted him away earlier.

About a few months ago, he came to ask me about speaking in tongues, because one of his Sunday school mates says he was speaking nonsense.  I opened the Bible to 1Cor14:2 & explained the scriptures to him on that topic & he got it.

Now as he is preparing for high school, we need to have THE SEX TALK & this will not be tough or embarrassing as we’ve been engaging in these conversations before.

In relating to leadership skills, these engaging conversations we have with our kids gives them the boldness & confidence to have engaging conversation with others.

Authority Management

This is a very controversial area & I will just give it as it is. There are a lot of aspects of authority management but primarily discipline is the anchor, others include respect for rules, understanding cause & effect,etc.

Two camps exists when it comes to discipline, some say “don’t spank your kids at all just talk to them”, others say “talking doesn’t work , you have to whip them into shape”.

We have discovered as parents that the best is the combination of both & the one to be administered depends on the severity of the situation.

Because we talk to our kids regularly & engage them in conversations, when they do something bad & we express that, they are sincerely sad about it & they come around to apologise & in that state we further engage them by asking questions like “Why is Mummy mad with you? Do you think this is right? What is the right thing to do? etc.

We fondly have this expression “DO THE RIGHT THING!!” as a safe guard for our kids to indicate that they are on the border line now & they should get themselves in the good zone quickly.

But there are days that just talking alone doesn’t work & MR. DO GOOD!! has to show up. Mr. Do Good is (Prov 22:15 & Prov 13:24) the rod of correction & everybody knows where it is kept.

This is an example, about 5 years ago my son was playing with the TV remote in his room while watching TV & I could hear him using the remote to hit stuff in his room. I went to him & told him not to that as the remote was not a toy & He said OK daddy & continued watching.

A few days latter, he did the same thing & this time around threw the remote at the TV & broke the screen, I was so annoyed &  told him to go get Mr. Do Good & he so got it on his hands & bum.

He was without a TV in his room for about 6 months & so much cherished the new one when I finally got it back in his room. Now he knows from experience that the remote is no toy.

One thing to note is this: Don’t spank your kids out of anger or in the heat of rage, It will defeat the purpose of correction. Let them still feel loved as you administer the punishment.

We will go further on this aspect in the next post.

How well are you managing the information flow to your kids?

What side of the discipline divide are you on?

This is my snippet, I AM SHALOMESQ!!!

 

Cultivating Leadership skills in our kids III

Kids

Hello family, I hope everyone is doing great today?

In my last post, I gave a tribute to the United States’ 241st independent celebration & a few of my Canadian friends thought I was partial…LOL!!

So happy 150th Canada Day to you guys, hope you had a blast on the 1st of July.

Now that I am at peace with my North American pals, lets continue on our new series “Cultivating leadership skills in our kids“, in my last post I talked about management & raised 2 points ( positional & chore management).

The main reason for these points was to ensure that we develop a sense of responsibility in our kids.

I got a feedback from one of my colleagues who didn’t feel a 100% convinced about the age-appropriate chores & felt “setting the table” was a bit difficult for a 2-3 year old considering that “they are not even tall enough to reach the table”.

Now my colleague’s point is valid, but remember that the essence of chores is to develop that sense of responsibility.

At 2 my daughter knew she had to set the table ( with the table mats), remove it after eating & put them in the right place for the next meal, she was small at the time, but she got help from her brother to do it & she knew that to be her job.

A similar thing was done in their school, I remember when they were in kindergarten, they were encouraged at the beginning of  each term to come with a flower or plant in a pot ( with their names on the pot), it was their job to water the plant every day & they got awards at the end of the term based on the state of their plants.

My kids were excited about it every term.

Talking about schools, I learnt that in Japan,children are in charge of cleaning their schools ( toilets, canteen, library, classes, etc), this action helps to develop in them the sense of responsibility & team work. I wasn’t surprised when a report came out about how the Japanese fans cleaned up after themselves during the 2014 FIFA World Cup hosted by Brazil, that sense of responsibility had become a habit & tradition for them.

Today, I will dive into another area of management, which is Knowledge Management.

Knowledge Management

A lot of parents in the 21st century are really concerned about the wave of information that is available out there & tend to shield their kids from it to the best of their ability.

I find this to be counter productive because one way or the other, these kids will learn about the same things from others & it might be with a tainted perspective.

I’ve discovered that its better for our kids to learn about such things from us ( delivered in an age-appropriate manner), than learning it from outside.

As we all know kids have very inquisitive minds, their minds are like a sponge ready to soak in & absolve a lot of things. One of the key things to cultivate at an early stage is their love for reading, this ties back to the first point of modelling as your kids will love to read if they see you reading & its fun to you.

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” -Margaret Fuller

My father had a library in the house when we were growing up, lots of encyclopedias, literature, history & music books while my mother had science, mathematics, puzzle, games, etc.

I grew up on Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, so I naturally developed that love for reading & today I have a whole room filled with all sorts of books & I still love reading like 3-4 different books at the same time.

It was natural for our kids to just copy the same thing, we kindled that love for reading by starting with bedtime stories before they sleep, there are a lot of good story books that helps & engages their imaginative minds & as parents we have to be ready to answer their questions. They will have a lot of questions.

There is that tendency as parents to shut them up, believe me I have had my share of that. When they ask WHY? instead of saying Because Daddy say’s so!! Try to explain it in a way that will keep their minds engage.

For example, my son asked this question about apples when he was about 4, he goes “Daddy why do I have to paint an apple green or red all the time?” I said “because apples are usually in those colours, some apples are green while others are red”, I thought that would end the discuss, but then he asked, how do we see colour?

As an engineer, I knew the technical way to explain this, but it will not make sense to a 4 year old, so I said “Do you know that the Rainbow has so many colours? He said yes, then I explain to him that light has so many colours like the rainbow & when it lands on an object, the object takes in all the colours & rejects one. The one it rejects is the colour we see on the object, so an apple absolves all the colours of light except green for some or red for others.

He understood it & was quick to rationalise it to other items in the house ( brown carpet, orange plate & fork), but after a few minutes he came back to ask about the colour white & black. So I explained that you will see the colour as white when the object rejects all the colours & black when the object takes in all the colours.

Give your kids access to books early & allow then to ask you questions.

Today my son has his library of books, he is on ” Big Nate & The diary of a wimpy kid series” by Jeff Kinney & the Tom Gates series by Liz Pichon, we ensured that he had a book as part of his birthday present & my wife shops for books on a regular basis for him to read during his summer break. My daughter is on Disney’s Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse & fairy tale stories & she will be picking up on her brother’s books as well.

As they grow older expose them to reading newspapers,solving puzzles, playing games like Chess or Monopoly, listening to the news ( both local & international, we do this every morning as I drive them to school) & ultimately the much dreaded INTERNET. 

I always let my kids know that there is a lot that Daddy & Mummy  knows but we don’t know everything, so when they come with tough questions, we say “This is a tough one, let’s learn about it together” & most of the time we go on Google & do a search.

As my son got older ( from about 8 years old), I allowed him access to the internet ( but using my account, so I can monitor everything) & this has opened up his mind much more. I recall when I got him a set of roller blades for Christmas about 2 years ago & he asked that I teach him how to use it. I said, “Daddy doesn’t know how to roller blade, but let’s check on YouTube & see what we can learn”.

We watched some videos together & then I left him to watch more in his room, about an hour later, my son was going up & down the house. A few weeks later he was stable & ready to go outside, now he is an expert & shows off to his friends in school.

That experience opened him up to possibilities beyond his imagination.

Remember children learn more from what they see than what they hear.

Are you restricting information from your kids?

How best are you cultivating their reading habits & inquisitive minds?

We will go deeper in Knowledge Management in the next post.

This is my snippet, I AM SHALOMESQ!!!

 

Leadership & Work Ethics – Part 6

leadership1

Happy New Month to everyone!!! Welcome to MARCH 2017!!! 

We’ve spent quite some time on this series & based on the feedback I’ve gotten from people across various platforms, its been worth it.

Today I will like to quickly look at leadership relationship as it concerns the concept of 360 degree leadership.

After looking at all of the 5 levels of leadership in previous posts, the concept of 360 degree leadership highlights the fact that you can lead from anywhere within an organisation. This concept was explain by John Maxwell in his book “The 360 Degree Leader” & I will just summarise it below.

360-degree

To be a 360 degree Leader, you must know how to:

  1. LEAD UP ( show leadership & influence to those above you)
  2. LEAD DOWN (show leadership & influence to those below  you)
  3. LEAD ACROSS (show leadership & influence to your peers)

LEAD UP

  • Lead yourself exceptionally well
  • Lighten your leader’s load
  • Be willing to do what others wont
  • Do more than manage – LEAD
  • Invest in relational chemistry
  • Be prepared every time you take your leader’s time
  • Know when to push & when to back off
  • Become a go-to-player ( Be a solution provider)
  • Be better tomorrow than you are today

LEAD DOWN

  • Walk slowly through the halls ( Be accessible)
  • See everyone as a “10” ( believe the best of people)
  • Develop each team member as a person.
  • Place people in their strength zone.
  • Model the behaviour you desire.
  • Transfer the vision.
  • Reward Results.

LEAD ACROSS

  • Understand, practice & complete the leadership loop (It’s a process & it takes time)
  • Complement fellow leaders & don’t compete
  • Be a friend
  • Avoid office politics ( Adding value should be your only political move)
  • Expand your circle of acquaintances
  • Let the best idea win ( look for WIN-WIN situations)
  • Don’t pretend you’re perfect

On a daily basis, I am constantly working to become a better all round ( 360 degree leader), based on these points and I try to learn from my everyday experience not just at work but in every situation I find myself.

Some days are easy & some are hard, there are days I lead up, down & across effectively & days I mess up totally, but one thing I always do is forgetting the past & pressing forward (Philippians 3:12-14 KJV). I have seen the positive results of being a 360 degree leader & it encourages me to push on.

The next & final post on this series will be looking at work ethics

Are you a leader? What is the level of your influence? Is your influence 360 degree all round? No matter where you are now, strive to move to the next level. There is much more to achieve!!

This is my snippet, I am SHALOMESQ!!!