The word recently paid homage to George H.W. Bush. The testimonials were almost universally respectful, kind, thoughtful and emphasized how President Bush’s life was one of service and compassion. There seems to be an acceptance that he was a great leader and man. He was authentic, cared deeply about others and used his considerable wealth and influence to make the world a better place. Politics aside, there is a lesson in leadership not to be ignored.
All of us has either worked for or known a leader that was/is the total opposite of Mr. Bush. They may enjoy success in the short term. Some have achieved acclaim and great wealth. When they pass away or are fired by their Board of Directors, we do not celebrate their life or career. It's not a Christian response, it is a human reaction. The person was a jerk, ran over people, showed a lack of empathy and was likely not liked or respected by their employees or peers.
That is sad. We have read that upon our deathbed, we care little for fame and fortune. We are remorseful for not having spent quality time with loved ones, and for caring for others less fortunate. Google some of the better-known entrepreneurs and read their thoughts when they were near death.
How then can we as leaders make a positive change and impact on our world? As with almost all bad habits, admit that you need to change. Talk with your mentor, Pastor/Priest/Rabbi, and spouse. What is their view of your reputation? Ouch! Your reputation is how others see you. Your character is how you behave when nobody is looking. How do you want to be perceived?
Is there a secret to success and happiness? Humans are goal-seekers by nature. Your fulfillment comes when you are working toward the accomplishment of your goals. You will be most alive, that is, most passionate, enthusiastic, and inspired when your goals are a stretch to what you know for certain you can achieve.
Behavioral scientists agree that few people ever utilize more than a fraction of their potential. A critical component of leadership success is a balance. It is harder to be successful in your professional life if your personal life is in shambles and vice versa.
As a coach, I encourage my clients to look at their life holistically, giving balanced attention to all aspects. Experience true fulfillment and live your life in harmony.
80 to 100 hour work weeks? I think not.