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Leadership Lessons from 2018



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I enjoy reflecting over the past year like many of you I am sure – either on New Year’s Eve Day or New Year’s Day itself.

As a Life and Leadership Coach, I help others navigate through harrowing experiences with leaders in their life arenas – in their careers, spouses, families, jobs, classes for further education, sports teams, associations, networking groups, or churches!

Leaders in our lives can sometimes be difficult to deal with instead of inspiring. We wish they would, in fact, LEAD and GUIDE us with dignity and humility – not adding to our stress load! Right?

So, here are a few concepts and leadership lessons I have learned from coaching others in 2018:

1. Leaders need to learn transparencyWe don’t mean that they need to throw up everything they are thinking to anyone at anytime; however, a level of self-representation with honesty and integrity is nice. We would like a sense of forthrightness of intent here. How refreshing true heart-filled transparency is, especially from our leaders!

2. Leaders are led not driven: In Ordering Your Private World by Gordon McDonald, the author develops the concept of being led, not driven. This involves the imbalanced attention to what goes on in our external, public world at the expense of our private, inner world. McDonald equips us to live life from the inside out, helping us to cultivate the inner victory necessary for public effectiveness. I have never forgotten this. I continually go back to this concept as a guiding principle for my own leadership. How much more we need this ingrained in our modus operandi as things get more and more complex!

3. Leaders strive to influence never controlThis is important these days as narcissistic traits run a muck. Yes, many leaders can be narcissists! (There are healthy narcissists, but that subject will require its own full article.) An influential leader desires to make an impact, but not by putting another human being under subjection. Influence develops potential, showing the path to greatness. Influence teaches, it doesn’t dominate or bypass another’s talents. Influence leverages others’ strengths to a mutually desired outcome (not pushing, but inviting…even beckoning!). Influence can sometimes be subtle, but you will usually be aware of its savory presence. Leaders who influence are a gift, but are sometimes unaware of who is really receiving it. They are too busy imparting to others than drawing attention to themselves.

4. Leaders seek to inspire, not beguile: The word “beguile” in our trusty dictionary means, “to influence by trickery, flattery, etc; mislead, delude; to charm or divert.” It also can mean by used as a synonym 1. Deceive, cheat. 3. Amuse, entertain.

I admit, I am cautious about leaders. It seems like we all are to a certain extent these days with trust being broken across the board in areas of national and international leadership (not just in politics!). It is no surprise we are seeing an obvious downturn of integrity, and yes, a lack of emphasis on character in our modern culture. Charisma and talent without character and principle lend themselves to become beguiling!

I am always warning folks to be careful of who they align with. Watch out for empty charm and over-promising “pitches” (think slimy snake-oil salesmen.) I advise folks to research companies and their CEO’s before committing to job offers or contracts for services. Google these potential leaders, check them out on Facebook and look for incongruities – look for their track record. I am serious! You might save yourself a world of hurt!

And, guess who I am increasingly called to coach? Leaders and potential leaders! And they are marvelous when they begin to learn similar lessons as stated above.

There is a trend among up and coming leaders to be transparent, to be led not driven, to be truly influential and not to control; to inspire, not beguile.

I say ‘‘Bravo!’’ to the young lions of leaders now emerging! Happy 2019 – a year to develop your own leadership skills, and to learn your own lessons!


Erin K. Garcia is a Master’s Level Splankna Practitioner as well as a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation. Erin brings Neuro-Performance and Leadership Coaching to the forefront in a day when people want to get to the root causes and hidden blocks keeping them from the successful outcomes they desire. Her book, The Real Skinny On My Anorexia, was released in 2016.


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