Book Review: "Seven eLements of Leadership for a New Breed of Leader" by Michael A. Pitcher

Written in an engaging manner with lots of examples based around the Seven eLements of "Laugh, Learn, Listen, Language, Lagniappe, Legacy, Love" I took away a number of good points to consider, many of which were good reminders and some of which were good reinforcement of things I have already been doing.

My key takeaways:
  • General
    • Leadership = Influence. And you influence ALWAYS! If you’re in a position to influence the behaviour, thoughts, or feelings of others, then you’re in a leadership role.
    • Coaching is teaching a specific set of skills required for success in a specific situation. Mentoring is sharing wisdom so that the mentee has the opportunity to learn from the life experiences of the mentor.
  • Laugh
    • Authentic leaders show vulnerability and allow others to see their humanity. Laughter is the authenticity that opens the window so others can see inside. Laughter opens the door for meaningful conversations that create meaningful relationships.
    • Humour defuses conflict, reduces tension, and puts most people at ease.
  • Happiness
    • Happy employees create happy customers, and happy customers ensure happy shareholders.
    • When we are happy—when our mindset and mood are positive— we are smarter, more motivated, and thus, more successful.
      • One of the easiest ways to ensure a great start to any day or project is to focus on the last five minutes before you engage in the activity. 
        • For the business leader, this is the last five minutes of your trip to work each morning. 
        • For the athlete, it’s the last five minutes before going out on the practice field, and 
        • For the sales professional, this technique is a change to the last five minutes before you walk into a sales call. 
        • Change your channel.
      • During the last five minutes of your morning commute, or whatever important event you’re headed to, play whatever music you choose that rocks your world.
        • Even if you use your commute time as an educational opportunity with audiobooks, change your channel for the last five minutes. Music has the ability to change your mood, so why not choose to make your attitude upbeat and positive?
    • Ask yourself “What three things make me happy today?”
  • Learn
    • Questions to ask yourself: What did I learn last year? What will I learn this year? What new relationships did I build in the past year?
    • “If you are speaking, you are not learning.” There are many situations when it is best to listen and learn.
    • Experts agree that experiential learning is the most valuable form of education. The act of doing far outweighs any other form of learning.
    • Search “25 TED Talks That Will Make You a Better Leader.”
    • Learn to embrace change. Learn that your attitude is everything. Learn the importance of diversity.
    • It has been well documented that note-taking can increase your ability to retain information by up to 25 percent, and when you review your notes within twenty-four hours, retention increases even further.
  • Listen
    • “Diversity is not about race, or gender, or age. It’s about the diversity of life experiences that each of us has. We want and need diversity of life experiences to ensure that we make the best business decisions possible.
    • “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.”
  • Language
    • Using inclusive language is one of the most effective forms of communication for leaders.
    • The quickest way to earn the respect of your team is to show them respect. Both “please” and “thank you” quickly put you on that path.
    • Admitting you made a mistake is an opportunity to earn the respect of those you lead. This also provides you, as the leader, with the opportunity to role model the behaviour you expect from team members.
    • “What do you think?” is a question you should ask on a regular basis of people throughout your organisation. For those who make decisions based more on emotions than facts, the question is slightly modified: “How do you feel about this?”
  • Attitude
    • “Your attitude, not your aptitude, determines your altitude in life.”
    • Most people want to follow someone who sees some light at the end of the darkest tunnel. Leaders simply don’t quit.
    • In your role as a leader, your team wants you to have a positive attitude.
  • Lagniappe
    • “a little something extra!” That’s what great leaders do.
    • Recognition of the little wins, accompanied by the feeling of accomplishment, is the fuel that ignites the desire for greater achievement.
  • Legacy
    • Ask yourself "What will be your legacy?"
  • Love
    • When you truly love what you do, that love creates enthusiasm.
    • Time and familiarity can take a toll on your level of enthusiasm, but you are responsible for this emotion. Find something in your role or your vocation that excites you and lock into that opportunity.
      • What attributes of your work do you truly enjoy? Is there something about your current job that you could find passion in? What could spark a new level of enthusiasm or engagement? How can you make a new commitment to your work?

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