Show Notes - Leadership is about endurance
Leadership - It’s About Endurance
Aired on A Journeyman’s Travels Podcast on May 5, 2023
These are the notes from which I recorded the show. They’re a little unpolished since the original audience was just me. But I’ve added some of the reference material that I allude to in the podcast and post it here, should anyone want to ‘see how the sausage is made’.
This season we’ve been talking about ‘First Principles’ or atomic units of reasoning about a concept. However, It would do our second topic this season to suggest that the four principles we’ve discussed cover everything in leadership. Frankly the topic is too fast for me to even approach covering to all in an hour of talking across 4 episodes. But if I had to pick one last principle to discuss with leadership it would be this: Leadership is about Endurance.
Endurance and Discipline
- Talked last time about Leadership - It’s about Systems, and how a Leader needed to build the ability for the team to act and decide even when the Leader isn’t present. That is, we are to build systems and patterns for consistent action and then stick with them!
- This Discipline is very closely related to Endurance.
- Discipline is doing this thing you don’t really want to do, so that you can do that thing you really want to do! Keeping the consistent, though momentarily unpleasant habit to keep you focused and growing. This is to Endure in some action.
- But Endurance is also maintaining the pressure , pushing towards a goal, even in the face of momentarily challenge or failure.
- And if you think about it, most of our ‘GREAT’ stories, actually start in a place of endurance. How many times did Edison fail, before finally making the Lightbulb?
- Washington didn’t lead the States to Independence in some Climactic victory, and instead favored Fabian tactics, enduring cold winters, and avoiding his opponent.
- Even Sun Tzu lauds the merits of patiently waiting out your enemy.
- But critically this endurance is NEVER idle! It’s not stationary rather it is the in the moment discipline to keep doing the right thing!
Endurance with People
- This applies to people as well. Recall Leadership - Not About You, but rather it is about the People you lead, so endurance in Leadership in some senses means Endurance with People too!
- People change slowly. We change a WHOLE lot over the first 20 or so years of life, and that rate slows dramatically after 25. So while we might teach them a new pattern today, expecting it to be perfectly applied tomorrow is foolish and sets the Leader up for great frustration.
- Rather we must look at it as a process. Not to say the good pattern once and assume it sunk in, rather to repeat ourselves time and again until our Team can predict what we’re going to say. Then they might start to understand and apply it. But for this to occur, the Leader must endure for months, or perhaps even years, to get there!
- Scale this up for an Organization full of many different kinds of people, under many different leaders, and with different , potentially conflicting desires. Organizations evolve even slower than individuals, because they are composed of many individuals, and until the overwhelming majority of people in an organization believe the same thing, the organization has little chance of change.
- Before going further, there is a corollary point I want to make. Endurance is continuing consistently in the right action. Consistency is Key! If the leader cannot be consistent with the pattern of decisions they make, and with the direction they are leading, the team cannot follow.
- I heard this put very well, first in a Sermon, by Tony Evans:
A Mist in the Pulpit, is a Fog in the Pews
- Tony Evans
- Put another way: 'Small vibrations at the leadership layer, are tidal ways and earthquakes for the Individual contributor. ’
- If you want the team to build momentum towards the goal, be consistent, disciplined, enduring in that goal, and in the principles that inform your decision making! The cannot easily follow a wavering guide!
Enduring for a Goal
- Speaking of a Goal, that too is critical to endurance and is the last point I want to make.
- In order to Endure, we must have a Goal to endure for!
- Endurance is build on Hope for a brighter future, and the faith that our actions can bring that brighter future to us.
- Without a Hoped-for-future, the discipline and sacrifices we make today are without purpose.
- With out that Hope-for-future, we have no goal to march towards, and therefore no way to be consistent in our marching!
- Lastly, without the faith that the world can be changed, that the Hope-for-future can be, the leader and their team has nothing to pursue, no reason to get up and create.
- In order for a team to pursue a goal effectively, the leader must be able to articulate it to them, and demonstrate the path to get there!
- Remember, Leadership - Not About You, but it is about how you LEAD the people. That core verb, to lead, is
to go ahead of, and show the way!
- You can only truly endure, if you have a purpose to endure for, without it, it’s not endurance, but rather going through the motions.
- See also On Endurance
- This season we’ve discussed several atomic principles for reasoning about Leadership.
- Firstly, Leadership isn’t about the Leader, but about their Team and the people whom they serve. This guides the kind of actions, and improvements which the Leader must pursue in them selves. Here we explored the very nature of Leadership and the meaning of the word.
- With that greater understanding, we discussed how Leadership must change how we thing about our time. Since it is about the team we are serving, the actions of the Leader can no longer be those of an Individual contributor. This would not serve the team. Rather it must be focused on identifying the goal to pursue, on building the ability of the team to pursue that goal, and communicating the same to the team!
- This lead to the idea of ‘Leadership’ being about the Systems the leader could build. And specifically about leading, even when the Leader is not in the room! This dealt in identifying the principles of decision making, delegating the authority and boundaries to act, and then building the team’s ability to see and pursue the goal!
- And we just ended with a reminder, that Leadership is about Endurance. Without consistency, the team cannot build the momentum they need to achieve the goal.
- The leader must be steadfast and disciplined in their decision making, and steady in their leadership. Doing the things we don’t really want to , so we can do the things we really want to!
- But bearing in mind that change in the organization, is predicated on change in the people. Enduring with the people, helping them to learn and grow, and not resenting the days of small beginnings, because people need time to grow, change, and improve.
- But all of Leadership , it’s very nature is to lead the way to a goal. In order to serve the team, we, the leader, must know the goal. Hold it fast in our minds, to guard our hoped-for-future, and our faith that we can make it so!
- Good Leadership is foundational to every element of success. I believe that with better principles, more people, and more companies can experience the kind of success worth repeating and living. But this comes first from a right understanding of the first principles of Leadership.
- Thank you for joining me this season on ‘A Journeyman’s Travels’ . Safe Voyage, fellow travelers. Gott mit uns!