Leadership: It’s what you make of it!
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Leadership:  It’s what you make of it!

Submitted by Kay Rosenthal PhD RN and EPNRC volunteer

Naphtili Hoff shared the parable of the pencil-maker in his article Leadership: It’s what you make of it. When you think of leadership what do you think? As a leader do you see leadership as bossing the employees around or working with the employees as engaged team members? Do you see yourself as the only who knows the best action to take or do you get input from the employees? Do you lead from the top down or the bottom up? This parable is simple yet speaks volumes. I hope you will continue reading and review how you are as a leader.

“A parable is told about a pencil-maker who was preparing to put an important pencil in a box. Before doing so, though, he took the pencil aside. “There are five things you need to know,” he said. “If you can remember these five things, you will become the best pencil you can be.”

You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to in someone else’s hand.

  1.  Sharpening is painful, but it is critical if you want to write sharply.
  2. Since you have an eraser, you can correct most mistakes you make, though some may be harder to erase than others.
  3. Remember, it’s what’s inside that’s most important.
  4. Whatever surface you‘re on, make sure you leave your mark. No matter how hard, rough, or easy, you must continue to write.

This parable shares powerful lessons for every leader:

  1. Be humble. You can achieve greatness, but not when you go it alone. Allow yourself to be taught and coached by others and identify the strengths of those around you to help advance the cause.
  2. Stay sharp. Strong leaders find ways to keep learning and sharpening their skills. Feedback can be painful at times, but without it, you will become dull.
  3. Accept mistakes. We all err. Though mistakes may make for challenging moments, they are ultimately part of a process of becoming a better leader. Embrace your mistakes as opportunities to learn, erase, and become better! As John Maxwell once said, “A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.”
  4. Your best is what’s inside you. You may be good-looking, dress well, and have a great personality. But what makes you who you are and the person with whom others want to connect is your character. Seek to continually grow and refine your character so that you can lead and serve with utmost integrity.
  5. Stick with it. There will be times when you think that you’re making no imprint and that your actions are not having an effect. But people will still depend on you, so you need to keep on going. Hold to your vision and your dreams, even when it seems they have dimmed.


In a 1913 address to students at Swarthmore College, Woodrow Wilson said, ‘You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.’”

Go out and enrich the world. We need leaders with this perspective!

For the full article please visit the source:  http://smartbrief.com/original/2017/07/leadership-its-what-you-make-it?utm_source=brief

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