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Find ACES – leaders who demonstrate enthusiasm and service.

Find ACES – Leaders who Demonstrate Enthusiasm and Service

Do you know how to find your ACES?

Those leaders who demonstrate…

  • Authenticity
  • Commitment
  • Enthusiasm
  • Service

Last week I talked about Authenticity and Commitment.

Let’s continue our dialogue about the Run Towards The Roar (RTTR) leadership model and examine the qualities of Enthusiasm and Service.

If you want to nurture great leaders, it’s vital that you understand these two character traits.

Enthusiasm: more than ‘coming in hot’

If you’ve been following the conversation about the RTTR ethos, you’ll know that enthusiasm – rooted in passion – is not some emotionally-charged high or a rush.

Genuine enthusiasm is an expression of passion and a sense of vision…

It works like a calling, an invitation to be part of something, not just a goal to achieve.

It is a vision, but it is also a destiny that you want to be able to end your life with your final breath saying, 

‘I have run my race. I have finished well – what a ride!’ 

So, how does enthusiasm work in your organization?

It inspires others because it is contagious. People who are inspired by your leader’s enthusiasm will…

  • Seek personal or professional growth
  • Raise the bar on their performance
  • Pursue excellence with grace

Enthusiasm endures short-term failures in an organization… enthusiastic leaders don’t only revel in success. They see every endeavour as a team effort and keep striving for improvement in the face of adversity. 

Lessons Learned From The Desert Oak And The Sequoia

Enthusiasm and encouragement won’t work in a vacuum.

It requires a community, a team, and a fellowship to have the kind of enthusiasm that is contagious. 

The story of the Desert Oak and the Sequoia.

The Desert Oak – native to Australia – has very deep roots to survive drought. Its needles drop to the ground creating a protective layer over its roots. The ground around it is inhospitable to nature’s intruders that can threaten its survival.

The California Sequoia has very shallow roots. If it’s not in a community of other trees, it takes the smallest wind to topple it. Many of them grow to over 240 feet…

…and yet they were falling over, seemingly at random.

Research revealed they needed a protective fence around them… foot traffic was damaging their shallow roots.

Lessons learned?

  • We all need to nourish ourselves, like the Desert Oak, to thrive in hostile environments.
  • We all need a sacred space around our root systems to survive.

How can you combine these concepts as an effective leader?

This quality of leadership is a Shepherd. They are the ones who show the way because they grow the way.

Enthusiasm: The Hot Water Teabag Test

Are you an enthusiastic leader?

Ask yourself these questions…

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What do you do to rekindle your passion? Passion is the fuel for thriving. Never mind resilience. It needs to be rekindled and refueled.
  • Who do you have as part of your sacred community, your huddle, who protect but also help with the next effort?
  • What do you do to grow deeper so that when those ‘dry times’ happen, you don’t lose your passion?

One option is to pursue a life of Service, which is the final quality in the ACES leadership model.

Service: a willingness to enrich others through your leadership actions

The final quality of an exceptional leader in the Run Towards The Roar (RTTR) model is Service…

I confess I’ve struggled with whether this quality should be Service, Servant, or even Servanthood.

Ultimately, it comes back to the quality of a willingness to serve others.

I like to frame Service as a contrast between “I have” and “I am.”

Here’s what I mean.

How many of your employees, when asked to pitch in, say, “That’s not in my job description.” Or, “That’s not my department.”

These are the employees living the “I have” culture of entitlement.

A true leader will jump at the chance to help… you’ll hear them say, “I’ll do that. It’s not a concern. I’ll look after it.”

It can be something mundane like sweeping up some dirt, picking up garbage on someone’s lawn, or offering to help a colleague with a project that’s overwhelming them.

These leaders lead by service – and no, they’re not running around trying to save everyone, but they are willing to roll up their sleeves and help when it’s required.

A servant leader will have these three characteristics. They will be…

1. Disciplined

They know how to budget their time, talents and treasures. They choose their causes wisely, honouring their values and morals.

2. Humble

Humility is often misinterpreted as weakness, but you don’t have to be a doormat to be approach leadership with a humble spirit.

3. Proactive

This is one of the most visible elements of service leadership – the tendency to reach out to people, anticipate needs, and take the initiative.

A word of caution to servant leaders

I see this in my practice all the time…

Leaders who are dedicated to service can suffer “compassion fatigue” and burnout.

The result? They end up becoming ineffective, unmotivated… and unfulfilled.

Tragically, they become seasonal servants. They serve for a season until they get burned out, too tired… and then they quit. Sadly, they get some energy back and then feel guilty for not doing something, it the cycle starts all over again.

Unfortunately, they try to serve as individuals, and their motives come across as selfish.

The passion is gone.

The Story of Unamuno

Unamuno, the Spanish philosopher, tells about the Roman aqueduct, built in 109 A.D. at Segovia in his native Spain. 

For eighteen hundred years, it carried cool water from the mountains to the hot and thirsty city. Nearly sixty generations of men drank from its flow. 

Then came another generation, a recent one, who said, “This aqueduct is so great a marvel that it ought to be preserved for our children, as a museum piece. We shall relieve it of its centuries-long labor.”

They did.

They laid modern iron pipes. They gave the ancient bricks and mortar a reverent rest. And the aqueduct began to fall apart. The sun beating on the dry mortar caused it to crumble. The bricks and stone sagged and threatened to fall. 

What ages of service could not destroy, idleness disintegrated.

This is a person who is not afraid to serve, transforming the conversation from ‘Not my job.’ to ‘Whatever it takes.’

Service: The Hot Water Teabag Test

Are you a service leader?

Ask yourself these questions…

  • When you see something that needs to be picked up, tidied, swept, do you…
    • Walk by and act like you didn’t see anything
    • Go get something to do something about it
    • Do you do something about it?
  • Does the phrase “All work and no play…” come to mind when you look in the mirror? Are you feeling dull? Where else do you offer your uniqueness to benefit others?
    • Do you serve others, even when there’s no benefit to your business?
    • Do you serve others, even when nobody is looking?
    • Do you serve others without realizing it’s what you’re doing?

Think about the ways you serve… in your business, your community, in your circle of friends and your family.

Enthusiasm and Service lead to exceptional leaders

If you’re a leader and you’re seeking potential leaders to mentor, finding the ACES in your midst will put you on the right path.

If you’re hoping to make a greater impact in your job and become a leader, you’d be wise to explore the concepts we’ve talked about over these past couple of weeks.

Would you like help finding or becoming a leader? Contact me, and we’ll get your leadership journey started.

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