In 2003, Ken Blanchard and Marc Muchnick published a book called The Leadership Pill: The Missing Ingredient in Motivating People Today. The books cover says, “Learn the Prescription for Effective Leadership.” When I first heard about this book, the title gave me a good laugh because it made me think about how often folks want a quick and easy way to get what they want in life. A pill? Yup, that’ll solve my problems. Write me a prescription.
In our fast-paced, quick fix culture, the idea of investing our time, energy, and money in ourselves is often low on our priority lists. But it shouldn’t be. When you look at the biggest obstacle in achieving your goals, it’s almost always the person looking back at you in the mirror.
When you’re on an airplane, what does the flight attendant always say during the instructions? If there’s a loss in cabin pressure, whose mask are you supposed to put on first? Yours or your child’s? YOURS, right? Why? By putting your own mask on first, you’ll be alive to help your child, your friend, or your neighbor! Effective leaders work on themselves first and their people second.
Now don’t get me wrong. Being a servant leader is important. One of my favorite affirmations is “To serve is to lead. To lead is to serve.” In order to serve and lead to the best of our ability, we must first take care of ourselves.
What I love about The Leadership Pill is that the authors summarize how to be an effective leader in just 113 entertaining pages! They remind us that “Leadership is not something you do to people; it’s something you do with them.”
Of course, we all know that there’s no pill out there to make us better leaders. It’s a lifelong process that requires a continued commitment to our personal development and a belief that there’s always more to learn.
As 2010 comes to an end, think about what you’ve accomplished this year. Spend some time reflecting on these questions:
- Was 2010 my best year ever? Why or why not?
- If this wasn’t my best year, what can I do in the last 7 weeks of this year to finish the year on the right note and ensure that 2011 will be AWESOME?