Teddy Roosevelt once quipped, “People ask the difference between a leader and a boss. The leader leads, and the boss drives.”
And if you ask Mike Henry Sr., founder of Lead Change Group, he might also point out that leading today means taking advantage of every means possible to direct, coach, encourage, and support your future leaders.
Roger: What’s the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
Mike: Fear and selfishness. The more we have, the easier we scare. There are constant pressures to protect ourselves – economic downturns, oil crises, safety issues – or our comfort, wealth, etc. We are tempted to hunker-down, mind our own business, or just get so busy we’re not open to anything else. We get tempted to simply live for our selves.
People-focused, values-based leadership is the opposite of fear and selfishness. Leaders want to expand their impact, not for personal benefit, but to make a difference. It takes courage to serve others and help them succeed.
Roger: Why your interest in virtual leadership development?
Mike: The world is becoming global and virtual. Up until recently, I could only expand my reach through extensive travel or print, audio and video broadcast technologies. Either option is expensive and time consuming. The Internet gives us a quick and inexpensive ability to connect globally. We are no longer limited to once-a-year seminars or waiting for traditional media products to hit the stores. Now, we can interact with each other and experience quality leadership development quickly and in real-time. Developing as a leader requires an iterative process of trial, result, evaluation and try again. Newer virtual tools enable quicker trial, feedback and correction loops. Using virtual tools, we can iterate through the trial-and-error growth process much quicker than ever before.
Roger: If someone is just getting started with leading virtually, where might they start?
Mike: If you want to grow as a leader and develop other leaders, begin to search the Internet for people who are doing the same thing and see what they are doing. One community of people who fit that category is the Lead Change Group. You can interact with us on the web at http://leadchangegroup.com or on LinkedIn at http://bit.ly/leadchange.
Many people are already using virtual tools and engaging with people around the world. Look for people talking about specific tools and topics on the Internet. You can find great advice on the tools by connecting with people like you at 1080 Group or by simply searching for different web technologies online. And you can connect with others by searching LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Most leadership development people using Twitter are open to contact. Follow them and ask them a question. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to interact with someone using these newer tools.
And, if you don’t have time for all of that effort right now, just reach out to friends who you haven’t interacted with in a long time. Try to connect or re-connect on Facebook or LinkedIn. Then, find out what they’re up to and how you can help. Most of us can use a little help. As you interact, you will begin to find ways to try new tools. Tony Robbins has said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten.” Change your routine and look for new ways to connect and share. The information and the opportunities are there if you look for them.