As 2019 comes to a close, I have been reflecting on this past year. There are so many things I am grateful for: my family and friends, starting the Shawn Welch Company, and this blog, Your Leadership Coach.
It’s hard to believe that 11 months ago we launched this leadership development blog and since the very first post back in February, I have been blown away at the response. There are so many aspiring leaders who are yearning to grow and take their leadership development to the next level.
As the sun is setting on 2019 and we will soon ring in the new year, I want to celebrate this inaugural season of Your Leadership Coach by counting down our top 10 posts of the year.
Public speaking is one of the top 3 fears that Americans have, and I can relate to that fear. I’ve been speaking in public for 20 years and I’m sure I’ve given well over 100 speeches since then. I still get nervous before going on stage, but over the years I have developed some tips and tools that have helped me become a better public speaker. You can watch that video here.
Every year I choose one word that serves not as a replacement to my goals, but as a complement to them. This word becomes my theme for the year and provides vision, direction, and focus. Here’s my word for 2019.
Many people ask me if they have what it takes to be a leader. That’s a good question, but the better one to ask is “Can anyone be a leader?” In this training session, I answer that question and discuss why I know you have what it takes to be a leader even though I have never met you. You can watch that video here.
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – President Harry S. Truman. Effective leaders read and they read often. Over the last few years, I have become a more avid reader and I share some of the books that have significantly shaped and influenced my leadership. It’s my hope that these books will aid in your leadership development as they have mine. You can watch that video here.
I know many aspiring leaders who want to become more avid readers but there are so many leadership books out there and they don’t know where to begin. In this book recommendation series, I share numbers 3-5 of my top 10 leadership books of all time. You can watch that video here.
What is one leadership skill that you feel is very underrated? Be thinking about that…we’ll come back to it in a moment, because I’d love to hear what you think.
In this leadership training session, I share my thoughts on one of the most underrated leadership skills. One that is often overlooked, but incredibly powerful when developed and utilized. And I learned more about it by reading Bob Tiede’s newest book, “Now That’s a Great Question”
Are you a benevolent dictator? Are you likable and kind, but making things all about you?
Great leaders ask questions. This helps your team think for themselves instead of relying on your opinion all the time. And that produces great results in the long run.
A few favorite quotes:
“Bob’s 4 most favorite questions: What do you think? What else? What else? What else?”
“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” -David Augsburger
Great leaders build influence through relationships.
What is one leadership skill that you feel is very underrated? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or join the conversation on social media. You can find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook & Instagram.
A few years back, I was given a challenge to read less books on leadership and more true stories about leaders. I took that challenge, and started reading more biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Over the last several years, I’ve read a number of outstanding books that tell the real-life stories of leaders I’ve looked up to.
Last session, I started sharing my top non-fiction “story” books. And today, I’m continuing the list. Here are three more of my favorites:
Book #3: The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
This book is the true story of nine Americans and their epic quest to win a gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics in the sport of rowing.
Their story shows how determination, hard work, and even pain can create joy, camaraderie, and help you accomplish your most significant goals.
I love this quote: “It was when he tried to talk about “the boat” that his words began to falter and tears welled up in his bright eyes…Finally, watching Joe struggle for composure over and over, I realized that “the boat” was something more than just the shell or it’s crew. To Joe…it was a shared experience–a singular thing that had unfolded in a golden sliver of time long gone, when nine good-hearted young men strove together, pulled together as one, gave everything they had for one another, bound together forever by pride and respect and love.”
Book #4: Just As I Am Billy Graham
Whether you are religious or not, there is no denying that Billy Graham is one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He is what I call a leader’s leader. He personally met every President from Truman to Obama and was a friend and mentor to many of them.
One of my favorite quotes: “True greatness is not measured by the headlines a person commands or the wealth he or she accumulates. The inner character of a person—the undergirding moral and spiritual values and commitments—is the true measure of lasting greatness.”
Book #5: Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees and Chris Fabry
This book is a great insight into the life of one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL and even better men. He’s been counted out most of his life, and overcame many obstacles to lead the Saints to their first Super Bowl, becoming one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.
A quote from Drew: “I’ve learned that adversity is actually an opportunity. It’s a gift, though it may not look like it in the moment. The difficulties life throws at you can be a doorway to something better—something you hadn’t even dreamed possible.”
Here’s today’s game plan – we’re going to put this leadership training session into practice:
Name 5 influential people whether past or present.
Find an autobiography or biography of that person and read it.
Once you’ve read it, think back: what were the key leadership principles or core values that they lived by?
Leaders and successful people read and they read often. That’s why, from time to time, I like to share some of my top books of all time. Because I want to encourage you to read. It will make you a better leader.
In previous leadership training sessions (which I’ve linked below in the Resources section), I shared my top 10 leadership books of all time.
A few years ago, I was challenged to read less books on leadership and more biographies. This challenge called me to see that there is something beneficial about not just hearing about leadership principles but seeing them lived out in a person’s life.
Today, I’m sharing my top 5 non-fiction “story” books. When I say non-fiction “story” books, I’m referring to autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, etc. Books about true stories and events. Here are the first two of my favorite non-fiction “story” books:
Book #1: Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
This book is written from interviews of survivors of the war and soldier’s journals and letters, later made into a miniseries by Steven Spielberg. The story follows Dick Winters who was promoted up the ranks, and won the hearts of his men by a “follow me” leadership style.
It is a sobering picture of the brutality of war. The book also shows what camaraderie, bravery, and leadership look like under stress.
Book #2: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Henry Ketcham
Abraham Lincoln consistently ranks as one of the top rated presidents of all time. This book is a biography studying his life and leadership, which all leaders could benefit from.
Lincoln’s leadership in crisis is well-documented, but his life was not without failure, mistakes and adversity. This makes him an excellent example of how to lead through those times of trial.
A great quote: “The times are too grave and perilous for ambitious schemes and rivalries.” To all who were associated with him (Lincoln) in the government, he said, “Let us forget ourselves and join hands, like brothers, to save the republic. If we succeed, there will be glory enough for all.”
What was the last non-fiction story book you read? What do you remember about it? What leadership lessons can you learn from it?
Take some time to think through these questions. If you’re a journaler, take a moment to jot down some thoughts. However works best for you, find a way to record the leadership lessons you’ve learned from someone else’s real life. It is impactful in many ways, and you may be reminded of something you haven’t thought of in awhile.