Listed below are The Quintessential Leader’s recommendations for articles that all of us quintessential leaders should read and think about this week.

A note about these article recommendations. I am very careful in selecting these and their inclusion here means that I agree with the premise and gist of the article, not necessarily with every single thing that the writer says. 

That’s the purpose of reading and critically thinking. Reading should ignite our thinking and it should cause us to process, weigh, question, answer, accept and reject. I believe that the reasons why groupthink is so prevalent everywhere in society today are because:

(a) most people don’t read substantively

(b) most people have stopped – if they ever knew how – critically thinking about everything

(c) most people have been subtly conditioned to not question anything and everything for its truthfulness and accuracy

(d) most people have not developed an internal database of truth to find answers in (they depend on others to tell them what truth is)

(e) most people don’t have a clue how to accept or reject information coming at them, so everything comes in and stays (and creates confusion). 

Quintessential Leadership is About Breaking ThingsThis quote from “Leadership is About Breaking Things” by Michael Myatt sums up one of the hallmark differences between quintessential leadership and unquintessential leadership: “If you’re more interested in protecting what is than you are finding the answer to what if  you might be in a leadership role, but you’re likely not leading well. Order isn’t all it’s cracked-up to be. In fact, I’d go so far as to say routine is the great enemy of leaders. Conformity to the norm does little more than pour the foundation of obsolescence by creating an environment that shuns change rather than embraces it. Disruption is never found by maintaining the status quo, but it’s most commonly revealed in the chaos that occurs by shattering the status quo. Smart leaders don’t think ‘best’ practices – they focus their attention on discovering ‘next’ practices. The simple fact of the matter is too many leaders are concerned with fixing things, when what they should be doing is breaking things.” 

Note that it is things quintessential leaders break, not people. Unquintessential leaders desperately maintain the status quo and spend all their time and energy on breaking people into yielding and submitting to ways of doing things that often are archaic, inefficient, ineffective, inexplicable, and weren’t even good or right to begin with. 

As quintessential leaders, we must never fall into the trap of “that’s the way we’ve always done it, so that’s the way we’ll continue to do it.” Quintessential leaders know why they’re doing everything and are able to, in their own words, explain, quantify, and show the tangible results – honestly and authentically (no dog-and-pony shows and no smoke and mirrors)- to anyone and everyone.

Quintessential leaders are forward-looking and forward-moving. They never rest on their laurels and they never stop asking “why” and “how.” Quintessential leadership is never static, but instead it is always dynamically improving.

In “Why Leaders Must ‘Get Real’ – 5 Ways to Unlock Authentic Leadership,” by Margie Warrell, the link between authenticity and quintessential leadership is summed up in five key areas where we must be “real.” 

While Guari Sharma’s article, “How to Grow a Small Team: Nine Best Hiring Practices,” focuses on building small teams in a start-up environment, these nine best hiring practices should be part of the way we as quintessential leaders hire.

I am always surprised at how little effort can sometimes be expended in the hiring process as well as how little potential employers think outside of the box with regard to hiring and then the moaning and groaning that comes when the new hires are, at best, mediocre, in key areas of their responsibilities, or, at worst, abysmally poor in all areas of their responsibilities, initiating the 90-day “let’s find a way to get rid of them while we can” probational period that most jobs now have attached to them.

Quintessential leaders are high-level and performance-oriented teambuilders. We understand that investing well and at a high time (and perhaps monetary) cost up front will pay off for everyone involved. Too many people in leadership positions have no long-term and big-picture vision for themselves, their teams, and their organizations, so they hire randomly and sloppily and everyone suffers in terms of progress, success, and profits.

In Dan Rockwell’s, “The Surprising Path to the Top,” the quintessential leadership trait of growing others is discussed. Quintessential leaders are always growing other people in their lives, not just their team members. That is an intrinsic part of who quintessential leaders are. Because quintessential leaders are big-picture thinkers, we realize that helping everyone we have the opportunity to help grow in whatever forms that takes is part of our responsibilities and legacies. 

The reality is that the only thing we take out of this temporary, physical life is our character and the net results of our relationships with God and others. Quintessential leaders take this knowledge to heart and that is where the focus of every aspect of our lives is. And that is why we are always growing others where we are able. We understand it’s never all about “me.”

We understand that our lives and the gifts we’ve been given didn’t originate with us and are not ours to use selfishly. Power and pride and money are never part of the equation. We want financial security, but we will not sell our souls or throw others under the bus time and again to get and keep it. We value integrity, truth, and honesty more highly than anything else in the world. And sometimes that means we take – and they can be big – physical losses and hits. Sometimes we recover and sometimes we don’t on a physical level. But a character loss and hit, while theoretically recoverable, is something we’re not willing to take, because that destroys everything in terms of trust and trustworthiness

This quote from “The Single Greatest Secret of Leadership – Fail Up” by Daniel K. Williams illustrates how quintessential leaders approach failures (their own and those of others): “As leaders, we serve our employees best by not focusing attention on their weaknesses and mistakes. Instead we should encourage them to navigate through challenges on their journey. We can help by asking questions like ‘How do you learn best?’ ‘What could you do better?’ or ‘How can the team better support you in the future?’

The most important thing is to strive to move forward continually. Some days we make great progress in some areas; other days we seem to slide a bit. If we were to chart our progress on a board, it has ups and downs, but overall it should move upward as we live and learn from our mistakes and failures.

Peaks and Valleys of LifeQuintessential leaders understand that this thing called life, which includes our work, is never a straight line, but a series of mountains and valleys that represent our successes and our failures. However, it should be through our failures that we find the greatest opportunities to grow, to change, to move forward, or as Williams puts it “to fail up.”

Quintessential leaders seize those opportunities and do that, not just with themselves, but with everyone on all the teams they lead in life.

May we continue along the quintessential leader path, navigating the mountains and valleys with equanimity and courage, growing ourselves and growing others along the way.

We are in the middle of an incredible process that begins with who we are internally on a foundational level, proceeds with wisdom, knowledge, and application (growth), and results in not only our quintessential leadership being perfected, but also planted and cultivated in everyone with whom our lives intersects.

  1. ccbible11 says:

    Reblogged this on Concretized Christianity and commented:
    From my Quintessential Leadership blog. A lot of spiritual principles discussed here.


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