15 Adar B 5779 / Friday, March 22, 2019 | Torah Reading: Tzav
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Great Leadership in Five    

Great Leadership in Five

Whether you're an employer, supervisor, athletic coach, military commander or parent, good leadership qualities are a guarantee for success. Here's how in 5…


Try and remember the person who had the greatest influence on your life. Maybe it was a teacher, a relative, a grandparent, a spiritual guide, an athletic coach or a military commander. Notice that this particular person had certain qualities that you adored, even though he or she wasn't always easy on you. Let's reconstruct those qualities and put them down on paper:


1. You had no doubt that this person categorically cared about you and only wanted the best for you.


2. This person believed in you completely, even when you failed to believe in yourself.


3. This person always seemed to know how you feel.


4. This person was a great listener.


5. This person always saw your good points.


Amazingly, the above five points are a commendable definition for the word “compassion” --caring about others, wanting the best for them, believing in them, knowing how they feel and listening to them, homing in on their good points and therefore helping to maximize their potential.


The above five points are the key to success in any situation where one is required to supervise, activate, educate and/or train others, whether as an employer, a supervisor, an athletic coach, a military commander, or a parent. In any of these tasks, good leadership qualities are a guarantee for success.


Calm down, machos! Maybe you want to tell me that if you acted like that toward the soldiers under your command or your subordinates, there'd be no discipline. I vehemently disagree. There were tough, egocentric commanders all over the world who got killed from a rifle shot in the back of the head. Ask any Vietnam veteran. Yet, there were also compassionate–albeit necessarily tough– commanders who cared about each individual guy under his command. The rigid borders they established were for the sole purpose of saving lives.


I'll never forget my high-school wrestling coach, a Pennsylvania coal-miner's son who unsurprisingly went on to become a PhD in education and a Maryland State Wrestling Hall of Famer. He was ever so tough on us; he too delineated borders that no one dared to cross. He once threw the state champion off the team for being arrogant. More than moves on the mat, he taught us how to be winners in life.


I was an overweight kid with a history of asthma and not much of a physique. The coach overlooked all my drawbacks and homed in to the one gift Hashem gave me that few others had–unbelievable desire. The coach worked with me; I lost all my excess body weight and became slim as a lynx in less than a year. He believed in me and showed me how to make the very best of the tools that Hashem gave me. Plus, the lessons he taught helped me get through unspeakably trying times during my military career.


Most other coaches wouldn't have allowed a boy like me to try out for the team. Our coach was never blessed with children of his own; we were his sons.


Okay, it's your turn to be a great leader, great boss or great parent. Wouldn't you like your children or anyone else to say that you are the person who most greatly influenced their lives? That, cherished friends, is a testimony for posterity, where you really make your mark on the world.


Here's what to do:


Every day, review for five short minutes the following 5 points:


1. I must care about this person and only want the best for him or her.


2. I must have full belief in this person’s unique abilities and talents.


3. I must be very sensitive to the way this person feels.


4. I must be a good listener.


5. I must learn this person's good points and build on them. When doing so, the undesirable points will weaken, disappear or become irrelevant.


Charity starts at home. Apply the above five principles first of all to your children. Even if they're adults, it's never too late. Remember, truly great leaders are also great spouses and fantastic parents. May you enjoy much success and gratification!



* * *

We invite you to visit Rabbi Lazer Brody’s award-winning daily web journal Lazer Beams.

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