Since starting her consultancy practice in 1980, Eileen McDargh has become known as a master facilitator, an award- winning author, and an internationally recognized keynoter and executive coach. She’s the author of seven books, including her latest, Your Resiliency GPS, A Guide for Growing Through Life & Work. Her book, Gifts from the Mountain, won the Ben Franklin Gold Award from which she produced an award-winning training film. Eileen writes articles for a curated web site as part of their “League of Extraordinary Thinkers.” In 2018 Gurus International, a British-based provider of resources for leadership, communication and sales training, also ranked her 3th of the World’s Top 30 COMMUNICATION Gurus following a global survey of 22,000 business professionals. Eileen is a certified speaking professional (CSP) and elected into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame. She’s also listed as a recommended expert through the Sloan Work and Family Research Network. Her most recent endeavor is a movement to improve public discourse. To this end, she and two colleagues have created a global outreach called True Leader Creed & Code of Conduct. You can read about it here: www.trueleadercreed.com
The old English teacher in me LOVES active verbs like “cracking”. It implies that one doesn’t suddenly “crack” the code and voila, the genie flies out of the bottle or the stone rolls away from the treasure. Rather, “cracking” demands constant work: revising, seeking, learning and practicing. And a CODE, as any mystery student knows, means looking for clues in unique places.
Move past the first dictionary definition of “leader” and you encounter deeper insights into the different roles that a leader can play. For example, the next definition is that a leader is the conductor of an orchestra. A great conductor knows the players, knows what instruments they play, and can figure out how to pull that orchestra together so the musicians have the same sheet of music and know when it is their turn to take the lead or to play harmony. How great a conductor can you be?
Another definition is that a leader is the foremost animal that is harnessed in a team. Don’t we want our leader to be harnessed with us? In the olden days of battle, the leader was the one who took the charge and headed into battle. He didn’t sit back barking orders and drinking brandy and tweeting out comments. But how often do we see people who have the title of “leader” but they let everyone else fight the battles? Can you start cracking the code by taking the lead and/or the “heat”
A leader is also defined as a duct for conveying warm air from a furnace. Don’t we want a leader who conveys the warmth of caring. Employees want to know that a leader cares for them, just like the duct that carries warmth.
A leader is also an economic indicator. A leader better be in command and know what the economic viability of the enterprise or the project is. Another definition that intrigues me (probably because my husband is a fisherman) is that a leader is a short length of gut or wire by which a hook is attached to a fishing line. And in days gone by, a leader was the blank piece of tape that wound around in an audio cassette until you got to the music!
Here’s the correlation: Take the notion of a piece of wire attached to a hook. A fishing leader strengthens the connection between the hook and the rest of the line. Aren’t there times when a leader’s presence helps solidify the relationship between the customer and the product. Certainly, you want the customer or client to be “hooked” into using the product or service. Or at other times, the leader paves the way—just like a leader on an audio cassette tape—for the full presentation to begin.
Cracking the code requires being fully present to what the team needs right now. Resilient leaders are adaptable, capable of understanding there are many ways to influence a team. Learning to use these seven different definitions can indeed release a genie of good fortune and an unmatched treasure of purpose, productivity and profit.