Tim Elmore’s Habitudes series has quickly become a go-to resource for many organizations, including professional sports and NCAA teams. Our current blogs are spotlighting lessons from this series. Our first four blogs were from his “Self-Leadership: The Art of Leading Yourself” book and his “For Personal Influence: The Art of Connecting with Others book.” Our final set of blogs is on his “For Life Giving Leaders: The Art of Transformational Leadership" series.
In our final blog of this series, we want to emphasize the impact a leader has on a team or organization. Leadership is a rewarding role, but it is also a huge responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Elmore uses the idea of fountains and drains to explain the impact of the leadership role. Fountains flow and overflow to others, while drains dry people up. Elmore discusses how fountains are visually appealing and similarly, “fountain leaders” typically draw people to them because of their optimism and energy. Drains, on the other hand, tend to be gross, and typically not an appealing attraction. “Drain leaders” zap you of your energy and most people tend to avoid them.
Elmore provides helpful suggestions to ensure you are a fountain, not a drain. He states that “team members who are fountains focus on gratitude for what they have. They never lose sight of what others have done for them…they are thankful for opportunities, mindful of helping people, and spill that gratitude and optimism onto others. Fountains are encouraging to other people and see all the possibilities ahead.” On the other hand, drains tend to “reflect on the past and have regrets for what might have been. They focus on missed opportunities or failures….they are consumed with fears, doubts, or shame.” These thoughts affect our behaviors and rather than motivating with gratitude, drains tend to motivate with guilt and are often discouraging.
Elmore further emphasizes the many benefits of gratitude and how the opposite, entitlement, can erode at our leadership abilities. Being deliberate about engaging in gratitude exercise, such as journaling, reading poems and quotes about gratitude, and using visual reminders, can improve our emotional and physical health, as well as make you a stronger leader!
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