Navigating the Path of Uncommon Leadership: Thoughts on Empathy, Purposeful Reflection, and Courage – Your Champions Brew

Purposeful reflection produces purposeful action, and purposeful action propels us toward uncommon performance.

Happy Friday, Brew Nation! 

Grab your favorite coffee cup, sit back, relax, and get ready to sip on some enriching and thought-provoking content that will equip you to thrive in all areas of your life:

  • Uncommon Leader Insights – I’m thrilled to unveil a new segment in the Champions Brew newsletter that brings you key takeaways from the remarkable guests featured on the Uncommon Leader Podcast!  I am your Friday Coffee Guy and also a podcast host, dedicated to providing you with valuable insights to fuel your personal and professional growth.

In episode 93 of The Uncommon Leader Podcast, I sat down with the ‘The Heart Leader’ – Geoffrey Roche. Here are my key takeaways and thoughts from our conversation:

Humility is at the ‘heart’ of empathetic leadership: At the heart of leadership lies the responsibility not just to lead but also to guide through turbulence. Geoffrey Roche shared a candid narrative about embracing a mistake and how it led to the triumph of an employee under his wing. It’s a vital testament to the idea that leaders must possess the humility to own their mistakes and have the wisdom to fix those mistakes.

Empathetic Leadership Goes a Long Way: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  A leader can be both empathetic AND hold others accountable.  Working with a team member to set clear goals and expectations, reviewing those goals on a periodic basis and providing support goes a long way.  Each time I sit down with a leader to coach them, I ask them three questions:  Since we last met, what has been your biggest win?  Your biggest challenge?  Is there a hot topic you want to discuss?  Inevitable, some of the challenges that pop up are not related to the work, but to life ‘distractions’ preventing an individual from investing the time they need to get work done.  It is important to listen to those distractions with empathy, but also remain clear on the goal or task at hand.  This is a delicate balance. 

Self-care is a must: This is an insight that I did not always practice self-care.  It took a health scare to shake me into the realization that if I were going to become the leader I wanted to be, I must first lead myself.  Luke 2:52 says “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.”  Self-care is not just physical.  It includes intellectual, physical, spiritual, and relational.  Don’t wait for a scare in one of these areas to get started!

Geoffrey’s s story provided invaluable insights about authentic connections, the heart of empathetic leadership, and the vitality of self-care for leaders. His personal tales, from watching his single mother achieve her nursing degree to mentoring emerging leaders, are bound to resonate with many of you. To gain further insights and listen to our captivating conversation in its entirety, click the link. While you’re there, why not subscribe to the Uncommon Leader Podcast? And if you enjoy the content, I’d greatly appreciate your support in leaving us a 5-star rating!

  • Purposeful Reflection Produces Purposeful Action – Tis the season when leaders embark on a journey of setting new goals for the upcoming year. As resolutions take shape, it’s crucial not to overlook the power of reflection. Self-reflection, the art of acknowledging victories and missteps, holds the key to personal growth.

During the cherished period between Christmas and New Year’s, I schedule time to review the past year’s performance across various aspects of my business and  life. I revisit my personal mission statement and I also assess the extent to which I achieved my goals from the previous year. I list what disciplines and actions I feel have done well on, and ones where I could have done better.

Armed with this information, I course correct by identifying what to Keep Doing, Start Doing, and Stop Doing in order to achieve personal growth in the coming year. Finally, I recognize the significance of accountability and share my findings with a trusted colleague, who will help me stay on track throughout the following year.

How about you? Do you have a formal review process in place? If you’re seeking guidance on conducting a purposeful self-assessment that captures the essence of your year, I have a concise one-page document designed to guide you through this invaluable process. Simply drop a note in the comments or send me an email with the title of your favorite Christmas movie (Mine is Home Alone – the first one!), and I’ll gladly share the document with you.

Remember, purposeful reflection produces purposeful action, and purposeful action propels us toward uncommon performance. Let’s be uncommon in 2024!

Are you aware that The Champions Brew explores various topics that I frequently coach and consult on with other leaders and organizations? If you or someone you know is seeking to elevate their business or personal life from underperforming to uncommon, I would love to connect with you and discuss 1:1 or group coaching, as well as performance consulting. In fact, click the following link to schedule a FREE CALL to explore how coaching could benefit you and your team. Let’s work together to unleash your full potential and achieve your goals!
  • Read More – We are working our way through The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, another John Maxwell classic sure to equip you and inspire you to uncommon leadership! I look forward to walking through it with you, Brew Nation!  This week, I will dive into Chapter 6.  I hope you have gotten a copy and are reading along with me.

Quality #6 – Courage

One Person With Courage is a Majority

“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do.  There can be no courage unless you are scared.” – Eddie Rickenbacker.  Eddie Rickenbacker epitomized courage.  He was a pilot in World War I that logged 300 combat hours, survived 134 aerial encounters with the enemy, claimed 26 kills, and earned the Medal of Honor and eight Distinguished Service Crosses.  Our country has survived because of courageous individuals like Eddie.

Does that mean that the only way to be identified as a person with courage is to put your life on the line for others?  I don’t think so. We all have fears in life.  The #1 fear identified for many individuals is the fear of public speaking.  Confidence is the belief you have in your abilities, but Courage requires action.  Courage is belief in your abilities and then DO-ing something about it.  Without action, there can be no courage.  As leaders, it’s important to recognize that positions of authority alone do not grant courage. Rather, it is courage that elevates a leader, giving them the ability to inspire and make a difference. By embodying courage, we create a ripple effect, empowering those around us to find their own bravery.

When faced with tough decisions, there are some truths about courage that Maxwell outlines that are important:

  1. Courage begins with an inward battle – Courage isn’t the absence of fear.  Rather, it’s doing what you’re afraid to do.
  2. Courage in a leader inspires commitment from followers – Billy Graham said, “Courage is contagious.  When a brave man stands (action!), the spines of others are stiffened.”
  3. Your life expands in proportion to your courage – Eleanor Roosevelt acknowledged, “You gain, strength, courage, and confidence by every experience (again, an action is required!) in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror.  I can take the next thing that comes along.’  You muse do the thing you think you cannot do.”

I love the story that John shared at the end of the chapter about nineteenth-century preacher Peter Cartwright who was warned that President Andrew Jackson was in attendance and to keep his remarks inoffensive.  During the message, he included these statements: “I have been told that Andrew Jackson is in the congregation, and I should guard my remarks.  What I must say is that Andrew Jackson will go to hell if he doesn’t repent of his sin.”  After the sermon, Jackson strode up to Cartwright and said, “Sir, if I had a regiment of men like you, I could whip the world.”

A courageous act often brings unexpected positive results.

Next week: Discernment

Quote of the week:    “What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” – Tim Ferriss

What You Need to Do:

Call to Action:  In 2024, how will YOU integrate reflection, empathy, and personal growth into your leadership approach to create eternal impact?

I want to wish each of you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!  It’s an honor to be your trusted “Friday Coffee Guy”.  Each week, I’m excited to provide yet another round of curated content that I’ve been reading, listening to, watching, or thinking over. The purpose of the Champions Brew is to inspire, equip and encourage you to become the uncommon leader you were designed to be. I am so grateful for your decision to invest a few moments with me! I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Champions Brew. If you did, I would appreciate it if you would share it with someone who might enjoy it as well and ask them to subscribe! I will make sure they automatically get this email every week.

Until next time, Go and Grow Champions!

P.S. – Are you a podcast fan?  Maybe the Uncommon Leader podcast is for you.    Are you interested in being a guest on the Uncommon Leader Podcast?  Do you have a story to tell?  Email me [email protected] and let’s have a chat and set something up!!


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To become Champion leader, we have to be on a continuous improvement journey for ourselves and others.  We have to be able to take advantage of the precious seconds that we have each day.  
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