Posts tagged " leadership "

Say Little and Lead Much

March 21st, 2017 Posted by Thought Tools 20 comments

Leaders enjoy many benefits.  People seen as leaders get promoted and opportunities come their way.  Parents whose children respect them as leaders have more functional families.   But how do you begin the process of getting others to see you as a leader?

We have all seen leadership in action.  Perhaps one participant at a meeting emerges as the clear leader of the group.  Or people listen more attentively to one person than to another.  Groups coalesce around the one individual who is regarded as more authoritative than anyone else.

I’m sure you’ve seen parents who enjoy such excellent rapport with their children that obedience is almost automatic.  It is clear that the children view the parents as leaders.  Authentic leadership skills that are effective in a work environment are also effective in a family or social environment.  We just need to know what these skills are.


Auf Wiedersehen, Deutschland

January 13th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Have you ever found yourself pursuing a self-destructive course of action as if propelled by some invisible malignant force? Maybe it was an out of control shopping spree you could ill afford. Or perhaps you lost your temper with a child, threatening draconian penalties that you could never enforce. What of the business professional focused on his needless lawsuit who is more concerned with dominating his foe than in the welfare of his company and its people? What demented determination drives us to follow harmful paths?

You might well ask the same question to the governments of the United Kingdom, Sweden and Germany, to name just three of many European countries that have relentlessly increased the number of disaffected young Muslim men within their borders. Despite colossal increases in the rates of muggings and murders, rapes, robberies and riots, not to mention terrorism committed disproportionately by Moslem migrants, the respective governments strenuously cling to the policies that brought their countries to the very edge of calamity. What mad mood suffuses these governments to make them destroy their societies and ignore their citizens’ best interests? (more…)

Lions and Foxes and Me, Oh My

May 4th, 2010 Posted by Thought Tools 1 comment

  Has anyone ever asked you whether you are more a cat or a dog person?  Before you answer, think about this: Members of the cat family, including lions, often carry their tails high.


Most times, members of the dog family, including foxes, hunt with their noses close to the ground as they follow a scent.  So lions generally raise their tails, while foxes lower their heads.

These are not merely idle observations about animals from a rabbi who enjoys Animal Planet and National Geographic shows about God’s amazing creatures.  No, they help explain a famous aphorism from ancient Jewish wisdom, “Become a tail to lions rather than a head to foxes.”


In other words, we can attach ourselves to people who make us feel as if we are their heads.  They flatter us by asking our opinions, emulate us and make us feel important.  However, standing at their head still barely raises us above ground level. Inevitably, they keep us down.  Our association with such ‘fox-like’ people tends to reduce rather than elevate us.


On the other hand, there are others who offer us an opportunity to serve them.  They don’t call us “boss”—instead they issue directives.  Rather than flattering us, they tell us the truth and correct our mistakes.  In the end, these ‘lion-like’ people raise us up.


Remember when along with a gas fill-up, an enthusiastic young person offered to check your oil and clean your windshield?  One particular gas station always had lines of eager customers because its attendants took really good care of visiting motorists.


Its owner was known to pay the lowest wages around.  He also had the highest employee turnover.  Why did his young employees provide such exemplary service?


It turns out that the canny owner gave the following speech to all his new hires.


“I won’t be paying you much but this is the best first job you could ever have.

If you do well, you won’t be here long.  Do what I say and I guarantee that you

will soon start receiving job proposals paying far more than I’m offering. 

Take one of those jobs. You will have earned it.”


He explained that successful business owners actively look for good employees.  They are alert and aware that someone who makes a good impression greeting customers, pumping gas and cleaning bugs off windshields, can probably do a whole lot more than that.


The gas station owner never lacked for new employees eager to climb onto his career escalator.  The enterprising motorists who hired away his people found employees willing to start at the bottom and work hard to move up.  The young people learned vital work skills while making important connections. A good deal all around.


These young high school kids could have ended up in first jobs with ordinary bosses who saw them as unimportant, indistinguishable low wage earners.  Instead they lucked into becoming tails to a lion.


In chapter 27 of the Biblical book of Numbers, God informs Moses that his time on this earth is coming to an end.  Moses responds by expressing the concern that Israel not be ‘like sheep without a shepherd’ and asking God to appoint his replacement. 


Who might this replacement be?  After all, the Israelites had prestigious heads of tribes. They had prominent princes.  There were priests, judges, and other leaders. Moses himself had two sons. Surely one of these high ranking eminences was to become his successor?


Yet the Lord said:


Take Joshua…a man in whom there is the spirit…

 (Numbers 27:18)


Who was Joshua?  He was Moses’ attendant.  Yet Moses was a lion and through serving him, Joshua learned, grew, and became the man who led Israel into the Promised Land.










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