Two news headlines recently got my attention.
First is the FTX crypto scandal. Second is the discovery of fraud by a newly elected legislator.
These men both forgot that authentic leadership can’t occur when corners are cut and character is sacrificed in the name of accomplishment, position or profit.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
How can we prevent it?
First, make sure you always have a small circle of confidantes. People who know you well and always tell you the truth. People who help you fulfill your calling with integrity.
Second, besides human confidantes, make sure you’re always accompanied by “character confidantes” – non-negotiable principles that guide your daily leadership life.
Today, I’d like to share three character confidantes – or companions – with you. Let’s call them the three amigos.
In concept, these are simple. In practice, they can be much more difficult. Leaders who keep them close will have the most impact over time.
Amigo #1 – Be Responsible
Responsibility has many facets. Today, keeping FTX in mind, I’d like to focus on the financial.
Here’s a simple question… how do you get rich?
Answer – spend less money than you make and do it for a long, long, long time.
That’s humorous, but it’s solid advice.
Some leaders rely on “swinging for the fence” financially. I love home runs, but if that’s your sole focus you’ll miss a lot of wins earned through good strategy, base hits and steady forward progress.
You’ll also expose yourself to a lot more risk, pressure and anxiety, which can make it tempting to cut corners.
Most top leaders have invested the time to master financial basics. Once mastered, home runs become really fun and genuinely celebrated, versus being something you rely upon for your very survival.
Amigo #2 – Be Honest
In today’s world, it’s easy to confuse image and reality. We often polish the outside and ignore the inside. Our recently elected official is an example of this.
That’s why it’s so refreshing to meet a leader who tells the truth, represents themselves and their organization accurately, and actually does what they say they are going to do.
Someone whose word is their bond. Someone who always “shoots straight” with you. Someone who communicates clearly and directly. Someone who’s honest even when it may not be in their best interest.
Are you that leader? You should be. Being disingenuous and leading with integrity are mutually exclusive.
Amigo #3 – Be Generous
Leaders who share are more aware. Awareness leads to impact by planting seeds with others for a better future.
Generosity has three components – your time, your talent, and your treasure.
Most people, I think, understand what it means to give of their time and/or talent. When we hear the word “treasure,” however, we usually think about money. For example, making a donation to our favorite charity.
And that’s important! But treasure is also what you’re uniquely blessed with that others can’t easily access. It could be a hobby, a place, a shared experience, a memory, or…
For me, my boat is such a place. I’ve found that many people have never been sailing, and I love sharing that experience with them.
What do you uniquely possess that you can share with others?
So – this week, don your sombrero and take a ride with the three amigos. You’ll blaze trails with them for a lifetime.
And speaking of sombreros – if you don’t get this week’s photo, Google “The Three Amigos” for a quick education.