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“We must be silent before we can listen. We must listen before we can learn. We must learn before we can prepare. We must prepare before we can serve. We must serve before we can lead.”
– William Arthur Ward

This quote sums it up for me: becoming an effective leader of any kind starts with silence and comes full circle with service.

Many people think leading effectively means being up front, out-spoken, and in charge. And certainly, those are components of leadership, but we need look no further than the current President of the United States to recognize that they only are not enough for effective leadership.

We must add Transparency and Trust to the equation for any amount of up-front-ness, out-spoken-ness, or in-charge-ness to do anything other than create chaos.

All change involves some chaos, but utilizing the Ward “leadership circle” can help us find a calmer center when chaos swirls around us.

And it starts with Silence.

Silence opens your ears. This is why some people avoid it: they’re afraid of what they might hear.

If you do not take time to be alone, in silence—no radio on, no TV in the background, no phone in your hand—and use that time of silence to reflect and to listen to yourself, you will be less able to listen to others, as well as discern the sub-text to their communications.

Better self-understanding promotes other-understanding, enables better communication, and propels preparation for larger platforms, more responsibility, and increased influence.

Leadership isn’t a straight line, a ladder. That’s about position and altitude that is rooted in achievement.

No, leadership is a circle, a wheel, and it’s about perspective and attitude that is rooted in service.


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