Roger Fairhead Certificate JMT Certified

The toughest person to lead

The times they are a-changin’

I know now why I am overweight today, and the diagnosis shows that it is entirely due to an incurable medical problem that I can have no control over.  It turns out that I have an overactive knife and fork. 

When my mum was dating my dad she tells me that at social events anyone who didn’t enjoy a smoke was considered quite strange and really not socially engaged.  Today, however, that attitude seems to have been turned on its head.  It seems that smokers are considered outcasts, condemned to spend part of their lives outside in any and all weathers.

I have a confession to make: I was once a smoker.  Yes, I admit it.  “My name is Roger and I’m a smoker.”  Well, I’ve not had a smoke for a good many years and I consider myself a non-smoker now, but that would have been my confession back then.

When I was 10 years old it seemed like a grown up thing to do, and by the time I was a teenager pretty much all of my friends were smokers too.  That was until one day it became socially unacceptable.

I reckon that there is a time coming when being overweight will be as socially unacceptable as smoking has become, and I suspect that time isn’t too far away.

Leaders are expected to be above reproach, and we see far too many examples of people who were once respected leaders that have fallen from their place because they were “found out”.  One such leader that came up in discussion over this summer was compared to the widely publicised failure of the Tour-de-France winning cyclist Lance Armstrong when it finally came to light that he had been taking banned substances to enhance his sporting performance.

“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others, as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” 

~ Thomas J Watson.

People weren’t even willing to consider that it may be true: “surely it can’t be true for ‘him’ or ‘her’, I just can’t believe that”, and the result was a lot of pain, hurt, embarrassment and tears for all concerned. 

“When we are foolish, we want to conquer the world.  When we are wise we want to conquer ourselves.”  

~ John Maxwell

One observation I have heard is that sometimes people are condemned by todays standards for activities that were acceptable when they happened.  I was a smoker when “everyone” did it.  I am overweight today.

“Self leadership flourishes in the dark.” 

To be an effective leader means first being able to lead oneself, and leading oneself well means holding oneself to a higher standard of accountability, an accountability to tomorrow.  Furthermore, it means holding ourselves accountable to our observed actions, and not just our intentions.  This level of self leadership doesn’t just fall into place one day when we need it.  It only emerges in our lives when it is cultivated during the years of obscurity. Self leadership flourishes in the dark. 

To be above reproach tomorrow means that we are to hold ourselves to a higher standard today.  That which has “always been like that, and always will be”  won’t be.  So, perhaps we need to be farther above board than we think we need to be, and endeavour to be above what the standards of “decency” will be in years to come.

“When you see a good man, think of emulating him; when you see a bad man, examine your heart.” 

~ Chinese proverb

About Roger Fairhead

Roger is a Leadership specialist and uses the PRIZE Winning Leadership model to help leaders improve their effectiveness and that of their teams, through remote and on-site delivery of keynotes, group training events and individual coaching sessions.

He is the author of several books including "PRIZE Winning Leadership" and “Personal Productivity Planner”, a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a Director of the Global Leadership Network UK with extensive experience in Project Management and Sales.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Roger also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.