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Higher Education

Five Landmarks of Leadership

Leadership

Throughout history, landmarks have been used to mark important places and events. They represent boundaries, victories, memories, histories, and discoveries.

Landmarks help you know where you are and remind you of where you (or others) have been. They serve as guideposts for future generations.

Ancient wisdom admonishes us to “remove not the ancient landmarks.”

Why is this?

Because if we remove them, we remove those boundaries, victories, memories, histories, and discoveries that will protect us, guide us, and give us wisdom.

If you have been to a historic location, for example, you would never know that anything significant happened there if it were not marked. But because it is, you pause, reflect, and learn. This does not mean that all landmarks represent good memories or favorable histories. It means there is something to be remembered – a valuable lesson to be learned – from their presence.

Do you have these important landmarks in your leadership?

  1. Boundaries
    An effective leader must have boundaries. What is your defined role? What are your values? What are your responsibilities? What are your goals?Answering these questions helps you set the landmark of your boundaries.

    Boundaries are important because they provide a perimeter of focus. They help you know where you “belong” and where you do not belong. They help you know when to say, “Yes” to an opportunity and when to say, “No.” They guard your character. They contain your energy, so you are operating at your best, with tight focus and high performance.

  2. Victories
    Landmarks mark victories, and victories are born of challenge. Thus, landmarks are symbolic of overcoming a challenge.Think back to the challenges you have faced in life and leadership. If you are like most, you will come to two conclusions: (1) They were some of the toughest times, and (2) They taught you some of your most important life and leadership lessons.

    Mark those victories. Remember what you faced and how you overcame the obstacles. Remember who helped you during those times. Use this landmark to prepare you for future challenges. Develop your strategy and support team now before the next challenge comes. Looking back to the landmark of victory equips and encourages you for the next challenge you will face.

  3. Memories
    What if you woke up tomorrow with no memory? That would be a tragic loss, to the level of losing your very identity.Similarly, it is a tragic loss when you forget the important events, people, and experiences in your life that helped to make you who you are.

    Take time to remember those who have made an impact on your life. If they are still alive, thank them. If not, share with someone a lesson you learned from that person. In doing so, you help carry their legacy forward.

    Memories can be good or bad, but they all work together to make us who we are. They serve as guideposts for what to do and what not to do in life.

    Take some time to write down the lessons you have learned from others and the experiences that have made you who you are. You are a unique collection of memories. Never forget. Always be thankful.

  4. Histories
    History is essentially the story of civilization. Woven across centuries, it ties the past to the present and provides guidance for the future. History is the foundation of the future.As a leader, it is good to reflect on the landmark of history.

    What went right? What went wrong? And how can we make it better in the future?

    The adage that “those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it” is true. You don’t have to make the mistakes of the past; but there is merit in learning from them. Before you move forward, check the historical landmark for perspective.

  5. Discoveries
    Many of the world’s greatest leaders were “discoverers.” They had a natural propensity for learning and exploring, for finding new and better ways to solve a problem or meet a need.Do you as a leader have landmarks of discovery?

    What solutions have you developed? What problems have you solved? What new possibilities have you unearthed? Do you value activity over discovery?

    Discovery is the creative and curious side of leadership, the landmark of significant growth and innovation. As a leader, and especially as a business leader, you cannot afford to lose this landmark.

Be a strong leader. Take time to visit these five landmarks regularly. Character, success, wisdom, identity, and innovation await you there.


Written by: Dave Ferguson.

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Dave Ferguson
Internationally respected and highly experienced executive leadership coach, speaker and author. Check Dave out at LivingToLead.com. Dave is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.
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