It is the eleventh hour and time is running out on a project/proposal deadline. The project, in the works for several weeks, has been plagued by setbacks. With a few days left to hammer away, your team is worn down. They have prematurely surrendered to the notion that making the deadline is impossible, and what energy they do have is going into figuring out how to skate past the established by-when, without burying themselves, and participating in a bit of "buck passing". Does this sound familiar?

Each of us has been there at some point before. So what is there to learn from these experiences, and how can you avoid having a totally stopped team in the future?

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[Forgiveness is] a deliberate act on our part. Revenge evens the score; forgiveness wins the game."

—Family Walk

Forgive Blue MarkerEspecially for leaders, forgiveness and the ability to forgive on their feet is absolutely essential. They have to forgive in the moment when someone does or says something that offends or hurts them; forgive when someone fails to be their word or messes up on the job, and most importantly leaders have to forgive themselves! Forgiveness is crucial to not wasting precious time or energy being resentful or resisting the urge to not trust and do it all yourself, again. And there is always a lot of forgiving that needs to be done!

Forgiveness is about regaining your power. That’s right! As long as you are resentful, the person or circumstance that you are resentful of, or you are beating yourself up over, has power over you; you become a captive rather than the leader you are designated to be! When you forgive, you reestablish control over your life and reclaim your personal power. You give up the stress that carrying resentment or hurt creates, and you give yourself an immediate benefit of stress relief.

You can make the choice to forgive even in the face of your feelings, including your fears. Forgiveness means you are willing to be vulnerable again… to take the risk... and give up being a victim, to stop beating yourself or others up, and give up being right.

Forgiving on your feet takes practice.

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The Definition of Integrity is:
Doing what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it.

In other words, integrity is keeping your promises.

As a leader, being in integrity with your word is absolutely crucial to your ability to successfully lead and mentor your team. No matter who you are or where you are from: world leader, boss, employee, child, Mom, or Dad, integrity matters; what you say matters, and who you are being when you are doing what you are doing matters!

After all, given the fact that we lead and teach those around us by example, what are we teaching when we aren’t our word? What are we teaching if we occur as if integrity doesn’t matter?

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Hiking people reaching summit top giving high five at mountain tAfter reading Part 1 of Effortless Leadership – Cultivating a Culture of Confidence and Success, leadership is clearly anything but effortless! In the midst of all that you as a leader are responsible for accomplishing, being a visionary, communicator, and teacher can be difficult. Yet, without being a visionary, communicator and teacher, accomplishing all you need to accomplish would be difficult to do too!

So, when you think about being a visionary, communicator and teacher, what do all three of these traits have in common? All three traits empower your team members!

Ultimately, having team members who are empowered to act in your behalf, in the best interests of your company, and to the best of their abilities allows you to "effortlessly" lead your company through what's next.

What other traits are necessary for seemingly Effortless Leadership?

Team Builder
The Effortless Leader must be a masterful team builder. They think and speak in terms of "we", not "I." When you speak in terms of "we" you create a culture whereby every member of the team is responsible for their actions; what each team member does or does not do has a direct impact on the rest of the team and their effectiveness. Thinking and speaking in terms of "we" also let's your team members know that you are a part of their team, that you value them as team members, and that success is not something that just you will be acknowledged for. Instead, ultimately the team as a whole gets credit for their success!

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business celebration for good teamwork with high fiveLeadership is a quality that often isn't even talked about until it is seen as missing, when a plan goes awry, or a team falls in a mess of miscommunication and broken promises. So what is it about the leader who successfully leads his or her team with seemingly effortless ease?

The "Effortless" Leader cultivates a culture of confidence and success within his or her company, and they don't do so by wielding a hypothetical sword. They cultivate confidence and success through vision, communication, teaching, influence, and team building.

Here are some traits of an "Effortless" Leader:

Visionary
Theodore M. Hesburgh once said, "The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet." In other words, without a clear and concise reason to come together – without clear goals and objectives – teams float aimlessly.

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