Leaders Have Spirit

Leaders Have Spirit

One definition of spirit is “a particular mood or emotional state characterized by vigor and animation.”

As leaders we need to have enthusiasm for the work we are doing, the people we are working with, and the place where we work and play.

As parent  and school leaders we model to our children what it means to be a healthy adult in body, heart, mind and spirit.

There are times when we will have to act more animated than we perhaps feel. Especially after being up all night with a sick child or not feeling at the top of our game ourselves.

But enthusiasm is infectious, and a little bit can go a long way.

One of my twelve-year-old students took a manners and ballroom dancing class and memorized a set of guidelines for being a convivial guest. One of the rules that stuck in my mind was “enter into the spirit of the event.”

If the event is a dance, get out there and boot and scoot. If it’s a costume party, dress up and act the part. If it’s an opera, study up a bit and become familiar with the storyline and libretto.

And if it’s your life, what better advice could you have than “enter into the spirit of the event?”

No event to really bring out your enthusiasm?

Dale Carnegie suggested that we practice acting enthusiastic by taking a week and exaggerating exuberance. Perhaps 100 times more than we actually feel. Carnegie recommended that we put 100 times more energy into our movements, our tone of voice, and our smiles on every topic for seven days. At the end of the week, what we should see is life and leadership appearing rosier and more rewarding, along with a habit of enthusiasm.

Things aren’t going well? Well, go fishing.

You may have heard of the fish market where they throw fish?

At Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle a spirit of enthusiasm is key to the way this business is run.

Stephen Lundin wrote the book, Fish!, in order to explain Fish! Philosophy: Be There. Play. Make Their Day. Choose Your Attitude. Four interconnected practices for leadership.

Be There is about being totally present for the people around you. Being there sends a powerful message of respect—respect on which communication and relationships are built.

Play gives us permission to have fun, be creative, make mistakes and show our enthusiasm. Using the practice of play lets us play with ideas versus working on them, and helps us find creative solutions.

Make Their Day is a practice that focuses on finding simple ways to delight people in meaningful and memorable ways.

Choose Your Attitude helps us practice the idea of choosing how we will respond to whatever life throws at us. Our attitude affects not only ourselves, but everyone around us. Knowing we can choose our attitude helps us build the relationships we want.

Leaders have spirit and enthusiasm is contagious. Catch it!


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