It’s Dark In Here… Can Someone Turn On The Leadership Light?

In the Greek… phos. That is what light is. It is the action of making visible things that are not seen. That is what light does, and it carries a leadership theme.


How? Let’s contrast the two and see.

I like the thought of a sunbeam shining through a window in your house early in the morning. While dark, we do not know what all is there or around us. Even if we turn the light on, we still cannot see everything. But when that sunbeam shines through a window, we see every bit of “stuff” in its path, the dust, the muck, the filth. Dark leadership hides things. Leadership light brings everything in the open.

Do you remember the GE light bulb commercial slogan? “We bring good things to life.” Well, that is what leadership light does. It shows what type of leader you are exactly. When the leadership light is turned on, it brings to life (or out in the open) what a person’s dark leadership is, dead leadership.

Those are the things that dark leadership tries to hide and for the most part that is why those things are done in secret and behind people’s back. There is scheming, conniving, and anything/everything else that is done under handed, all done in dark leadership.

Dark leadership, dead leadership is repressing the core of what leadership should be today. Too many leaders are using it to advance themselves instead of helping others advance, which in turn, would help all advance. When we all are better, we are all better. That is what leadership light is about, helping others shine.

Remeber this… mold, stench, and slime grows in the dark. Don’t let your leadership be like this. Be the leader that shows and carries a leadership light. Turn it on. Let your leadership light diminish the darkness of dead leadership.


©2018 J Clay Norton

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How Well Do You Listen and Can You Hear Me Now?

Do you remember the Verizon Phone Company’s commercial of “Can you hear me now?” While that “jingle” might be slightly funny, the question itself with regards to leadership is profound. How many times, do others have conversations with us, and they walk away wondering if they were ever heard?

One of many essential characteristics of great leadership is listening. It sounds simple, but… as you well know, some leaders simply do not listen, or they do not listen as to understand. I believe that there are times when people come to us, they have something to say. They want our attention, and they know real quick if they have it or not.


As I think about the different time’s people have wanted to speak with me, did I listen to hear? I can also ask that same question for when I wanted to be also heard. For those times when the answer was “no” in both cases, after hard lessons learned, I begin thinking of what type of listener leaders are and the type of listener I wanted to be.

To always keep it simple, I have three ideas about what type of ears a listener you may have…


When a leader has closed ears, it is tough for others to talk to them. They cannot ask questions or explain anything. It becomes more of a task and chore. The issue here is with the listener. It has nothing to do with the person or what is being said. I believe there is a direct correlation between leaders with closed ears having a closed heart.


We have all heard that notion of someone having selective hearing. Well, here it is. Leaders who have this, only listen to what they want to. They want to hear what is pleasing to them. Leaders like this will surround themselves with people who say the “right thing” and are basically “yes people.”


For a portion of my life, I listened to others with my brain (and I am still guilty of it at times). Listening this way means I would think of how I would respond to the other person instead of listening with my heart to truly hear what they were saying. This is the type of listening leader we should strive to be, listening with heart ears.

What type of listener are you with your leadership? If you do not know, odds are others do. Like me, I am sure each of you can name a leader whose listening style reflects one of the above.

If leaders care for their people, then having heart ears is the only way to listen. You and everyone around you will be better for it.


©2018 J Clay Norton

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Does Your Leadership Have Spirit?

A servant leader’s inner being is shaped so much by transforming others. If this statement is true, then why do more leaders not embrace this idea of leadership? I do not know why either, but I do have my thoughts.


Have you ever seen that one leader that you enjoy being around? They have this gravitational pull on people that for some reason or another brings out the best in both. Leaders like this are filled with what I like to call Leadership Spirit. Leaders who have that leadership spirit have an essence about them. Their demeanor or disposition carries that feeling of goodness.

So, I began thinking… What do leaders have that captures the above thoughts?

I believe that…

Leadership Spirit is about…

Understanding the truths of leadership

Truth has a way of erasing friction. I believe the truths of leadership are foundational by doing right by others. When we realize that concept, friction is erased, and everyone can be seen in a different light.

Using words to inspire instead of changing the meaning of words

Ever been around that leader who tears people down or flip-flops their words? I once read this quote: “Words are free. Its how you use them that may cost you.” We have a choice as leaders to say the right thing and we must mean what we say. Too often we see leaders who hide behind their words when they could be inspiring others.

Desiring to have harmony between themselves and others

Just like the harmony of a song is pleasing to the ears, the harmony in leadership is pleasing to the heart and mind. Having harmony does not always mean everyone gets along, but it does mean that everyone knows where they stand and what their role is. There is a mutual line of respect when our spirit of leadership evokes harmony.

As you ponder the above statements, please consider that a leader whose spirit is positive has a freedom that allows them to lead.

What is your leadership spirit like? If you want to know, ask others or better yet, see who is wanting to be around you. Let’s find ways to fill our leadership spirit with ideas that help transforms others.


©2018 J Clay Norton

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There Is A “Whole” In My Leadership

What does it mean to be whole? A quick definition search will yield meanings such as; “a thing that is complete in itself,” or “all of something.”

So, the question today and every day for that matter, “Does your leadership have wholeness?”


How does leadership fit wholeness? A few ideas come to mind. The “fit” has to be complete and carried out to the finish; making it whole. It does not take people long to see if your leadership is whole or has a “hole” in it.

Leadership wholeness is about…

It is what it is… We must devote ourselves to finding and knowing what whole leadership is. It must be an ideal we long for. Leadership is a part of life, and we all long for it in one sense or another. Not everyone is a leader, and that is ok. However, there is that innate feeling inside each of us that wants to lead.

True leadership gets in your business. This is where other people come in. We have to have people in our lives that complete us (Jerry Maguire quote here…). Having like-minded, kindred-spirited people in our lives is what makes our leadership whole. It is nothing more than accountability. The problem is we all want accountability for others, not so much for ourselves.

Leadership permeates our lives and where it is lacking, we become vulnerable. When our leadership is whole, we deflect outside forces that can cause our leadership to weaken (think of a force field). Someone is going to try to find a “hole” in your leadership. Whole leadership fills all the holes per se. As a leader, you know what should and should not be in your heart, your mind, and your soul. Do not allow yourself to be affected by “all the stuff out there.”

There are also a few tangible benefits to having leadership wholeness. I believe leaders who are whole have joy about them and are thankful. There is a personal commitment to both. They are the results of the above thoughts.

We all know those leaders who are joyful and thankful.  We also know those who are not.   For those who are not, odds are they have a “hole” in their leadership. The funny thing is, they try to fill that “hole” mostly with their ego and the “hole” gets bigger and bigger.

Striving to have leadership wholeness should be one of the most exciting concepts we chase. We need to be careful though; you never know what you might catch.


©2018 J Clay Norton

Follow me on Twitter at TheBookChamber

Subscribe via email to my blog at the top of the page