ElmHabi 07-05-048

Habitudes: Images that Form Leadership Habits & Attitudes


Tim Elmore

Growing Leaders, Inc., 2004, 52 pp., ISBN 1-931132-05-4



Tim Elmore has worked with students for 25 years, most of that time with John Maxwell.  He is founder and president of "Growing Leaders."  This is the first in a series of books that communicate important truth through the power of visual images.  Each picture contains layers of reality.  The book is deceptively short and easy to understand, but the discussion questions will direct groups or indivduals deeper into application.


"Some sociologists describe this generation as EPIC: Experiential, Participatory, Image-driven and Connected.  If that's true, I believe we'll get the most out of resources that give us an image, an experience, and a way to connect with each other." (i)


"The iceberg is a great picture of leadership because so much of our influence comes from qualities we can't see on the outside.  It's stuff below the surface.  I extimate 90% of our leadership is made up from our character." (1)


Evaluate your character using a scale of 1 to 10 for self discipline (doing what's right when you don't feel like it), core values (taking a moral stand by principles when it's unpopular or risky), sense of identity (a healthy, realistic self-image), and emotional security (the ability to remain stable and consistent). (3-4)


The Starving Baker represents the person who is so busy feeding others that he neglects feeding himself.  Sometimes leaders put so much into the people they lead that they fail to nourish their own lives.  "Their 'talk' is great.  Their 'walk' becomes fake."  "They are spiritually starving…so close to food, yet never eating."  "The Starving Baker reminds us that leaders must feed themselves before feeding others." (5)


Self-Image.  "You cannot consistently perform in a manner that is inconsistent with the way you see yourself."  "You wil usually perform at a level that reflects your perspective of yourself." (10)


Take a personal inventory and list the qualities and abilities God put in you.  Include qualities, abilities, passions, and opportunities.  Put these in the context of II Corintians 5:17-18.  You are a new species that has never before existed.  Wow! (11-12)


The Thermostat.  "People are either thermometers or thermostats.  They will merely reflect the climate around them, or they will set it.  Leaders develop values and principles to live by and set the tone for others." (13)


List your core values, what you deeply believe and live by.  See tips for what that includes on pp. 15-16.


The Fun House Mirror.  "Sometimes leaders don't…possess a realistic view of who they are." (17)  "I believe each of us carries around four images of ourselves. …  The outer layer represents the image others have of us.  The next layer represents the image we project to others.  The third layer represents the image we have of ourselves.  Finally, the fourth [innermost] layer represents the truth about who we really are.  It is God's image of us." (19)


"For one solid week, make a commitment to not lie, exaggerate or distort the truth.  In your conversations, speak honestly about yourself." (20)


The Oversized Gift.  "Leaders are often gifted.  They can bein to depend on their gift for success, to the neglect of their character.  Leaders sabotage themselves when their gift is bigger than they are." (21)


God has given many people large gifts, talents, or abilities.  "However, when these people lean on the gifts God gave them and don't mature emotionally or spiritually--they may ruin their chance to use the gift as God designed." (21)


"The solution is not to do away with talent; it is to give attendtion to develop our discipline and personality.  Our inward character is the infrastructure that holds us up throughour lives.  And ou can't 'wing it' in character building.  I believe the greater the size of your gifts, the more time you must dedicate to developing character." (22)


"You can misuse your talent and try to project an image for your peers--but eventually, the inside truth about you will come out." (22)


The laptop is a metaphor for our mind.  It stores up what you put in -- the stuff you see, and read, and talk about.  It processes what is put in.  Garbage in, Garbage out.    Leaders must be disciplined about what they invest in their minds and hearts. (25)


It doesn't matter whether you think you are mature or not.  What matters is what you feed your mind.  "You will become what you are becoming right now." (26)


The Pop Quiz is a metaphor for the life tests that help people gain experience and grow.  "They reveal the leader's authority, integrity, porential, and maturity.  Together they make a pathway of progress.   (29) 


Tests are no fun, but they are necessary.  All leaders experience them.  They are required to move to the next level.  (29)  The leader's response represents a steppingstone or a tombstone for growth. (31) 


Emotional Fuel.  "A leader's future is shaped by the people closest to him o rher.  A leader's personal network is his emotional fuel: his models, heroes, mentors, inner circle, and accountability partners." (33)


Some people lead as a way to meet their own needs.  "Their emotional tank is empty and they need the people to fill them up."  "If you need people for this, you cannot lead them well.  Your perspective will be skewed by your own needs rather than what is best for you organization or team.  Leaders must make sure their emotional tank is full before they lead others.  Never lead out of need." (34)


"Your value to the team or organization depends on how strong and healthy you are inside."  "Our character and our relationships are closely linked.  Whenever there is a problem in our character, we pay a price in our relationship.  Whenever we have a relationship problem, it affects our character." (34)


Name the people who are part of your network as your models, mentors, heroes, partners, mentees, and your inner circle.  Which areas are lacking?  Note the names of people you can challenge to fill those places in your network.  (35-6)


The Discipline Bridge.  "Personal discipline is like a bridge that crosses from where you are to where you want to be.  It gets you where you want to go."  "In fact, any time I need to get somewhere difficult, discipline is usually the bridge I must cross to get there." (41)


"Think about the time you first learned to drive a car.  In the beginning, you had to think about everything you did.  You were conscious of steering, shifting gears, signaling, braking and accelerating.  It might have even felt overwhelming if you had to learn to drive a stick shift.  So many things to remember!  However, over time, discipline took over.  All those behaviors moved from your conscious mind to your sub-csonscious mind. After a while, people don't even think about the details of driving a car." (42) 


"At first, being disciplined seems hard--like you are adding one more item to do every day on your list of chores.  But it's not true.  Over time, discipline is a bridge, not a burden.  It makes the hourney easier if you'll hang with it." (42)


"The key is to develop a disciplined life.  To simply have disciplined compartments in your life won't help you in the end.  It needs to be a lifestyle." (42)


"There's an old proverb that says, 'He who hates discipline, despises himself.'  An undisciplined person eventually has no self-respect.  Without discipline, you'll eventually stop liking who you are." (43)


"Discipline means changing from the inside out.  What does this mean to you?" (43)


"Think about an area of your life that you consider undisciplined.  Write it down. Next, write down one tangible step you could take to build discipline in that area.  Then, find someone to hold you accountable to do that one step for fourteen days." (44)


The Half-Hearted Kamikaze flew 66 missions.  A true camikaze pilot only flies one mission.  Leaders are more than involved: they are committed.  The pig and the chicken provided a ham and egg breakfast for the farmer.  But for the pig it was total commitment!  (45)


"Nearly every great leader in history accomplished something memorable because of a narrow focus, and a great commitment to a cause."  (46)


"Your commitment will mean something when you act on it for an extended period of time."  (47) 





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