4 Battles Every Leader Must Win Every Day

Every leader fights battles. Sometimes they fight battles with their team and sometimes they fight battles with themselves. The battles that a leader fights with themselves is often the most important battles a leader will fight. If the leader loses those battles with themselves, they will often sabotage the power of their leadership. The leader can lose battles by second-guessing their own decisions or when they are not clear about where they are going. There are battles that the leader must fight every day. In fact, Margaret Thatcher said it this way. “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” This is true of battles in war and it is also true for the battles that the leader must fight with themselves.

4 Battles Every Leader Must Win Every Day

1. Leaders need to fight and win the battle of Conviction.

Great leaders know what they will and will not do. Sometimes it is easy for our convictions to become unclear. The business world is always challenging the convictions of the leader. Leaders must have great clarity on the “no’s” of their life and leadership.

Legend has it that On October 31st, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, the town where he was based. This year the world celebrated 500 years since Martin Luther took this bold stand. Luther’s Protestant views were condemned as heretical by Pope Leo X in the bull Exsurge Domine in 1520. Consequently, Luther was summoned to either renounce or reaffirm them at the Diet of Worms on 17 April 1521. When he appeared before the assembly, Johann von Eck, by then assistant to the Archbishop of Trier, acted as spokesman for Emperor Charles the Fifth. He presented Luther with a table filled with copies of his writings. Eck asked Luther if he still believed what these works taught. He requested time to think about his answer. Granted an extension, Luther prayed, consulted with friends and mediators and presented himself before the Diet the next day.

When the counselor put the same question to Luther the next day, the reformer apologized for the harsh tone of many of his writings but said that he could not reject the majority of them or the teachings them. Luther respectfully but boldly stated, “Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.

Here I stand. I can do no other. Martin Luther

Martin Luther was a leader of convictions and he changed the world. Every leader is tempted to give up on their convictions, but great leaders never do.

Experience Question: As a leader, do you know what your “will not do” list is?  

2.  Leaders need to fight and win the Battle of Commitment.

After conviction comes commitment. Commitment is walking out in faithfulness the principles and values that you know are essential for the success of the company. Leadership guru Kenneth Blanchard teaches that “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it is convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”

When a leader is committed, it causes the followers to ask why. The “why question” is a great leadership test. If no one on your team asks you “why” you are so committed to something, then you are not showing a high enough level of commitment.

Experience Question: When was the last time someone on your team asked you why you were so committed to a decision, task, or project?  

3. Leaders need to fight and win the battle of Consistency.

Leaders must come to term with the statement day after day. Leadership is not a decision for one day, it is a decision for every day.   John Maxwell states, “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”

Consistent leaders know that there are certain habits and behaviors that they need to do every day in order to stay fresh and push towards success.

5 Habits Leaders Need to do Every Day:

  1. Read Something Inspirational. (I encourage the Bible).
  2. Take Time To Reflect and Review.
  3. Listen to the Voice of Wise People.
  4. Work on Something that will make a difference a year from now.
  5. Laugh and find Joy.

Leadership is a daily decision. It means deliberating deciding to every day to be intentional about the day.  Leaders have a purpose for the day and they move with specific actions to bring about their ultimate plan and destiny.  Many leaders doubt the power of one day but if they practice consistency they will be amazed at what they achieve.

Experience Question: What daily habits and behaviors have you implemented that has made you a better leader?

4. Leaders need to fight and win the Battle of Contentment.

Many leaders struggle with contentment. They are always searching for more. It is good to stretch and grow, but it is essential to learn the art of contentment. Tony Gaskins said, “To be content doesn’t mean you don’t desire more, it means you’re thankful for what you have and patient for what’s to come.” Everyday leaders battle how to be settled and satisfied with where they are in life.

Experience Question: Would you describe yourself as a leader who has mastered the art of contentment?

Note: These principles are taken from Esther 3 and the example of the leader Mordecai.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Ken Gosnell serves leaders by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations. He has worked with hundreds of CEOS and their leadership teams to enhance their strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an author, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children. You can connect with him at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kengosnell/

Take the CEO Experience Impact Score. Learn what areas of your leadership holding you back and what areas can push you forward. Get your score by taking the assessment here.

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