June tune up! Add a little oil!

Posted by Brenda Yoho

Mother Teresa once said, “To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” Many women are so busy filling the lamps of those they serve that they often forget to put oil in their own. We must take care of ourselves to be at our best for others. I hear a great deal about burnout and I know it is not something new, but it is bigger than we have seen before!

As a child, one of my favorite movies was "The Wizard of Oz." My dad usually had weekends off, and after dinner on Sundays, it was family TV night and to watch the Wonderful World of Disney. I loved Disney and the joy it brought. When I was growing up we did not have all of the options, choices and devices in homes there are today. Is it better or not? I am not casting an opinion on this subject area, but on the content of what I was exposed to as a child to form this perspective of “heart.”

Each year, "The Wizard of Oz" would play, and we made sure to watch it. One character, the Tin Man, was found in the woods all rusted. With a few squirts of oil, he was soon moving and talking. However, he discovered he did not have a heart and wanted to ask the Wizard for one. The Tin Man said, “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.”

How do you feel about this comment? I believe we should focus less on how much we are loved by others and more on the love we hold within ourselves to share with others. We must first learn to love ourselves and discover how our love can be shared. I would like to know others thoughts. Do we spend a great deal of time seeking and searching for others to show love to us? How are we showing value to others? When we are at our workplace, do we show value to others? Do others show value to us? What does it look and sound like?


Leadership is about helping others discover who they are and how they impact the lives of others. We aim to have a positive impact on those around us and be the support system they need to continue growing. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” In this case, please pay attention to the leader in your corner, guiding you in building others up. The importance of feeling good and feeling safe is what keeps individuals in your organization. As an individual, working with this mindset, it allows you to support those by your side. Together we can make our homes, workplaces, and communities better.

Take time to fill your own lamp with oil, and in doing so, you will be better equipped to light the way for others. Here are steps to lead with heart effectively and retain positive leaders:

  1. Self-Care and Well-Being: Prioritize your own health and well-being. A well-rested, healthy leader is more effective and resilient.
  2. Authentic Connections: Build genuine relationships with your team. Show empathy and understanding, and be present in your interactions.
  3. Empower and Support: Encourage others to take initiative and provide them with the support they need to succeed. Celebrate their successes and learn from their challenges.
  4. Continuous Learning: Commit to lifelong learning for yourself and your team. Share knowledge and create opportunities for growth and development.
  5. Positive Reinforcement: Recognize and appreciate the efforts and contributions of your team members. Positive reinforcement fosters a motivated and engaged workforce.
  6. Vision and Purpose: Clearly communicate your vision and the purpose behind your work. Help others see how their roles contribute to the bigger picture.
  7. Model Integrity: Lead by example with honesty, transparency, and integrity. Your actions will set the tone for the entire organization.
  8. Adaptability and Flexibility: Be open to change and encourage innovative thinking. Adaptability helps navigate challenges and seize new opportunities.

By leading with heart, you not only enhance your own leadership but also create an environment where others feel valued, supported, and inspired to grow. It does not mean your high expectations, goals and standards change, but your approach looks at the entirety of the effects. This is the essence of retaining positive leaders and fostering a thriving, collaborative community together. Leaders are working to recognize the shift in needing to serve the self-care needs of all to build capacity.


Self-Care and Well-Being

As leaders, we often pour our energy into supporting and uplifting those around us, sometimes at the expense of our own well-being. However, to truly lead effectively, we must prioritize our own health and well-being. A well-rested, healthy leader is more effective and resilient, able to face challenges with clarity and strength.

Imagine yourself as a lamp that illuminates the path for others. To keep shining brightly, you must keep your lamp filled with oil. This means ensuring you get enough rest, maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and taking time for mental and emotional rejuvenation. When you prioritize your own health, you model the importance of self-care for your team, creating a culture where well-being is valued and supported.

By taking care of yourself, you enhance your capacity to lead with wisdom and compassion. You become a beacon of stability and inspiration, guiding others not only through your words but through your actions. Remember, self-care is not a luxury; it's a necessity. Prioritize your health and well-being, and you'll find that your leadership becomes more impactful and sustainable.


Authentic Connections

In leadership, authentic connections are the foundation of trust and collaboration. Building genuine relationships with your team goes beyond the surface level; it involves showing empathy, understanding, and being fully present in your interactions.

When you connect authentically, you create an environment where people feel valued and heard. This fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty, motivating your team to give their best. Authentic connections also enable open and honest communication, where ideas can flow freely, and challenges can be addressed constructively.

As a leader, strive to know your team members not just as employees, but as individuals with unique strengths, aspirations, and stories. Show genuine interest in their lives and listen actively to their concerns. Your authenticity will inspire them to trust you and to bring their whole selves to their work.

Remember, leadership is not just about guiding others; it's about walking alongside them, sharing in their journey, and celebrating their successes. By cultivating authentic connections, you create a resilient and unified team capable of achieving great things together. Embrace authenticity, and watch your leadership and your team thrive.


Empower and Support

Empower and support—two pillars that elevate leadership from good to extraordinary. As a leader, your role is not merely to direct but to inspire and uplift those around you, enabling them to reach their fullest potential.

Empowerment starts with trust. Believe in the abilities of your team members, and give them the autonomy to make decisions and take initiative. When you trust your team, you instill confidence and encourage innovation. Empowered individuals feel valued and are more likely to contribute creative solutions and take ownership of their work.

Support is the companion to empowerment. Providing the necessary resources, guidance, and encouragement ensures that your team has what they need to succeed. Be their coach and cheerleader, offering constructive feedback and celebrating their achievements. Your support creates a safe space where they can grow, learn from mistakes, and continuously improve.

Remember, the greatest leaders are those who build other leaders. By empowering and supporting your team, you cultivate a culture of growth and resilience. Your leadership legacy will be defined not just by your successes but by the successes of those you have empowered and supported along the way. Embrace this dual role with passion and dedication, and watch your team soar to new heights.


Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is the cornerstone of impactful leadership. As leaders, our journey of growth never truly ends; it evolves with every experience, challenge, and opportunity we encounter.

Embrace the mindset of a lifelong learner. Stay curious and open to new ideas, recognizing that every day offers a chance to learn something valuable. Seek out knowledge, whether through reading, attending workshops, engaging in discussions, or exploring new technologies. By staying informed and adaptable, you position yourself and your team to navigate the ever-changing landscape of today's world.

Modeling continuous learning sets a powerful example for your team. When they see you investing in your own development, they are inspired to do the same. Foster a culture where questions are encouraged, and mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities. Support your team's growth by providing access to training, resources, and mentorship.

Remember, the best leaders are those who never stop growing. Your commitment to continuous learning not only enhances your own capabilities but also drives innovation and excellence within your organization. Embrace the journey of learning with enthusiasm and dedication, and you will unlock endless potential for yourself and those you lead.


Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool that can transform leadership and drive success. As leaders, acknowledging and celebrating the efforts and achievements of our team members is essential to fostering a motivated and engaged workforce.

Recognize the value of positive reinforcement in building confidence and encouraging repeat performance. A simple "thank you" or a word of appreciation can have a profound impact on someone’s day. When you take the time to acknowledge the hard work and contributions of your team, you create a culture of respect and encouragement.

Remember, positive reinforcement goes beyond just praising results. Celebrate the small victories and the steps taken towards improvement. Highlighting the progress and effort put in by your team members reinforces the behaviors and attitudes that lead to success.

Be specific in your praise, pointing out exactly what was done well and why it matters. This helps your team understand the direct link between their actions and the positive outcomes, reinforcing the behaviors you want to see repeated.

By consistently applying positive reinforcement, you cultivate an environment where people feel valued and motivated to excel. Your leadership becomes a source of inspiration, driving your team to achieve new heights. Embrace positive reinforcement, and watch as your team's confidence, performance, and satisfaction grow exponentially.


Vision and Purpose

Vision and purpose are the lifeblood of extraordinary leadership. They are the guiding stars that illuminate our path, infusing our work with meaning and direction. As leaders, it is your vision and purpose that inspire and drive those around you to achieve greatness.

Crafting a compelling vision is your first step. Your vision should be a bold declaration of the future you aspire to create—a future that excites and energizes your team. It should reflect your highest aspirations and paint a vivid picture of what is possible when everyone works together with a shared goal in mind.

Purpose is what gives life to your vision. It’s the deeper why that fuels your actions and decisions every day. When your purpose is rooted in the well-being and success of those you lead, it becomes the heartbeat of your organization. Share this purpose with passion, making it the foundation of your culture and the motivation behind your efforts.

But remember, a vision without action remains a dream. Engage and empower your team, fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation. Encourage each person to bring their unique strengths and ideas to the table, creating a sense of ownership and commitment to the shared vision.

As you lead with vision and purpose, you cultivate an environment where everyone feels valued, inspired, and driven to contribute to something greater than themselves. Your leadership ignites passion, fosters resilience, and builds a collective spirit that can overcome any challenge.

Stay true to your vision, and let your purpose guide you. Together, you can achieve remarkable things and create a lasting impact. Lead with clarity, passion, and unwavering commitment, and watch as your team rises to meet the extraordinary potential within them.


Model Integrity

Modeling integrity is at the heart of exceptional leadership. It is the foundation upon which trust, respect, and credibility are built. As leaders, your actions set the standard for your team and create the ethical framework within which your organization operates.

Integrity means consistently doing the right thing, even when it is difficult or inconvenient. It means being honest, transparent, and accountable in all your dealings. When you lead with integrity, you demonstrate a commitment to values and principles that inspire others to follow suit.

Your team looks to you as a role model. By embodying integrity, you show them the importance of standing by their convictions, taking responsibility for their actions, and treating others with fairness and respect. Your behavior sets the tone for the entire organization, fostering a culture of trust and authenticity.

Remember, integrity is not just about grand gestures; it is reflected in the everyday choices you make. Whether it’s admitting a mistake, giving credit where it’s due, or making decisions that align with your core values, every action contributes to a culture of integrity.

When you model integrity, you build strong, resilient teams that are united by a common sense of purpose and ethical standards. Your leadership creates an environment where people feel safe to express their ideas, take risks, and grow both personally and professionally.

Stay true to your principles, and lead by example. Let your integrity be the guiding force that shapes your leadership and inspires your team. In doing so, you will cultivate a legacy of trust, respect, and excellence that will endure long after your tenure.


Adaptability and Flexibility

In the dynamic landscape of leadership, adaptability and flexibility are not just valuable traits; they are essential skills that enable us to navigate change, embrace challenges, and seize opportunities.

Adaptability means being open to new ideas, perspectives, and ways of doing things. It requires a willingness to step outside your comfort zone, experiment with different approaches, and learn from both successes and failures. When you embrace adaptability, you position yourself and your team to thrive in an ever-evolving world.

Flexibility goes hand in hand with adaptability. It is the ability to adjust and pivot when circumstances change unexpectedly. Flexibility allows you to respond with agility, creativity, and resilience, turning obstacles into stepping stones and setbacks into opportunities for growth.

As leaders, your capacity to adapt and be flexible sets the tone for your organization. It fosters a culture of innovation, where ideas are welcomed, experimentation is encouraged, and continuous improvement is the norm. Your adaptability inspires confidence and trust in your team, showing them that change is not something to fear but something to embrace and harness for progress.

Remember, adaptability and flexibility are not about compromising your values or vision; they are about finding creative solutions and staying agile in pursuit of your goals. They require a mindset of curiosity, resilience, and a willingness to evolve with the times.

By embracing adaptability and flexibility, you empower your team to navigate uncertainty with confidence and to turn challenges into opportunities. Your leadership becomes a catalyst for growth, innovation, and sustained success in an ever-changing world.

Stay adaptable, stay flexible, and watch as your organization thrives in the face of change.

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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