Friday, April 15, 2022

Inspirational Leadership Can – And Does – Happen Anywhere

Today is an important day in major league baseball. All players will be wearing the number 42 on their uniforms. The reason is because today is Jackie Robinson Day, and to honor him, all players wear his number. 75 years ago today, he made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first black major league baseball player. 

Throughout Jackie’s baseball career and post-baseball business and civil rights career, he was respected for his inspirational leadership and was someone we can all emulate.

So, as we honor Jackie Robinson today, I welcome Daniel Buhr from Minnesota to my Blog. He recently retired from a 34-year career as an EHS information specialist at a Fortune 500 company. For over 20 years, he was involved in leadership development, and in 2015, was a co-author of “Energize Your Leadership.” On social media, he’s known as @Cybuhr. His hope is to broaden our understanding of leadership to see that each of us has the freedom and responsibility to be a leader, and his vision is leadership by anyone, serving everyone. Daniel and I recently had a discussion about leadership, and highlights follow below.

TWEET THIS: Leadership by anyone, serving everyone. ~@Cybuhr #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #EmployerBranding #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: We've all heard a million answers, but how do YOU explain the differences between management and leadership?
DANIEL BUHR: Grace Hopper put it well when she said, “You manage things, you lead people.” I would add to that statement: Management is business and is the job of a few. Leadership is life and is the responsibility of all. The leadership of a third-grader in the classroom is just as important as the leadership of a CEO in the boardroom.

TWEET THIS: Management is business and is the job of a few. Leadership is life and is the responsibility of all.  ~@Cybuhr #LeadershipTip #EmployerBranding #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: In a post on your blog, you wrote: "Anyone can be a leader. And everyone should be a leader, prepared to lead when the moment calls on them to do so. Therefore, the true image of a leader is as diverse as the entire world’s population. A leader can look like anyone anywhere. Don’t forget to look at yourself." Can you please elaborate?

(Blog post referenced:

DANIEL BUHR: The stereotypical image of a leader is a man in a business suit. But anyone can be a leader just as they are, so a leader can look like anyone. To help broaden your image of what a leader looks like, when you are in public, look at each person you encounter and think to yourself, “There’s a leader.” “There’s a leader.” When we see each other and ourselves as leaders, it opens our minds to new possibilities.

QUESTION: I was inspired by the post on your blog entitled, "Our Common Ground – Ten Principles for an Open Dialogue." Can you please explain why this should be in a frame on everyone's desk?

(Blog post referenced:

DANIEL BUHR: There is a great need for respectful dialogue. This time of deep division and strong disagreement makes it hard, but it also makes it all the more important for us to find common ground where we can work together even if we don’t agree. It is respect, not agreement, that brings us to common ground. When we find common ground, then we can take the journey together to higher ground.

TWEET THIS: It is respect, not agreement, that brings us to common ground. ~@Cybuhr #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #EmployerBranding #DebbieLaskeysBlog

QUESTION: What book should every leader read, and why?
DANIEL BUHR: If I had to choose one, I would say “Leadership is an Art” by Max De Pree. A word of caution in selecting a book on leadership is that the majority of books in the “Leadership” section aren’t about leadership at all, they’re really about running a business, and that is something entirely different. The line gets fuzzy because there are books that discuss leadership in the context of business, but they present good leadership principles that are applicable outside of the corporate walls as well.

QUESTION: What three leaders from business or history inspire you, and why?
DANIEL BUHR: Abraham Lincoln for his political savvy. Malala Yousafzai for her courage. Robert Greenleaf for shaping our modern understanding of Servant Leadership. Note that, with each of these three, their leadership did not come from having a position of authority. Yes, Lincoln had a very high position of authority, but it wasn’t his position that made him a leader.

QUESTION: Lastly, one of my favorite quotes about leadership is from author and consultant Mark Herbert (@NewParadigmer on Twitter): “Leadership is a gift, not a position. It doesn’t require you to be the smartest person in the room. It requires you to trust and be trusted – and block and tackle for others.” What does this quote mean to you?
DANIEL BUHR: Being a leader begins with your choice, when you choose to make a difference in and through the lives of others. Leadership also begins with a choice, when others choose to follow. That choice by others to follow is a gift, and it is made in a relationship of trust. The way to build that relationship and that trust is to serve. Service builds trust. Trust builds leadership. As Greenleaf said, a leader is first a servant.

My gratitude to Daniel for sharing his insights and for appearing here on my Blog. And to fellow baseball fans, thank you for joining me in celebrating the legacy of Jackie Robinson today on Jackie Robinson Day!

Image Credit: Photo taken by Debbie Laskey at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

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