Leadership Matters-Len BernatDO YOU GET OUT OF BED each morning ready to take on the challenges of the day? Does the idea of going to work fill you with excitement? Can you visualize the improvements you have accomplished and the changes that will continue to improve your performance and the performance of your team? If you answered yes to these questions, most people will say you are crazy. But in truth, you have discovered how enthusiasm can make the difference between going to work each day and going to another day of adventure at your chosen occupation.

Enthusiasm is defined as a sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of your duties. It is characterized by being optimistic, cheerful, and willing to accept challenges. It is a characteristic of leadership that is completely within your control.

[bctt tweet=”You choose to either see each day as an exciting challenge or as just another day at the office.” via=”no”]

But embracing a spirit of enthusiasm for you job will pay big benefits. They are:

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* By starting the day thinking about the positive things you plan to accomplish, you start the day with a positive attitude. Then as you begin to accomplish your goals, your excitement and energy naturally increase. You become successful because you think about success.
* Your enthusiasm will set the tone for your team members. Whether your team members will admit it or not, when you present a project, a new system, a change in daily operating routines, or any other change that can cause them anxiety, they become apprehensive. However, when you outline all wonderful benefits this change will bring to the team and to the organizational strategy, your team will approach the change with an attitude of “we can” instead of “not again”. Enthusiasm is contagious.
* When you create an enthusiastic work environment, creativity becomes the norm. I remember working with the programmer in the Navy and Marine Corps to help create new reports and fix “bugs” for our supply computer system. Everyone really enjoyed what we were doing to create value for the combat mission of our ships and aviation units through our computer support. Some of the solutions we came up with were amazing because of the excitement that could be felt when working through the problem. Later, when the programming was turned over to civilians, the one comment I heard over and over was, “Wow, we would have never come up with that solution to the problem. That is ingenious.”
* Enthusiasm can turn even an everyday, mundane task into something special – not because it is exciting – but because you were able to successfully complete a required task. Enthusiasm sees success in even the simple tasks.[/message][su_spacer]

So, does creating enthusiasm work. You bet it does.

As the warehouse officer for the aviation supply department in Hawaii, I stressed the importance of keeping the warehouse neat and clean for safety purposes to my Top (senior enlisted Marine). Despite everything he tried, the warehouse still was not meeting my expectations. Finally the Top came to me to seek advice on how to get the results that I was expecting.

“Glad you asked, Top,” I began, “Here is what to do. Divide the warehouse into three distinct sections using reflective tape. Go to the sign shop and get nice signs made with the names of each of the three Sergeants assigned to our warehouse. Hang one sign in each of the sections and call the three Sergeants together. Tell them this. Each of them is responsible for the cleanliness of their section. They do not have to clean the section alone because they have junior Marines who should be helping them. But they are responsible for the cleanliness of their sections and any problems will be a reflection of their leadership.”

“Now,” I continued, “the day after you have made the assignments, call the three together in the morning and tell one of them, and it does not matter which one, that his section really looked good. Then walk away and watch what happens.”

The Top put my plan into practice and was amazed that by the end of the week, the warehouse looked great. He came to me and said, “Sir, it looks good now but how do we keep it this way?”

“Simple, Top, each Monday, gather the Sergeants together and tell one of them that his area is the best looking area – never name the same Sergeant two weeks in a row – and they will constantly strive to get your approval. The positive feedback will create the enthusiasm in them to get the job done. No yelling; no fussing; just leadership.”

Being in a position of leadership is such an honor. You have the opportunity to be a positive influence for the organization, your team, and each person with whom you lead. Thinking about this each morning should excite you to begin another day full of positive energy. Just being the leader should bring about enthusiasm. Get enthused and be an exceptional leader.


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Len Bernat
LEN is a leader groomed by 20 years of molding and shaping by some of the finest leaders in the United States Marine Corps. Their guidance helped Len realize his full potential as he moved from an enlisted Marine to becoming an Officer of Marines. Len became known for being the leader who could turn any lackluster organization into a strong, functional unit. Upon his retirement, Len worked in several positions before finally starting a second career in governmental procurement. His experience and leadership skills enabled him to be recognized as the 2011 Governmental Procurement Officer of the Year for the Governmental Procurement Association of Georgia and opened doors for him to teach at many of the association’s conferences. Len was also called to the ministry and was ordained at Ashford Memorial Methodist Church in November of 1999. Today, Len is the Pastor of Maxeys Christian Church in Maxeys, Georgia. Len has been married to his wife, Hazel, for 36 years and they have three daughters, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Grab your copy of Len's new Book – Leadership Matters | Advice From A Career USMC Officer. Using his life experiences as examples, Len takes the eleven principles of leadership and the fourteen traits every leader should possess—which he learned during twenty years in the Marine Corps—and teaches the reader how he was molded and shaped by some of the best leaders the Corps had to offer.
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Chris Pehura
Chris Pehura

Enthusiasm, rather genuine enthusiasm spreads and can perpetually move budgets, markets, and vision. I found more often than not, it’s just one person, an enthusiastic person that tips the scales from failure to success for initiative I’ve engaged in; may they be nine, ten, or eleven figures.