The Four Essential Food Groups for Leaders


On Thursday, I had the privilege to take part in a leadership development conversation with Dr. Henry Cloud, hosted by Dan Rockwell, A.K.A. Leadership Freak. The conference call focused on Henry’s upcoming new book: Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships and Being Ridiculously in Charge.

Dan moderated the discussion, and Henry discussed concepts from Boundaries for Leaders, including several critical boundaries that successful leaders establish in their teams, cultures and companies in order to achieve desired results.

Some of the topics discussed included how to set boundaries that:

    1. Build emotional climates that fuel performance.
    2. Facilitate connections that boost people’s functioning.
    3. Focus on thinking patterns and behaviors that get results.
    4. Help you lead yourself in a manner that drives and protects the vision.

The greatest take-away for me was the discussion on a leaders diet: 

4 Essential Food Groups.  I played with the words to create R.I.S.E.

4 essential food groups

In order to “shine”, you need to R.I.S.E.! Growth as a leader requires an intake from each of these essential food groups:

1. Relationships:  We develop in the context of relationships. We must always look to be in community and around people who speak truth into our lives for healthy growth.

2. Information: We need to learn our business.  If it is leadership, then learn about leadership. What will it take to become an expert?

3. Structure: You cannot afford a haphazard, spontaneous approach to growth.  You need a plan!  Block out time and a place.  What new experiences will you put in our schedule? What seminars will you go to? What books will you read this month?

4. Experiences: We ultimately grow through experiences.  A surgeon can read a book on anatomy, but if he has never carved up a body, you don’t want to be the first one he works on!  One caution: Make sure there is praxis: action with reflection, so you learn and grow from the experience.

So, (you probably already knew this was coming), R.I.S.E. and shine!  Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Look for Henry’s new book, Boundaries for Leaders for a fuller discussion of this topic.

What do you think of the R.I.S.E. Diet? Would you add anything? Which of the 4 essential food groups are you lacking right now?

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About Steve Morgan

I work in Global Leadership Development with Cru with my wife, Terry. We have been married 30 years and have 4 grown children. We have a Masters in Global Leadership together through Azusa Pacific University. I generally write about 5 “L’s: Living Well, Loving Deeply, Learning Continuously, Leading Courageously and Leaving a Legacy. I occasionally write about Laughing Loudly. Subscribe on the right side to receive an email whenever there is a new post. I invite you to leave your comments so we can dialogue on the various topics and learn from each other. If you are new to the site, you might start with looking at some of the top posts or doing a search on the right side bar for one of the 5 “L’s” that interest you. Or you can view the blog archives for topics. Photo Credit: sarahjoellephotography.com
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3 Responses to The Four Essential Food Groups for Leaders

  1. Brian Virtue says:

    Steve – this is awesome. makes me think I need to grab that book. What I like about this and the way you laid it out is that it allows for organizational life to be anchored in kingdom perspective and kingdom ethics. The relationships and “information” together can help equip teams to learn how to view organizational objectives and results through kingdom lenses which to me is motivating. There are several theories about high performance teams and paradigms out there offered, some very helpful. But they don’t always leave room for leaders to lead not just for performance but for meaning and justice as well on the way. Helpful categories to build around for sure.

    • Steve Morgan says:

      Hey Brian. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by. Terry and I each got the book on Kindle the day it came out. We started reading it but have been swamped the last couple weeks. Henry Cloud is genius in the way he sifts through complexities and makes them simple, understandable and accessible. As I have continued to think about this, his diet for leaders is our 5 E’s for development. The way he packages it in a metaphor makes it resonate. What do you think about that?

      Your comment is insightful regarding teams and relationships. As a natural learner, I have made the mistake in earlier years of learning about the organization or leadership situation, but failed to learn from or with others. As in my most recent post on Toxicity, the relational aspect is as important as the results. How we get there is vital. As you pointed out , kingdom perspective and relationships makes all the difference.

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