Leadership is a term thrown around and misunderstood by many. Take a look at a list of speakers, and most of them will claim to be leadership gurus. Unfortunately, too many will focus on the managing of projects and things instead of the core of leadership: people.
I believe the reason why the super hero movies are doing so well is that we all desperately want someone to inspire us. We long for someone we can believe in and trust. We want someone who will stand up tall for something honorable, who has integrity, and who compels us to achieve great things together, despite the commitment, work, and sacrifice required. We want Captain America, and we’ll follow him anywhere!
Captain America chooses to lead people, and he does so at a great personal cost. Some people are in leadership roles simply because of corporate structure. This does not guarantee, however, they will be good leaders. Positional leadership forces people to listen to the job title, but you cannot make them respect, admire, and follow the person—that can only be earned.
Good leadership is relationship influence. Over time, a person builds trust and rapport, gaining the respect of his or her team. They, in turn, have greater influence over what will be accomplished, how things will be done, and where they will ultimately go. Great leadership is an art, not a science. Although I believe every single one of us is wired to potentially lead, we must be deliberate about how we go about leading.
Leadership is like marriage—it takes work! We can read all the books in the world, but if we do not apply ourselves and step out of our comfort zone, we’ll never grow and develop into a better leader. Leaders look outside of themselves. Yes, they have goals and objectives, but they understand they need others to achieve them, and they want everyone to succeed. Leadership isn’t about glorifying oneself at the expense of others. Leaders get results where others have failed, regardless of rank, title, prestige, or money.
Unfortunately, drama and disappointment sell newspapers and make the media shows. We hear on a regular basis about the people betraying the trust of their constituents, acting immorally and unethically, and making obscene amounts of money while their team members struggle to make a living. We are all sick of such people. The true leaders aren’t seeking publicity, fame, or fortune. We may not hear about them, but they exist. They have character, a strong work ethic, morals, backbone, communication skills, compassion, charisma, and a clear sense of purpose. It is these trait that draw people to them. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Leaders cast a vision that inspires people to action!
Clarity of purpose doesn’t come overnight. Good leaders have spent years seeking their truth and reason for existing. They have sought counsel on clarifying their dreams and desires and have carefully crafted and molded them. Leaders continually learn and grow to be their best so they can give their best to others.
Leadership in Action
You cannot be a leader if you do not have followers, and that is leadership in action. People want to follow you. You have something they desire. You exhibit traits they agree with, and you stand for something they believe in. You are a relationship renovator, not a rules regulator. You seek solutions over the status quo. And if things don’t go as planned, you don’t blame anyone for hiccups but accept full responsibility.
“There are many qualities that make a great leader.
But having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them
through popular and unpopular times,
is the most important characteristic of a great leader.”
Leaders cast a vision so great that people will do anything required to make it happen. Those who fail to cast a vision constantly hear about the obstacles and hurdles. Although real issues arise in either case, a vision cast properly put the focus on the end goal, not the path.
Regardless of your political affiliations, Rudy Giuliani led New York through its most challenging days. He put aside his own objectives and focused on pulling everyone together for the good of everyone. He had to make some decisions not favored by some, but he knew they were required in order to fix the issues they faced. Leaders must have tough skin because they may not always be popular. Leaders aren’t in it for the praise; they see the ultimate end goal. They are confident that by pressing forward, everyone will reap benefits. Leadership can be a lonely road, but the rewards can be great. New York not only survived their tragedy but thrived! Rudy will go down in the history books as one of the great ones.
Not a mayor of major city or super hero? Don’t lose hope. You can still be a leader. In fact, the history books are full of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. My friend, Mark Sanborn, author of the best-selling book The Fred Factor, also wrote an excellent book, You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader, and he challenges each of us to rise to the occasion and lead where we are planted! Your unique wiring will determine how you lead, and that’s where I come in. I help people discover their unique leadership style and maximize their influence by understanding their strengths. Because good leaders have followers, I then go a step further and open their eyes to the different styles in their organization. One’s style will affect how they communicate, approach time, handle conflict, and work on a project.
When leaders spend the time learning about their people, they will find their role as motivator is much easier. By customizing their message, strategy, and execution, they will speak a language that builds bridges, not walls. Everyone accomplishes more and enjoys the process! We can create synergy and get further faster. This IS success!
Unfortunately, many executives are not applying these basic principles. Current numbers indicate that 90 percent of American workers are NOT engaged at the workplace. This number should not only alarm us but embarrass us. You may think that the market favors the employer, but don’t kid yourself. Turnover is still costly, not just to your wallet but to team moral. People are weary of being overworked, under paid, and mistreated. They need a hero—stat!
If you aren’t familiar with DISC, you are behind the curve. Those companies that utilize these assessments prove to attract top talent, have high retention, and lower costs. Why? Because they do more than just get the right people into the right seats on the bus; they onboard them in a manner that suits them, and they invest in their greatest resource: their people.
Training your management team is a must, but don’t forget the rest of your staff. When everyone is operating under the same principles, you will gain momentum, reduce mistakes, and increase your income. Training is inexpensive compared to the alternative: irrelevance! If you aren’t applying human behavior understanding in your organization, I guarantee you aren’t considering your customers. As a result, you are creating a low ceiling of revenue by missing out on a larger market. Give yourself the edge on your competition and get on board!
I have spent seventeen years helping businesses develop their leaders and teams by rewiring their thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors. DISC is the foundation and key to the success you seek. Take a look at how I can help your business
The leaders who will pave the way to the future will not do so with a cookie cutter approach. They will lead with style!
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