Friday, September 10, 2010

Are You a Leader, or Do You Just Like the Title?

Have you ever worked for a great leader? Have you ever worked for a poor leader?  Some people are genuinely interested in helping others and building up people who will ultimately succeed them; yet other "leaders" are more interested in the nameplate on their desk and the title on their business card.

My friend, Greg, and I were talking the other day about this very subject. Greg is a very successful leader at a local university. We had gotten to know each other while he was working for a credit union client of mine. This company is a great company and allowed Greg to lead in a way that he saw fit. The results were staggering. He positioned the credit union to be the leader in the community within the particular market that he was targeting. Prior to that, he had come from working at a large department store chain where his boss would scrutinize every move. When he would delegate duties to his assistant to maximize his use of time and effectiveness, Greg's boss would chastise him for not doing the work himself. Keep in mind that Greg was not shoveling all of his duties to his assistant. He was merely trying to be as efficient as possible. That boss clearly did not have a leadership mindset.

Here are a few thoughts for you to ponder if you are in a leadership position:

1. Do you need to be involved and seen as being involved with every step of the business, or are you more interested in showing others the valuable skill-sets necessary to grow into a position like yours?

2. Do you spend time with the top performing people in your organization or do you focus on the poorest performers? (Keeping in mind that new staff members typically will need a bit more attention)

3. Are you more interested in adding people to your organization to build a following, or are you interested in multiplying the number of people who are drawn to your organization because of the leadership strengths which you have taught those around you?

The network marketing industry is a great example of how great leaders can achieve great things. Companies like Advocare, Amway, Mary Kay, Avon, Send Out Cards and many others have realized terrific growth in recent years because of their ability to offer a quality product or service as well as a legitimate opportunity. Anyone can enter the business for a few dollars, and build a strong business by merely multiplying their efforts. While weak leaders will try to be involved in each presentation that their downline(when someone enrolls someone else in a business, they are referred to as a "downline") is performing; a strong leader will realize that based upon the potential audience or prospect's personality, another person may be a better fit to help with the presentation. The best part is, when you help develop other leaders, you succeed as well.

No matter what your industry or vocation, remember that leadership is a skill just like any other. All skills need to be developed. There will be ups and downs, but ultimately the leaders who persevere are those who experience the most joy and longevity.

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