Leadership. What is it all about? It is as though we have become so politically correct that we can't really share the truth anymore when it comes to corporate leadership or corporate leaders. Terms like accountability, performance, integrity, truth and transparency are often used but rarely displayed. Today, if someone makes a makes a lot of money, we will say they are great leaders. Is that really true?
In and out of companies doing brand and leadership training, I often hear from people that they think they are great leaders, or are at the Gates, Buffet and Churchill level. I often want to say, you’re 24, and you are no Churchill – but I just smile and think to myself, we have a lot of work to do. Or I see a leader say one thing and do another - zero integrity. Leaders ask tough questions…to themselves. Let’s start here.
Does a bloated salary make someone a good leader? I see this as well – I make “X” amount of money, I must be a great leader. Nope. What about those who lead our kids every day, teachers who dedicate their lives to making our children grow as human beings? What about the person who cleans the floors with excellence and provides a positive example for other staff members to follow? What about the youth sports coach that demands our children to compete and develop their personal skills to their highest potential? Are these individual’s good leaders? It’s not about the money.
In the end, great leaders are built from the inside out. Leadership is so much more than a great press release or a promising P&L.
- Leaders take responsibility for their company’s performance, they care about their employees, they live the qualities they share and express publicly.
- Great leaders don't fool us, they inspire us.
- They don't control us, they give us the tools to grow personally and professionally.
- Great leaders build others to replace them and they say I am sorry when they are wrong.
- Great leaders value life, and they live to serve others versus be served.
If all you sell is profits at any cost, if you shade the truth to make yourself or your company look better, if you live for yourself more than you do others, than you need some brand leadership training. I have a long way to go, a lot to learn, but I can say without a doubt, if you think you know it all, if you don't value life, if you don't care about your people and if you have no integrity, then you are not a good leader. I don't care what the press, the paper or the world may scream at you.
Ask yourself, are you a leader? Really? If so, then what type? Did you read a book in college or take a class and think you have it figured out?
What do you believe, where do you base your faith? Can you define truth? Can you hear criticism and change? Do you think you are done developing your skills? Do you know what your Personal Brand is? Do you care? Have you ASKED people lately for feedback? Are you developing other leaders? Do people follow you because they must? Are you simply a positional leader? Do you like the people you work with? Do you like people? Do you dislike people you haven’t ever met? Who are you leading? Where are you leading them to? Do you know your why? Why you get up in the morning? Why should people care? What is your vision statement? What is your company vision statement? What is your company brand? No idea? You are not a leader.
You really need to know all the answers to these questions and more. Go ahead, ask yourself, ask others. What makes me a great leader? Be willing to get an F, in order to get an A.
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