Volume 3, Issue 1
March 2003
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Finish Line Leadership - 
Qualities for Successful Leadership

By Drew Stevens


What and who is a leader? “The Webster’s Dictionary defines leader as a person who by force of example, talents or qualities of leadership plays a directing role, wields commanding influence, or has a following in any sphere of activity or thought. It defines leadership as that ingredient of personality that causes men (and/or women) to follow. 

Enthusiasm, dedication and charisma are some of the more important characteristics of leadership. Leaders are seen as good and evil, and take on many personalities and roles, from managers or coaches to world leaders. It is believed that every leader posses a charisma that provides change and success. Thus leadership begins with vision, concern and mentorship.

Contrasting the belief of vision and concern are ten important themes that help leadership. It is my belief that by not adhering to the ten traits, leaders not only fail but also bring chaos to their organization. To assist in creating a balanced organization, and good stewardship, I offer to the leaders the following thoughts based on LEADERSHIP.

L = Listening
Good listening is required in order to understand employee attitudes and motivators. Get to know your employees by asking a lot of open-ended questions. When you ask questions, you have a chance to listen, and when you listen, you begin to better understand employee motivations, body language and issues. Get them to speak of issues that confront them and enable them to find solutions. Offer challenges to corporate issues with solutions. And, provide credit to the employee with a solid reply. 

E = Enthusiasm
Employees want to be motivated. This begins with positive energy and positive commitment. Your personal ills and corporate pressures are unimportant to your employees. They are concerned about number one- themselves. In good times and bad you must always express a positive and energetic attitude. Finish line energy gets finish line results.

A = Awareness
Be aware of issues that are non-verbal. Leaders must have a keen sense that denotes when employees are happy, frustrated, tired or overwhelmed. You must sense the issue and eliminate it quickly so that you keep organizational harmony.

D = Decisive
Employees loathe procrastinators, even if they are a procrastinator! They want quick, decisive and meaningful replies. Leaders do not ponder; they make quick decisions to difficult problems and find immediate solutions.

E = Equal
The cliché “equal pay, for equal treatment” is so true. Leaders do not treat employees based on title, age, race, religion et. al. Leaders understand that “everyone” and “anywhere” in the organization is equal. Leaders go by the principle that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole.

R = Reward
Adults desire more than just money with work. They desire recognition and kudos for a job well done. However, in today’s marketplace, employees although happy, are looking for more contentment from their current job. This sense of pride and self-worth is a large issue for most people. 

If people feel that they make a difference, they will care about organizational objectives, if not, apathy emerges. In sum, the job affects the person and the person affects the job. So what can be accomplished to gain a better sense of company pride and loyalty? Establish a reward system and watch the attitudes soar!

S = Shallow Mission/Vision
Leaders understand the reasons of having corporate and divisional mission and vision statements. These statements of purpose enable employees to understand, 1) Who the firm is, 2) Where they are going? and 3) How they will get there. True leaders establish missions as a roadmap to future success.

H = Hypocrite
Leaders make decisions and stick with them. Leaders understand that reversing decisions make them a hypocrite. Further leaders take action when they offer action. For example, if a leader decides employees need training, he or she also takes the training. If a leader decides pay cuts are necessary to preserve profits they too take a cut. Leading by example creates a happier employee core and loyalty; contradicting the efforts creates dispassion, disbelief and attrition.

I = Isolate
Leaders believe in teamwork and team play. Every employee counts toward the bottom line. Leaders do not isolate themselves from the team and do no isolate the team from each other. As the saying goes, “There is no “I” in team”

P = Positive Communication
In good times and in bad leaders create positive communication and feedback to employees. Positive and meaningful communication creates loyalty and mutual exchange of ideas and attitudes. When ideas are fresh and positive, profits and productivity soar!

The Finish Line

The leader of tomorrow is changing from the top down style of management to a collegial approach where all become counterparts. Working together creates the compassion for work and productivity that both sides seek. Leaders who have created this style of management have names on the front door such as Cisco, UPS, Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, et al. These leaders are change agents and strive to become not only recognized brand names but also recognized leaders. Employ the ten leadership traits, incorporate these in your organization and daily efforts and watch productivity grow.


Drew Stevens is all about results! He speaks and consults internationally on sales, productivity and profitability and is the author of Magnetic Leadership. Contact him at 877-391-6821 or 636-938-4486 or [email protected]

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Attitude …   The key ingredient for success

Everything begins and ends with your attitude. It is the foundation for our success. In fact, in many companies a good attitude is not only nice, but also essential. It keeps people from getting hired and in other cases it is a reason for dismissal. For example, if you apply for a job at one major hotel chain and you do not smile at least five times in a five -minute interview then your chances for getting hired are almost non-existent. In another instance, one major hardware store has managers who observe employees and if they see anyone with a bad attitude they relieve them of their duties immediately. All this “attitude” stuff may seem fluffy to some, but to attract and keep clients we must project an upbeat, caring and concerned attitude. A recent survey stated it best when they asked clients why they don’t go back to a business. The overwhelming response was “an attitude of indifference by the owner, manager or employee.”

To help you and your employees’ keep your attitude adjusted at all times follow these three guidelines:

1.     Flip side exercise – This exercise is based on the principal that no matter what goes wrong there is always something good that comes from it. For example, if you hate your job, the flip side would be that at least you have a job or if you put a dent in your new car the flip side is at least you were not hurt. The man who recently got divorced stated it best, “I’m not divorced, I’ve just been traded.” These guidelines are easier said then done. To make the flip side exercise work for you take a small notebook with you everywhere you go and when something goes wrong, write down what went wrong and what is good about it. Try this for a month and you’ll find that you’re not only thinking this way, but you’re enjoying life even more than before.

 

2. Count your blessing

– Count your blessings,
not your worries. Too many times we let every little problem affect us. This causes us to be less productive, less happy and our attitude suffers. For example, if we lose a sale many of us become disappointed and we let the negative energy affect us. To combat this we need to appreciate all our blessings such as family, shelter, friends, our job and others. We then need to put it all in perspective and focus on what is really important in life.

 

3.     Simplify your life – Make your life simpler and watch your attitude improve. For example, one client of mine was going to fire one of his employees because of his poor attitude. The reason he had a poor attitude was that he had to drive a long distance everyday in terrible traffic. Realizing this may be the problem, the employee moved to a new apartment, which was only 5 minutes from work. Almost immediately, his attitude changed and he was like a new person. Simplify now and you’ll see a change for the better.

 

Arnold Sanow is a speaker,  marketing strategist, and author of the book “Marketing Boot Camp.”