Here are my Ten Observations after Studying Leadership for 50 Years
by Kevin D. Crone
It’s tough to hold onto common sense and our beliefs of what matters today isn’t it? It’s easy to be bluffed out by the daily news and to be discouraged. To me, leaders always did the job of causing people to stay true to their beliefs, to reassure, to bring us back to what matters especially in times of adversity. They inspire.
By leaders, I mean someone who has earned the right to have followers. Someone you and I would follow, an inspirational, sincere communicator. Someone who keeps their word and is humble. Someone who doesn’t let you down, who never uses criticism in public, who arouses enthusiasm and team spirit.
John Cooper was our international leader years ago. He kicked off and ended every conference and convention with speeches that caused laughter, sometimes tears, but most of all the spirit to believe in yourself. He raised your view of what you were doing in the business and how important our work was. Yes, he talked numbers too but the inspiration motivated everyone to achieve more. You couldn’t wait to get back to your business to achieve better business plans and to achieve more for you and your family. He was like that one-to-one as well. As time went on the older, more experienced and successful group of us took up the leadership job of motivating each other.
Then, one day, I was one of those elders. Because of the examples above, I felt it was my responsibility to travel the world, helping various teams in our industry.
Every year all of our coaches and Instructors met to be recertified. Everyone was pushed, stretched and had to prove our competencies in front of each other. It was the most important meeting of the year for me. I opened and closed every meeting. I had to dig deep into myself to be able to inspire such a high level group. These wonderful people expected me to be like John Cooper. They wanted me to be a good man and to show what we believe in, with emotional power, to exemplify what we are about.
Doesn’t respected leadership matter anymore? Wouldn’t you like to receive more of it? Wouldn’t you like to be more of that kind of person? We can’t kid ourselves even in a world of social-media bashing, negative trolls, and bullying by poor leaders. Inspirational leadership does matter – maybe now more than ever.
So, after 50 years of studying leadership coaching and teaching it, and trying in my own way to be it, I want to pass on a few observations.
- Be firm but respectful in your dealings with everyone. As the leader, go for the big view of what’s going on. Don’t just see the forest, take the time to climb the trees, see what’s really going on and describe the way forward. There’s little room for nit-picking, ego, and beating down the people whose support you need.
- Determine what does matter, your business values, your promises to the marketplace and always stand up for them.
- Realize commitment is everything. Never let people down, do what you say you’re going to do. Never let others talk badly about your team in front of you.
- Rudeness is not only classless, but ineffective. Any fool can criticize and most fools do.
- Kindness is caring, not a weakness. Be kind enough to help people with the truth. Take the time to listen, find out where people are at, what they’re going through. Everyone’s heart has been broken. People are somewhat disappointed from time to time. Something is going on. Be genuinely interested and people will be interested in you.
- Be bold to be heard, to shake things up, to move things forward. Stand up, speak up. Put your hand up. Seize the moment. But don’t be an obnoxious bully.
- Great leaders realize they don’t know everything but they’re not afraid to move forward. They learn to listen and act with just enough facts. They’re not afraid to act. Arrogance is telling others what’s wrong with them or what they should have done or how much you know. This doesn’t garner enthusiastic willing cooperation. A leader is proud but not boastful. They believe in important big things, but don’t project they can do it on their own. They actually are good at listening and engaging everyone in those big things.
- They are competent, inspirational speakers.
- They arouse and have fun, but are not ridiculous. They make it a pleasure to do tough work.
- They do not deal with delusion well. They seek facts. See what actually happened and eliminate a lot of opinions and conjecture in their meetings.
The whole drama of life is something else. Yes, there are bad, over -competitive people out there who play an unfair game – but don’t lose your compass. It’s what it is. Leaders take people to a place they wouldn’t go on their own. Be one of those. All of us can be better leaders and it starts within. Our organizations, businesses and community need a lot of it today. Let’s provide it.
Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
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