Leadership: Adding or Subtracting Value?
I am writing this to all the Franchise Owners so that you can all rate yourselves as leadership or authority figures, instead of others rating you or you rating others. This concept is to be used solely and simply for self examination, not for the approval or disapproval of anyone else. By looking inward at how one leads, one can find his or her way along the path leading to the fulfillment of their own desired goals of coming together as a team.
The first thing we have to do is answer this critical question. Are you requiring results from others based on your “authority and position”, or are you asking them to follow the example you set on a daily basis? For a long while I believed my “position of authority” was adequate to lead. I could not have been more wrong. I was resented, scoffed at, and not very well received.
This brings me to the “law of addition.” Leadership shouldn’t ever be how far WE advance, but how far we advance others. This law of addition states that leaders add value by serving others, not bossing others. The retired General Norman Schwartzkopf once said, “When you help others climb a hill, you get much closer to the top yourself.” Ask yourself these few questions, and HONESTLY answer them to your innermost self: (1) Ever since I’ve been a leader, are things better or worse for MY TEAM, and not JUST ME? (2) Am I adding or subtracting VALUE from my “leading?” (3) Are my people better off because I’m a leader, and am I taking THEM to a higher level, or sinking them beneath me? Ask and answer this of yourself daily.
The next concept or law is the “law of the picture.” When I think of this, it says to me that “I can’t ask someone else to do something for me which I haven’t done myself hundreds of times.” It is always up to us to set a standard of behavior we would like others to follow. Obviously, as a leader I know that I DO NOT have all the answers. Sometimes we all face levels of uncertainty, and that doesn’t make us a poor leader. Increased responsibility means dealing with more and more intangibles (unknowns) and therefore much uncertainty, but we can not confuse uncertainty with being unclear. So a leader CAN afford to be uncertain at times, but can NEVER afford to be UNCLEAR. People will never follow “fuzzy leadership.” Remember followers are always watching everything we do as leaders, and still others are hoping we fail. So, it’s often seen that the temptation to TEACH others what’s right than TO DO what’s right is much more appealing, when the great fact is that this temptation will NEVER work out for the “leader.” It was author Norman Vincent Peale who said, “Nothing is more confusing than people who give GOOD advice, but set a BAD example. (Remember “Do as I say and not as I do?”) We all hated hearing that while growing up, didn’t we, and essentially it didn’t even make sense then when we were only tiny children. But there is absolutely NOTHING that is more convincing than people who give good advice but also set a good example for others. Personally, I made a decision a while back to NEVER try again to “teach people anything I wouldn’t be willing to live myself.” As it has turned out, it’s been one of if not the best decision I’ve ever made. I had to and still do have to work daily on changing myself before ever trying to improve someone else. The greatest danger to my personal leadership quest has always been the temptation to try and change others without first being willing to make a daily change in myself in everything I say and do. As a leader, the first person I must lead is ME, and the first person I must be willing to change each day is ME.
Obviously, the very first thing employees want is to be led by a leader whose beliefs and actions line up. They want good models who lead from the front. Remember the law of addition says leaders add value by serving others, so let’s develop a servant’s attitude. The law of the picture says “people do what people see,” so if we know these things and practice these principles in all our affairs, we will become the very best leader we can possibly be.
Remember this Tommy-Ism: “In business and in life, we NEVER attract what we WANT. We attract to us WHAT WE ARE! We NEVER get what we want as leaders either; we get what we REWARD. So let’s continue to attract others by our behavior, and reward others by their behavior!!!