From the Top Down: How great leaders empower others to be the best that they can be.
The Hypothesis may go something like this. “Great Leaders are Born, not made.” After all, there has to be a multitude of significant and specific relational similarities to those of us that take the reins and move others to step up and out of their comfort zones each and every day. In business, we use labels like Boss, Supervisor, Manager, Chairman, and Owner loosely. These terms are for those that are placed in the roles of directing the outcome of our organizations, but of this group of “named” positions, there are but a few that are truly leading your company to greatness. Let’s take a look at how they got there and learn a bit about how to empower others.
Types of Leaders
In support of the rather grand statement I chose to anchor this article, I extrapolate upon my own experiences over the years of working for, interacting with and personally stepping up as a leader. It isn’t always easy, often times we are pushed into this role by virtue of being knowledgeable or the “Expert” in our field. Other times, almost through osmosis it seems, our leaders rise up no matter what. They just have that elusive “It Factor”, that inner glow that brings people together in commonality and solidarity, opening themselves up to follow the words and actions of someone they admire. Sometimes, that following is done without even knowing why.
This is where the “Born Leader” comes in. That individual, regardless of the demographics of where he or she came from, religious ideals, financial means, education, etc. This person was simply given this gift of understanding and recognizing the best in others and I will be so bold as to say that somewhere along the line of their early childhood, through those years of curiosity and wonderment, somehow, someway, this leader of today was introduced to the importance of doing the right thing.
Leaders of Evil
It is almost that simple. Yet one would argue that there have been countless leaders of evil in the world and for the sake of discussion, I am inclined to agree and I would be curious to learn of the research that can help identify at what point the axis turned for these people and took them away from the betterment of mankind. But for today, as with every day, let’s do our part to focus on the positive outcomes of great leadership.
In the 50 plus years of my existence, I have stepped up, been called upon, promoted to and even elected into positions of leadership and in looking back through each and every opportunity, I realize now that I was one of those “Born Leaders”. It is simply in my DNA somewhere that when I get into a situation where decisions need to be made, direction and order have to be established or when others shy away from responsibility, people look to me as the go-to guy and I simply accept the role and move quickly to rally the troops and build the team for triumph.
Core Competencies of the Born Leader
This is the cohesive similarity that I believe is one of the core competencies of the born leader; the idea that failure is not an option. That we can and should always strive for greatness and do all that we can to better ourselves. In doing so, we better others along the way. Leaders that deserve our respect, the ones that we almost immortalize, are the ones that bring out the best in everyone and do so without the need to be recognized for this deed.
So, are you ready to be that Leader you so admire? Ready to learn how to empower others? Then ask yourself these simple questions.
Questions for Leaders
- Do you really care? Beyond your self-praise and financial worth, can you really say you care for the well being of others? Selfishness has no place in the mind of true leaders and although leadership often provides for financial rewards, it can be argued that wealth is the byproduct of doing things right.
- Do you listen? When you stop and give the gift of being there and truly listening to those that you interact with, do you provide others with a sense that you are all in? Being all in really matters when it comes to having others follow your lead, so you better be listening.
- Do you make mistakes and freely admit to failure? Well, you should. Great leaders recognize that we don’t always make the best or right choices and they don’t blame others for it. Instead, a true leader finds the error, fixes it and moves on. Knowing that the experience has made him/her even better and has set the path to diminishing future mistakes.
- Are you open and adaptable to change? You better be. Leaders must be constantly open to new ideas and cultivate this thought with your team. More important now than ever before, you simply cannot stay with the status quo and expect others to be on that bandwagon with you.
- Can you laugh? If not, why do we want to hang around with you? Being open to having fun is by far one of the most enjoyable feelings, especially in the workplace. After all, most people spend the vast majority of their lives working, shouldn’t they enjoy it?
Although there are many other traits of leadership, these few are certainly worth listing and certainly fall on my list of what is needed in anyone that I admire and follow. Only true leaders can learn how to empower others.
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Allison Maslan, CEO of Pinnacle Global Network, is the Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author of Scale or Fail, which is endorsed by Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank. Allison’s built 10 successful companies starting out at age 19.
Now she and her team of CEO Mentors pay it forward by helping business owners scale their companies, fast-track their success, and create a more meaningful life. Pinnacle Global Network, a world leader in scaling companies and empowering business leaders has guided thousands of CEO's and Founders to success over the past decade. Allison’s been featured in Inc., Success, Fortune, Fast Company, and Forbes Magazines, is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, and a featured expert on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox across the US. She is also the host and producer of The Scale or Fail Show podcast, and the Women Who Own it Podcast in partnership with WBENC, the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in North America.
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