Tuesday, March 2, 2010

General Colin Powell: A Leader Worth Following

You may be wondering why a business whose primary focus is natural health be interested in discussing General Colin Powell?

The answer is simple:
We are all about supporting the best of the best.

As you know, I was blessed with an opportunity to listen to him speak a couple of weeks ago. He shared the following simple leadership tips:

1. Promote Hopefulness
The ripple effect of an enthusiastic and optimistic leader is powerful, as is the effect of pessimism and cynicism. Leaders set the tone for the team. A gung-ho attitude of 'we can change the world/business and make it a better place' goes a long way down the road of success, as does sharing exciting news, celebrate victories, smile, and look for the bright side of a situation.

2. Encourage Growth
Effective leaders inspire and encourage their team members to learn new skills and grab new responsibilities to avoid stagnation. Reinventing jobs promotes smart, happy, forward-thinking teams. Pigeon-holing employees (or anyone) will make them become bored and begin to spoil the company culture. Keep your team growing and thriving by encouraging cross-training, reading, seminars, education, brainstorming, idea boxes -- no limits. At a performance review, instead of asking, 'how do you feel you've performed your job', ask 'how much have you changed?' The stronger and smarter your team is, the stronger you are as a leader

3. Leader vs Manager
Titles mean little in terms of real power. Real power is the capacity to influence and inspire. Have ou ever known a manager who few people respected and became a figure-head? have you ever known a non-manager who had little authority but commanded respect? Just because you have the title doesn't mean that you will get the respect of those around you. True leaders gather a following through vision, determination, wisdom, expertise, compassion and integrity. If you find that people don't respect ou, take a close look at each of these attributes to see what you could be lacking.

4. Ask Questions
Some people don't stop to ask for directions. This won't work in business because not asking questions will about guarantee failure --- and take the company down with you. If you see a potential problem, ask questions until you find the solution. If you would like to understand your customer, ask questions. Great leaders know that asking the right questions unearth problems and yield tremendous understanding about their customers, employees and operations. Take tim to survey everyone. Encourage and reward others for finding errors and loopholes --- and preventing them!

5. Never be Afraid to Make People Mad
It's more important to be respected than liked. Sometimes you'll have to make tough decisions that not everyone will like. Prepare yourself for these moments by thinking through why you make the decision. Then pinpoint precisely why your decision is best for your team, your customers and the company. Realize that part of your job is to 'sell' your decision. That's part of diplomacy. In the end, if others don't agree, don't be afraid to hold your ground. Exceptional leaders possess passion and tenacity. Dig in and make sure that the best solution wins.


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