- THE MAGAZINE
Welcome to the third episode of Phenomenal Leadership Systems. (Editor’s Note: See Part 1 here and Part II here.) So far, we have covered “The Definition of Leadership,” which is effectively communicating your vision, mission and purpose - and we covered what vision really is.
In this installment, I’d like to explore the qualities of a leader.
Last week while teaching a webinar on leadership, I asked the attendees to type in a one-word quality of a leader. Some of the answers were “inspiring,” “integrity,” “vision,” etc.
Here are some qualities of a phenomenal leader...
One who loves others
Everyone wants to be loved. Everyone wants to be accepted and understood. When you show people how much you value them as a human being, you will see an amazing return of loyalty and care from your team. I tell my staff members how much I love them all the time. Why? Because I do! I really do care about them. There’s an old saying that says, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Zig Ziglar adds, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care about them.”
One who is a positive role model
Being a leader is a big responsibility. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it shouldn’t be avoided either. The reward of making a difference in the lives of others is astounding. I have a little plaque in my home study that says “Success is Making a Difference in the Lives of Others. Happiness is Watching them Grow Because of It.” Doesn’t it make you happy when you help someone with their life? If you can’t get inspired by that, I don’t know what you can get inspired about.
One who is inspired
Speaking of inspiration, our slogan in my membership program is “Inspiration to Implementation.” Have you noticed that the most successful business owners are those that are excited about the future? Are they inspired because they are growing? No, they are growing because they are inspired!
What are they inspired about? They have vision. In his last book Born To Win, Zig Ziglar said, “the most important ingredient for success is desire and desire comes from vision.” Where does vision come from? Inspiration. Where does inspiration come from? Stories of people doing what you want to do.
When I was a 23-year-old waiter making just enough money to pay the rent on my apartment, I went to New Jersey to get married. A friend of the family who was the same age as me was tooling around in a little red Mercedes convertible. He was a carpet cleaner. The desire that came from the vision of the little red Mercedes convertible resulted in me starting my carpet cleaning business for myself, which led to the success I enjoy today.
One who is hopeful
A phenomenal leader is a dealer of hope. If we don’t have hope for the future, why do anything? This is the unfortunate condition of average, non-thinking people today. They have no hope because they are listening to the news and listening to other people who are uninformed in human potential, the Grace of God and the possibilities that entrepreneurs can discover. We must not only have hope, but deal hope. We must not only have hope, but demonstrate hope. We must not only have hope ourselves, but we must show evidence of hope by sharing success stories.
One who is enthusiastic
Before I got healthy, I had frequent migraine headaches. They were awful. My entire body hurt. Literally from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. Sometimes they were so bad I literally got sick. On a trip to Amsterdam, my wife and I were touring some beautiful gardens and I was having an episode. After observing me keeled over throwing up on the side of the road, a young Dutchman offered to help us find a doctor.
We followed him in the rental car (which was an adventure on its own - sharing a round-about with a million bicycles, pedestrians, trolley cars, buses, other cars and taxi cabs driving on the railroad tracks to get around everyone else) to a nearby doctors office. After waving us off, I entered the doctor’s office only to find that it was a veterinarian clinic! And the amazing thing about socialized medicine was that he was able to write a script for me!
During those years of having migraines, I had to be enthusiastic in front of my staff. As soon as you allow yourself to focus on your problems, you give everyone else the same permission. You are the example. My staff meetings were always upbeat and positive. No matter how I felt, I had to be enthusiastic for my team. This doesn’t mean you don’t have real feelings and that you never share them. It just means that we have to make sure we are sending the right message.
Fortunately, about eight years ago I got healthy and the migraines went away for good. This is how dumb I was... I didn’t eat breakfast. I drank breakfast. Lots of strong coffee. I didn’t eat lunch until 2 p.m. The excuse was “I’m busy!” When I got home at the end of the day, I was famished. I ate everything in sight.
Step one was to eat a bunch of Doritos (nacho cheese flavored), then a pile of barbeque pork chops, with a heap of mashed potatoes seasoned with butter, green onions and bacon bits. After some TV, back for seconds and then... French vanilla ice cream, topped with bananas and Hershey’s chocolate syrup! But I’m not done yet. Late night TV requires some tortilla chips and my favorite salsa. And I wondered why I had migraines? How unaware can a person possibly be?
So, no matter how you feel, no matter who did what to you, or what circumstances you face, you’ll do better as a leader to be enthusiastic in front of your team. I don’t recall if it was Dale Carnegie or one of the many networking groups I attended, but they made you stand up and say “Act enthusiastic to be enthusiastic!” as you clapped your hands together. It works.
To quote my hero once more, Zig said “you can’t do anything with a positive attitude, but you can do everything better with a positive attitude than you can with a negative one.” Research reveals that being enthusiastic and having a positive attitude actually changes the vibrations of your brain and actually has an effect on how you feel.
One who is growing
Anything not growing is dying. Leaders are readers and learning makes you grow. Continuing to learn keeps your mind sharp and helps you with new ideas. The fact that you are this far in this article tells me you are interesting in growing. Continue to develop yourself and transfer what you learn to your team.
One who is experienced
My mama back home in Alabama works at a retail store. She used to be the manager, but gave that up to enjoy her life a bit more. Why in the world she still works at 76 years old is beyond me, but that’s another story. She’s just like that. She wants to stay busy and likes the interaction. The manager is now a young man and she tells me he underestimates how long things will take. Inventory for example. She has the experience and knows the reality of how long things will take. As he gains experience, he’ll get more realistic.
Treasure experience as a leader.