Follow Me, While I Stand Behind You!

Leadership is all about creating powerful, magnetic currents moving relatively, enthusiastically and creatively in the right profitable direction. If you want to be the leader in business you must hire, train and develop all team members to act like the leader to become the leader you and “We the people” envision together. There are too many museums of failed products, failed brands that boundary blur the lines between great intentions and weak team leadership. Leadership is not a solitary art form and not for the faint of heart to attempt to congress or orchestrate. Leadership may be best defined by John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are a leader.” After all, leadership is a kinetic reservoir of knowledge, a motivating heartfelt engine that services the imagination of a team, that ensures the success of that team to achieve their united goals.

Perhaps socioeconomics, the study of the interrelation between economics and social behavior is at the core of creating superior and lasting leadership capital for successful ventures. Socioeconomic characteristics clearly and surely influence leadership as does optimism which fuels performance, along with long-lasting leadership efficacy. As products make and fuel brands, so do employee heroes make, fuel and curate teams. There is a natural leadership evolution in building the right team… as there is a prelude and auger to failure in hiring the wrong people, building the wrong team… in miss-leading careers through a jet stream of frustration and failure.

I suggest an old tired expression “follow the leader” should be replaced with “Follow the leader who stands behind you, who masterfully follows your lead.” Famous business leader and author Zig Ziglar said, “You don’t build a business, you build people… and then people build the business.” Makes great “cents” to the bottom line and as I like to say “Hire thy heroes and you will be obligated to lead them or be forced to get out of their maverick ways.”

Other notable leadership quotes from market makers, market taker’s on the important subject of leading and following a team through socioeconomics and social behavior:

“I hire people brighter than me and I get out of their way.” – Lee Iacocca

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs

“Hire people who are better than you and then get out of their way.” – David Ogilvy

In order to ensure your team of well hired heroes follow you as their caring and sharing docent, as their august leader the following 8 attributes should be the core of your leadership playbook:

  1. SHARE THE PLAN: The core of great leadership is sharing the mission, gaining feedback, ensuring updates and incorporating suggestions from your team.
  2. SERVE YOUR TEAM AS THEY SERVE THEIR MISSION: Roll up your sleeves, jump right in. Not as the authority but rather the stimulator, provider and supporter to ensure performance success.
  3. CREATE AND STIMULATE AN ELITE TEAM ENVIRONMENT: Motivation coupled to caring and sharing leadership comes in many forms. The most important form is through consistency and frequency of purpose.
  4. TELL THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH & NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH: Team members need to know exactly where the company stands and what their part is towards improving, accelerating opportunity.
  5. LEAD THRU CHANGE, FOCUS & SPEED: Business is about assiduous change, relevant focus and knowledge and the ability to drive accelerated speed for competitive advantage. Lead these three to lead your team.
  6. SACRIFICE AND TAKE BULLETS FOR YOUR HEROES: Not much to say here, this important attribute is a fleeting and “must-do” glimpse of the obvious.
  7. PROMULGATE CREATIVITY, RELEVANCY & KNOWLEDGE: The core of every business are these three attributes which must work together to achieve any goal. Teach, repeat and obligate these three as one force.
  8. PROMOTE AND BE “WON” TEAM: Consistently reveal, celebrate, promote and reward team heroes that excel, that create new paths of opportunity, that exceed expectations. They are your leadership future.

In essence, great leaders have a rugged constitution with boundless sensitivity. Be clear, concise, intelligent, bold, relevant, open and passionate… but mostly be trust worthy through your actions and discipline as the leader. As one who has been both privileged and saddened by leadership through the course of my career, I remain lost in admiration for leaders who dare to share the dignity of knowledge, who care about me and my family. We learn to earn, we care to share, we follow the leader always and forever when the leader follows us: cares about our personal opportunity to grow, thrive and lead. “You want me to follow you while you stand behind me? You bet, all set, let’s go!”

Peter Weedfald is the author of Green Reign Leadership, a book enriching leadership lessons to ensure business dominance.


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