The topic of leadership has fascinated me for most of my professional career. Hundreds of books have been written about Leadership. Its scope is both enormous and multi-faceted. In this issue of Champions’ E-zine, I’d like to focus on just one aspect of leadership. Helping and inspiring others.

I was watching a T.V. news magazine program that featured a story about a retired doctor who became bored with playing golf and who decided to come out of “retirement.” He decided to start a clinic to give local residents who could not otherwise afford it, free health care. He enlisted over 120 “retired” doctors and nurses and many more nonmedical volunteers to join his cause. During the interview the doctor told the news reporter, “It’s not who you are or where you’re going, but who you help along the way.”

His quote inspired me. He was acting as a true leader. He had a vision he was passionate about, articulated it clearly, recruited the help of others, believed in others abilities to help, and overcame many logistical and legal obstacles to make his dream a reality. Sound familiar?

What About Your Leadership Skills?
We are indeed fortunate to be in a profession that allows us to “help others along the way.” Whether you are a producer or a manager, you can have a positive impact upon those you serve. To do so takes leadership.

Thomas J. Watson, Jr. in a 1965 Lecture titled-“A Business and its Beliefs-The Ideas That Helped Build IBM,” said:

“Belief and philosophy constitute a transcendent factor which outweighs technology, economic resources, or anything else in achieving success. This then is my thesis. I firmly believe that any organization, in order to survive and achieve success, must have a sound set of beliefs on which it premises all its policies and actions…In other words, the basic philosophy, spirit, and drive of an organization have far more to do with its relative achievements than do technological or economic resources, organizational structure, innovation, and timing. All these things weigh heavily in success. But they are, I think, transcended by how strongly the people in the organization believe in its basic precepts and how faithfully they carry them out.”
What is your definition of leadership? Mine is:

Building and developing people
Getting things done through people
Understanding the power of your own beliefs and how those beliefs influence your own and others’ productivity
I believe that everyone is looking for someone to ask them to become all that they are capable of becoming. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to another person.

If you are looking to increase your leadership skills, consider the following leadership core values. View the following statements as a mini self-assessment. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 where a “1” means that you seldom or never think or act in the way described and a “10” means that your most often or always think or act in the way described.

I believe that people have unlimited positive potential. Seeing more in people than they see in themselves is often the key factor that sparks that extra inner drive that propels people to achieve more than they ever thought was possible.

I believe that people are basically good. I have found that most people are doing the very best that they can on any given day. View them in a positive light.

I believe that people give back to us the same attitudes and responses we give them-This is the law of psychological reciprocity. Most people start liking us about the same time they feel that we like and respect them.

I believe that people deeply desire having meaning and significance in their life. Most people want to make a difference in their personal and/or business life; they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Are you tapping into this most basic human instinct?

I believe that people respond positively to positive leadership. Most people I speak to assume that they have a positive influence on others. This is not always the case. Sometimes our actions get out of alignment with our words.

I believe that people feel good about themselves when they take responsibility and keep their commitments. This can sometimes test your leadership skills because it is hard to do. It raises the bar of responsibility and places that responsibility on others. Our job is to provide the support, training, encouragement and inspiration. We can’t do it for them. If we do, it only serves to diminish confidence and self-respect.
Self First
It all begins with you. Before challenging others, challenge yourself. Are you the best that you can be? Do you bring out the best in others? Do you lead by example? You will achieve what you believe and feel passionate about.

Would you like to improve your leadership skills? Consider these additional suggestions:

Know who you are and where you’re going.
Leverage your strengths.
Be positive and become a positive influence.
See the best in others.
Be a lifelong learner and always seek to grow personally and professionally.
Admit mistakes and learn from them.
Be a great listener. Seek first to understand others and then be understood by others.
Always act in harmony with your values.
Good luck on your journey to success.