Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Confidence Building Leader Is A Linchpin

"Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence in seeing how you react.
If you're in control, they're in control."

-- Tom Landry

In my travels, I have worked for a good number of business owners, managers, and supervisors who would like to think of themselves as leaders. To me, leader is not a default title for someone who is "the boss," the supervisor, manager, president, owner, CEO, COO, chairman, or any other business title. To me, leadership is an earned title and I have huge respect for those who earn it.

When I saw this quote, immediately my mind went to a number of so-called leaders who did nothing to build confidence and in fact, created the opposite. One that jumped out at me was a successful auto dealer who would go to a "dealer 20" group meeting and come back with "the next great move" toward far grander success. Then, a week or two weeks later, that huge change in procedure had evaporated and things were back to "normal." No confidence in his lack of confidence.

Then, another one popped in my head, where style was always much more important than substance. Style dictated where the money was spent and although it did look good, it was almost useless in so many cases.

Another (actually, several) "leader" would over-react to the most trivial of things and go "flying off the handle" spouting cuss words, accusations, idiotic statements and the like. I've even seen this in front of customers. These people should be restrained, or banished to work in an computerized warehouse in the valley away from any important people, like customers and employees.

What builds confidence in, and elevates a person to the Leader title is not a mistake-free demeanor, but one that inspires others to feel good about themselves and to feel good about the company they are working with. This person is human and will make mistakes. It is impossible to live without them. This person is always looking to build people up that they come in contact with. You don't hear them putting people down. They love people and they know that people is their business. They learn to provide much more value than they extract in attention, energy or expertise. Everyone who works with them or for them, comes away as having been better for the experience. The Leader is respected and wherever this person goes, the title Leader follows them because of who they are as a person, not what they do or where they work or what their other title may or may not be.

I celebrate and lift up the Leaders all over the world. As Seth Godin, in his newly released, and most excellent book, Linchpin, promotes, "The linchpin insists on making a difference, on leading, on connecting with others and doing something I call art. The linchpin is the indispensable one, the one the company can’t live without. This is about humanity, not compliance."

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