Are you a good leader? Ask yourself these 3 questions

Everyone’s path to leadership is different.

My leadership journey started in the military. I entered “management” at just 23 years old when I became the officer in charge of the Reactor Controls division on a nuclear submarine near the end of the Cold War.

I had trained for years for it.

I was ready for it.

I loved it.

I had a passion for the military, the Navy, and the mission of the submarine force. I wanted to lead sailors well and I felt a calling to serve.

Not surprisingly, I was surrounded by other leaders who felt the same way I did.

When I entered Corporate America, however, I found people who went into leadership for vastly different reasons. There were some good leaders, but…there were a lot of people who took management roles simply because of the perks.

They became managers to get recognition, more money, a fancy title, a better office, a bigger bonus check, or to further advance their careers.

They wanted the leadership job for personal gain.

And that’s a problem.

It’s one of the reasons why good leaders are hard to find in Corporate America and why employee engagement is so low.

Too many managers are just in it for themselves.

I like this quote from Lisa Haisha, “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader… they set out to make a difference.”

“Great leaders don't set out to be a leader... they set out to make a difference.” Lisa Haisha Click To Tweet

In Corporate America today, finding leaders like this is rare.

Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking addresses this issue in an article she wrote in 2017 for the NY Times.

She points out what’s wrong with leadership in Corporate America today.

She explains we have “glorified” leadership so much so that people are taking on leadership roles for the wrong reasons. Today, leadership, “attracts those who are motivated by the spotlight rather than by the ideas and people they serve.”

She hits the nail on the head!

There is a shortage of good leaders because many people are choosing to lead for the wrong reasons.

There is a shortage of good leaders because many people are choosing to lead for the wrong reasons. Click To Tweet

If you want to be a good leader, ask yourself these 3 questions:

1. Do you have a passion for leadership?

Just like selecting any career, ask yourself if you have the passion to lead. To be a leader means you have the full responsibility of an organization and all the people associated with it. It means you will be accountable for everything that happens on your watch. It is a difficult and sometimes lonely job that demands a 24/7 commitment.

2. Do you care deeply about the idea or organization?

As the leader, all eyes will be on you. Your attitude toward the mission will reverberate throughout the organization. As a conductor, your team will be taking cues from you. If you care deeply about the organization’s mission, they will as well.

3. Do you love people?

Leadership is a people business. Your entire job is to motivate people towards accomplishing a goal. People are messy. They have issues, problems, emotions, relationships, and baggage. But your job is to see past the flaws, love your people, and motivate them to do great things.

News flash! You can’t be a great leader if you don’t love people.

You can’t be a great leader if you don’t love people. Click To Tweet

If you choose to lead, do it for the right reasons. And be a great leader.

Honestly, we need better, not more, leaders.

Deep Leadership Podcast

 

By the way, If you want to get more out of your daily commute, listen to my podcastDeep Leadership.  It’s available on all podcast apps.

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Why Leaders Hate Black Friday Sales

I have to admit, I hate Black Friday sales and you probably do too.

If you read this blog, you’re a leader. You don’t follow the masses, you chart your own course.

Sure, you like a deal, but you’re smart enough to know that Black Friday sales are mostly just gimmicks.

That big discount on LED TVs is for only a handful of off-brand units in stock. That 30% price reduction on those clothes are just bringing the overly inflated prices back to summer levels.

Nah. You have better things to do than being trampled while trying to save $3 on a WowWee Pinkfong Baby Shark Official Song Puppet. (Yeah, that’s a thing)

Here’s the deal. Leaders don’t fall for gimmicks because they understand value.

Leaders don't fall for gimmicks because they understand value. Click To Tweet

They are willing to spend more if it helps them be successful. They understand ROI – Return on Investment. That’s why most successful leaders, like professional athletes, have a coach. I know I do. (It’s Coach Bru by the way)

Leaders seek wisdom from other successful leaders.

And, leaders are readers!

My bestselling leadership book, I Have the Watch, contains 30 years of leadership wisdom. And for only $12.99, It’s already a tremendous value.

But, even leaders like a deal now and then.

So I offer my “I Hate Black Friday” sale. This 1-day sale is the last discount opportunity for 2019.

Click here and enter code BLACKFRIDAY to get 20% off the price plus free domestic shipping.

Get one for the leader or future leader on your Christmas list. It’s so much better than a Baby Shark puppet.

“Jon hammers home the values of great leadership with excellent examples backed with personal experience. This book is necessary for anyone in a leadership role.” Amazon Customer

Employee Motivation Starts Here

In the movie Criminal, Kevin Costner plays a convict whom the CIA chooses for an experimental procedure.  With the help of a top neuroscientist and researcher, they “transplant” the memories of an operative killed in the field – with hopes of stopping a terrorist attack.

This has unintended consequences.

(The subject, a hardened killer named ‘Jericho’, forms an attachment for the dead agent’s wife and daughter for example.)

Initially, the procedure doesn’t completely “take”.

Jericho refuses to cooperate and escapes.

He “remembers” a bag of cash the CIA guy hid and goes on the hunt for it. Frustrated, the CIA talks to the doctor who performed the surgery. He tells them, “He’s fixated on this bag of money…show him how to get it and he’ll do anything you want.”  They do, and he does, until the bad guys complicate the plot, of course.

Legendary motivator Zig Ziglar is famous for saying:

“You can have everything in life you want if you’ll just help other people get what they want.”

“You can have everything in life you want if you’ll just help other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar Click To Tweet

What this scene in Criminal illustrates is…

Everything starts with KNOWING what other people want!

Let’s bring this back to employees. I’m a big fan of being present and spending time with employees. Many business people chafe at this. It’s time-consuming and doesn’t add value, they’ll argue. But I disagree.

I make it a policy to spend as much time as possible with my team.

I ask open-ended questions and listen.  Not only does this help the person feel heard, but it opens a window into their inner world. It helps me know exactly what they need in order to do their best work.

It can work for you as well. Listen with the intent to understand your people better.

And help them get want they need to succeed.

You’ll know it’s working when you notice a pattern of employees going beyond the call of duty for you and your organization.

Speaking about helping other people get what they want…

If you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift this year, consider giving my Amazon bestselling book I Have The Watch. It distills best practices gleaned from 30 years of leading people in the military and corporate America.

If you follow this link, you can purchase a signed copy that I will personalize for the leader (or future leader) on your Christmas list.

Give the gift of learning this year!