This month we’ll be talking about teamwork, and as a result we’ll be talking quite a bit about leadership. Why? Because a team is only as strong as the individual parts, and a key part is the leader of the team, whether it’s the leader of the team or the leader of the organization that the team works for or with. Leaders are and do many things. They’re the person people blame when things go wrong or don’t happen quick enough. They’re the people seen as the head of the organization, and often seen as the organization, much like Steve Jobs was for Apple. They’re required to create a vision for the organization and take action to get their followers there. Leaders have to have followers, otherwise they’re not leading anything or anyone. But most of all a leader’s biggest and most important job is to bring people together.
A leader has the huge responsibility of seeing the best in people, knowing how to bring it out, being able to bring it out and then harness it for the success of their vision. I believe there is incredible potential in everyone. I don’t believe there are any duds out there, everyone has something incredible they can contribute to the world. Part of that is being willing to make the contribution. You know what I’ve discovered? Being willing to make a contribution depends in large part on the leadership. If the leader is nasty and self-centered, it is much harder to get the kinds of people to be part of their organization that are necessary to make their vision as successful as quickly as it could be. Bad leaders tend to “lead” with harsh intimidation tactics, things that make you fear for your first-born or your own life. They’re not concerned about bringing out the best in you, and certainly don’t reward you emotionally or literally for your contributions in the way that a leader that truly cares about their people would.
So what kind of leader are you? Is it your goal to bring people together to solve the problems of the world? Or are you in it only to achieve your success and your vision? Are you the leader that will be remembered for years to come because of how you cared for your people and the difference you made? Or are you one for the history books that everyone warns not to follow their example? Are your people happy to come to work with you each day or do they drag their feet and protest? Your leadership determines how successful your business will be, and that success has a lot more to do with people than your ability to come up with a great product or be the cheapest in the industry.
I have a different vision of leadership. A leader… is someone who brings people together. George W. Bush