To Lead

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I'm smack dab in the middle of preparing a presentation for my peers, and I'm re-reading one of my favorite books to prep for it. Jeb Blount's People Follow You is one of the best books I have ever read on leadership. 

The contents are no secret. To lead means to love, to serve, to put others first. The question becomes, what does that look like in the world of direct sales? 

I never knew that I would be in a leadership position. I had no clue. But it happened. And like many other people, when it happened, I looked around wondering what the heck that meant, and what I was supposed to do with this newly earned "director" title. 

The problem so many people have with leadership, is that they make it a bigger deal than it really is. Good leaders don't have all the answers or do everything right all the time. They aren't the best at everything, and if they're honest, they often doubt themselves. But what a good leader does do well over and over again is build relationships. 

If you want to know the secret to leadership, it lies in other people. It lies in putting others first and setting up circumstances for them to succeed. It's knowing people, and understanding them, and loving them. 

As People Follow You states, "The best leaders are the best relationship builders. These leaders understand that success as a leader is directly and entirely related to the quality of the relationships they build and sustain with the people they lead."

I have the opportunity to work with some amazing directors in our organization. They "get it." They understand that by helping others succeed, they are succeeding. 

But then I have directors who get on our monthly chat and only want to talk about themselves and what they're doing and how their personal business is going. They know very little of what is happening with their team members or how they doing. 

This advice goes to anyone in any area of direct sales. If you want to find success in leadership, build relationships. Put the success of the people on your team first, and you'll see your own success happen as a product of putting others first. 

This age old image of man conquering the mountain on his own, is not success. (You will see this picture if you search google images for "success" though.) You don't get up there by yourself. Don't be so naive. It takes a lot of other people to make a leader.

Because, let's face it, you're not really a leader if no one is following you. Just something to think about tonight. 

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