Who are the great leaders in our industry today? Can anyone name a person who passionately directs and motivates a company to greatness? Where have all of the exceptional leaders gone?
Let’s be clear, there are some very smart people in our industry, but rarely do the smartest have the ability to inspire and lead. When a real leader enters the room, no one
has to introduce him or her as the boss.
In the days of beepers and landlines, companies had to rely on actual people to motivate and communicate direction. There were no streaming videos, texts, or endless email strings—“old school” methods of direct contact reigned supreme when making important decisions. Leaders had to sell their message in person or face the consequences directly with their team.
Let’s be honest, executives who use email and texts for announcing major changes in their company are doing so because they lack the ability to communicate properly in person. New technologies are great communication tools, but they shouldn’t be the primary method of getting a message across. Smartphones and similar products will
dumb down the voice of a great leader, while enhancing that of a mediocre leader with great tech skills. Sam Walton was a great business leader, and he never sent the first text.
Without passion there is no leadership—or at least that’s my belief. I’ve been around too many executives who are just going through the motions while waiting for retirement or the next big gig. If you lack real passion for your business—the kind that causes you to blurt out profanities and get fired up like a Crimson Tide fan before kickoff—then you need to find something else to do. You cannot lead a company or any business unless you bleed their colors.
Are you comfortable enough in your own skin to be different, or have you been cloned by some MBA program to act like everyone else? When you look at great leaders, what do you see? Characters. These guys didn’t just break the mold. Rather, they morphed from their unique background and passion
to make a new mold. If you’ve been programmed to act and behave just like everyone else, then good luck in standing out. Great leaders don’t care what everyone else is saying or doing; they stay focused on just
one thing: winning.
Great leaders build relationships. They know how to speak with their customers, peers, and everyone who works for them. Most importantly, they have the gumption
to speak their mind, defend their position, and take the heat. Great leadership hasn’t changed; however, it has been skewed by a culture that focuses too much on the new methods of communication instead of the actual message itself.