The Makings of a Great Leader
Vince Lombardi carved out a fairly successful life for himself, despite coming from an Italian immigrant family that struggled through the Great Depression. He is best known for his success as an American football coach, particularly with the Green Bay Packers during the 1960’s. Yet it is Lombardi’s words on leadership that are most memorable: “Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
Whether you agree with the philosophy of those words or not, they speak of Lombardi’s own struggle to lead. As the oldest of five, Lombardi was certainly born to a life of leading and setting an example for his siblings. Yet he didn’t excel or enjoy the role of being the eldest. At the age of 12 Lombardi found football. He loved it. It was an escape, even if he wasn’t athletic or talented, Vince Lombardi was happy on the football field. His play was aggressive, enthusiastic and insightful. By his own words, Lombardi learned valuable lessons on the field, such as perseverance and to never underestimate the opposition.
After some time at Fordham University, Lombardi landed himself a coaching position at a high school. His poor eyesight prevented a professional football career, but Lombardi’s love for the game translated to coaching. Every coaching position Lombardi held pushed him to be a leader, and it was his motivation that made him a good leader. He was motivated by his love for the game. By that same theory, his words “Leaders are made, not born” is truth. Lombardi was made a good leader through his love of the game, and the lessons he learned along the way.
Transparency in Leadership
The spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, said “The nature of our motivation determines the character of our work.” As a leader, what are the reasons for daily procedures? Do they serve an end purpose that is equitable? What are the repercussions of the principle objectives? What is your motivation – as a leader – to be a leader? By having a clear and honest awareness of your own interests, you can identify with your team. Lombardi identified with his players through a mutual love of the game, and everyone saw it. Likewise, the interests of a business should be transparent, as should those of the staff and management. Engage in a global brainstorming session within the company. Be crystal clear about the direction of the company, answer questions honestly and never, ever tell a lie. Honesty, clarity, and inclusion will show your team exactly where your interests lie. And that will make you a great leader.
Conduct is a word that is all over the business section of newspapers these days. Every company has a code of conduct, yet few actually enforce it. As a leader it is your responsibility to motivate your team within the margins of the code of conduct. It is your responsibility to demonstrate your desire for a wholly healthy workplace by enforcing the code of conduct. Moreover, by not allowing a breach of conduct to take place, you are exhibiting a crucial indication of respect for every individual in your employ. Making the tough calls in a graceful manner is a sign of a true leader.
Train Your Mind, Train Your Team
The Dalai Lama also said “The leader has to recognize when negative emotions like frustration, impatience, anger, lack of self-confidence, jealousy, greed start to influence his thought processes.” He goes on to say all that negativity leads to making bad decisions and wastes energy. Were truer words every spoken? In these tumultuous economic times it can be so incredibly easy to lose focus, to just glide along on our emotions until there is a sudden implosion. No matter how well you hide it, your team senses the negativity. As a leader, as an example to the team, as the one who sets the tone of the business, as a motivator, it is your responsibility to train your mind.
Napoleon I of France wrote in his 1916 memoir “Once can lead a nation by helping it see a bright outlook. A leader is a dealer in hope.” Having hope and vision in business is obviously important, but for a leader to take ownership of negativity and change it means the success of the team. Acknowledge the reality of the negativity then work through it for a solution. Engage the help of the team. Stay positive, but realistic. Every problem has a solution, but only if the proper attitude is in place.
About the Author: Jeremy Pradell is a representative of MetroFax Online Fax as a product specialist. Join MetroFax on Twitter for all the latest updates on internet faxing, business technology and more.
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