If you’ve been following my latest tweets (is it just me or does that still sound kind of strange?) 🙂 you know I’m in the process of reading WINNING by Jack & Suzy Welch and totally loving it. I’ve read one previous book about the former 20-year G.E. Chair & CEO but this is my first one by him (never read his previous books).
His chapter on Leadership is entitled, “IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT YOU.” The fourth and fifth paragaphs sum up his premise on leadership in two brief sentences. They are . . .
Before you are a leader, success is all abut growing yourself.
When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.
While this is a theme that runs through many excellent books on leadership it is what one tends to actually notice in the truly great leaders. While any leader (even a leader based strictly on position) can talk a good game of putting others first, the great ones (What Jim Collins – in his excellent book, Good to Great – calls, “Level Five Leaders”) really do it. It’s simply who they are and how they operate. It is their core essence.
These leaders are “other-focused” as opposed to “I-focused.” They are quick to credit others when things go right and just as quick to accept the blame when things go wrong.
And, to paraphrase an old saying, “they accomplish a lot because they don’t care who gets the credit.” Of course, in the end – and usually long before the end – they also receive a lot of credit, reflected by the respect and admiration of others…and the size of their paychecks.
In John David Mann’s and my book, The Go-Giver, Law Number Three, “The Law of Influence” states, “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.” While the story is told from the point of view of a salesperson the same holds true for a leader, whether that leader leads a family, a tribe, a small division or a huge company or organization.
Actually, the most effective leaders are great salespeople; after all, they sell us on how much potential we have and help bring out our best. And, they do this because their focus is not on themsleves, but on others; they put other people’s intersts first and we respect and admire them for this. Most importantly, we willingly follow them.
What leaders do you know of personally or by reputation who embody Mr. Welch’s (and Mr. Collins’) teaching? Are you that type of leader? I’d love to hear from you.