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10 Things You Do Not Know About Leadership #10

Welcome to the tenth and final installment of the 10 Things You Do Not Know About Leadership. In this weekly, series I cover topics that tend to be overlooked, forgotten, or completely misunderstood. By sharing with you, it is my hope and belief that I help in eradicating many of the misconceptions that come with leadership.


Did you know the true purpose of a leader is to make new leaders?

Again, let’s not confuse managers with leaders. They are two different iterations of the same individual.
I have always stood by this premise: Any leader can be a manager but NOT every manager can be a leader.

That’s why we have Great Leaders and bad managers. There is no such thing as a bad leader but there is such a thing as a great manager. See where I am going with this?

While bad managers should never even consider creating future bad managers, yet far too many are creating them right now as we speak. Good managers know to find those diamonds in the rough and help mold them into future good managers.
Unfortunately, I have seen this far too often and those bad managers will take under their wing the individuals that are, for lack of better terms, suck ups, kiss ass, the bully, the friend, friend of a friend or worse still a child of a friend thus perpetuating the continued growth and development of bad managers.

Try to prove me wrong and I bet you cannot.

Leaders this is where you have to step in. For the most part, good leaders know the difference between who can do the job and who can bully their way through the job.

Leaders of all types create leaders. I say this because to be a leader your followers recognize you as one. As it is your followers that make you the leader. It is your followers that will do and deliver what you ask of them.

It is also your followers that will promote you to others. It is through them promoting you that you will find new followers and future leaders.

As a current or future leader, it is through leading by example that you will gain the follower but it will also be how you create new leaders. In some cases, you will know that you are creating new leaders as those individuals will begin to emulate you. In other cases, their change from follower to new leader will be subtle. That change will be so subtle that you will not recognize it until after they have their own set of followers.

Always remember and never forget, all Leaders exists not to create more followers but to make leaders and that’s the bottom line.

The best and fastest way is to make future leaders is to be the best most authentic self you can be. This does not mean you have to be on your best behavior. Of course, we all know that being on your best behavior never works. It means that you have to be true to yourself 100% of the time. People will appreciate the individual that pulls no punches. The individual that is not afraid to question you or call anyone out on their bullshit.

Leaders, you will face many challenges over the course of your life. Remember as the song I DON’T WANT YOUR LOVE by Duran Duran says “I cannot sit down, I can’t shut my mouth but when you understand me, you might feel good around me, now back it up!”

Thus, it is through remaining TRUE to yourself that others will recognize, gain a deeper understanding, and gravitate towards you. Then they will want to be like you. Of course, for any number of reasons those that follow you will want to step up and take the challenge of becoming a leader.

When it comes to making, creating, inspiring, empowering, and encouraging new future leader, current leaders you join that elite group of leaders, of Great Leaders that include the likes of General George Patton, President George Washington, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, and other such individuals.

You join their ranks because you are creating new leaders.

Now is the time…Now Is The Time To Get To Work!

Until Next Time, I Thank You.

blog Leadership Leadership Principles Walking Leader

10 Things You Do Not Know About Leadership #9

Welcome to the ninth installment of the 10 Things You Do Not Know About Leadership. In this weekly, series I cover topics that tend to be overlooked, forgotten, or completely misunderstood. By sharing with you, it is my hope and belief that I help in eradicating many of the misconceptions that come with leadership.

#9 Leadership is Lonely

Even the most popular of all great leaders were some of the loneliest people ever. To the outsiders it might seem like a popularity contest but only those in it to look good or go through the motions may be popular but most will never become GREAT LEADERS.

Greatness comes at a price. A price far too many are not prepared to pay.

As the song LIMELIGHT by RUSH (click here to view video on YouTube) goes “Cast in this unlikely role, Ill-equipped to act with insufficient tact. One must put up barriers to keep oneself intact.”

It can be difficult to always be in the limelight.

Those barriers the song refers to are there to protect the leader and strict adherence in order keep the sanity of all involved in check. Ensuring separation between the personal and professional lives is also maintained.

As maintaining separation can tag you as someone that is not understood, as you never imitate others. As you are not mimicking others because you prefer to blaze your own trail a s opposed to following someone who is also following someone else. Where’s the fun in that? Blaze your own trail, cut your own path, be the point man and get out there.

Again, when it comes to blazing your own trail, cutting your own path, being the point man, you are out in front. There is no one else in front of you. Remember, if there was someone in front of you then you are NOT leading but instead following.

Remember when it comes to leadership being lonely, comes from not being easily understood. People that are not ready to lead or be led will find those that are ready to lead or are already leading others a bit difficult to understand and follow.

Leaders, current and future, please keep in mind that their inability to understand you is not your fault, that is on them. But, know that you are going to have your work cut out for your and that is to be expected because as a leader’s job is never done.

Let me break it down. You work for an organization and there is a new manager coming on board of course, anyone new will bring their own ideas and concepts to the new job. As expected, those that have been with the company a while, usually are a hesitant to change. Thus, their defenses are up and their “go-to” is that they cannot understand you and what you are trying to do. So, the leader gets isolated. While it is not a good thing when it happens, it happens nonetheless.

Because you are unique & you never imitate others will find it difficult to associate you with someone or something familiar to them.

Leaders are a different breed of individuals; they are not afraid to be alone when it comes to leading. They understand that while the mission must be accomplished and goals must be set, they also know that nothing should get in the way of doing what must be done.

Therefore, when leaders are doing their thing, others will find it different and will tend to give those leaders the space and time whether they need it or not. However, the difference is what will lead to the leader’s isolation whether imposed by others or self-imposed by the leader.

Another sad reality is that while people will come to you for advice, arbitration, problem solving, or as a sounding board they seldom include you.

While they recognize you as an authority figure, as a subject matter expert they do so at a level that makes them think twice about including you in their social situations, gatherings, and other such events that are outside of the organization.

That’s alright. As a Leader, you should never put yourself in a position where you can take from the people you are leading. This means never letting your followers get into any situation where they owe you.

As a leader, they have to look to you without any hesitation or reservation. You are the first person they turn to in times of trouble, crisis or concern.

Yet, when a leader crosses the very fine line that separates leaders from followers then all the confidence and support for that leader goes out the window. I have seen many leaders become bad managers when they crossed that line only to find themselves with more “friends” than actual followers.

It is for that reason, that all the great leaders have to keep a tight rein on what influences them and also who they can and cannot influence. In an age where have hundreds and thousands of followers is all the rage, but how much direct impact do leaders have on those in that circle of concern?

To be honest, little to none. So, those things that impact our lives are much smaller than the circle of SOCIAL INFLUENCE.

The things that impact our lives and the lives of others are in the circle of concern and that circle is small and intentionally kept small.

You do a good job of separating yourself from those you lead. My circle of concern is what impacts me the most and that circle is so very small. That circle of concern includes 12 people. My wife, my children, my mother, my brothers, and my in-laws, plus two of the greatest friends I have. Two of the longest lasting friendships I have ever had and that has lasted over 35 years. Yes, just two friends. Two Army buddies.

Everyone else sits somewhere inside that shrinking and ever fading circle of influence. Because, leaders want to lead others, especially in the good times and of course, in the bad times. Any leader worth their salt will ensure that the separation between influence and concern stays in place.

Ensure that fine line is not only visible but reinforced and reminded constantly and consistently both on and off duty. Ensure that you do give a little but do not overdo it, enjoy a little recreation time with them but do not let it get out of hand.

For example, once a quarter go out with the team where the first round is on you and then leave. Once a year, have a holiday gathering but then leave. Being a leader is a lonely position but sharing a laugh, a pint, or breaking bread outside of the office makes it bearable and of course helps set the boundaries.

Always remember and never forget that because you chose to lead them and they made you their leader then give them the respect they deserve even if it means there will be times that you are lonely but also remember, with followers you are never alone.

Until Next Week, I Thank you.
David Guerra, MBA

blog Leadership Leadership Principles Walking Leader

10 Things You Do Not Know About Leadership #8

Welcome to the eighth installment of the 10 Things You Do Not Know About Leadership. In this weekly, series I cover topics that tend to be overlooked, forgotten, or completely misunderstood. By sharing with you, it is my hope and belief that I help in eradicating many of the misconceptions that come with leadership.

#8 Leadership Is About Getting Involved

As I mentioned in the last blog post and video, those you lead want to know you are there. They want to know you are present and approachable. I also mentioned that while you are out there, out on the frontlines you must be doing something more than taking up space, breathing the oxygen of others, or out there to confirm your status as figurehead.

LEADERS ARE NOT FIGUREHEADS. A true Leader would never dream about being a “figurehead”. Genuine & Authentic Leaders are way beyond all that. Figureheads have never been nor will they ever be leaders by any sense of the word.

Leaders rise above being FIGUREHEADS by getting involved. Figureheads that stand around taking up space and using up all the oxygen are for all intents and purposes: USELESS!

Leaders never have to ask what to do. Leaders step in and say, “here, let me help.” Figureheads haven’t a clue and for that reason, when it comes time to be a leader a figurehead sits there wondering what the heck is going on and hopes that someone else, someone at a lower paygrade will know what to do.

Think I am kidding?

You know very damn well I am not kidding.

Leaders that get involved do so not out of a sense of “looking the part” or “playing the role”. Leaders that get involved do so because of sense of obligation not only to themselves but to the people they lead. The obligation to those they lead comes from leaders reminding themselves where they come from. They Remind themselves that they started off out in the trenches, out on the frontlines. They remember that it was difficult, hard, and lonely when they were starting off.

Again, that sense of obligation comes from experiencing life working for bad managers as well as great managers. Working in organizations that cared only about the preservation of those at the top and vowing that if they were ever in a position to do something about it, they would make change happen for the better. Now current and future leaders your opportunity to make good on that vow is here.

Leaders that get involved, especially when they are so high up the organizational tree know they do not have to get involved but know that is why they have to get involved. Leaders on the lower levels of the organization, this is the time to start. It is the time to getting involved now as it will make it easier to continue to get involved as you move up the ranks.

The opposite is true for those that do not get involved and expect followers (aka figureheads). They get exactly what they deserve and that is nothing. They give nothing so they get nothing. But there is a very sad component to all this. For those that give nothing and get nothing for some odd reason expect something. They do not get it and they never will.

So, how does one get involved? Simple, YOU get back into the trenches. You dive in and get in there. Never be invited into the trenches. Never be afraid to get back into the trenches.

Never be afraid to get involved. How does one get involved? Remember, it is not about asking how to get involved. You jump in and start doing. If you have to ask, are you sure you are a leader better yet, are you certain you are ready to lead?

Yet, if you are still uncertain on what to do, well there is always the basics. Get involved by starting with the basics. I promise you there is always a need for someone to do the basics: Chop Wood – Carry Water – Dig Foxholes – Fill Sandbags.

Of course, these are metaphorical substitutes for the basics in your chosen field or vocation. Each vocation or career field has its own set of unique basics. Basics can and should be mastered and kept honed and sharpened constantly and consistently.

Take the following with you as you get ready to get out there: Getting involved should never seem like much to you but to your followers it means everything.

Until Next Week, I Thank you.
David Guerra, MBA