Companies That Win are Companies that Teach.
By Dr. Rick Johnson
Monday, 9th August 2010
Winning organizations seem to have a knack for leadership development throughout their organization; one key principle that I have found present in this type of organization is the fact that they hire well and they fire better. Generally their managers have been trained on the interviewing and hiring process.

This is rare phenomenon. Ask yourself how many of your managers have really been trained on the interviewing process? Companies that actually do train their managers have a high success rate for finding and keeping good employees is above average.

Recruitment and retention becomes part of their culture and the responsibility of everyone. Leadership is more than just a word in these companies and leadership potential is sought out, encouraged and developed.

Who has Leadership Potential?

Virtually every individual employee has some level of leadership potential. However, there are obvious clear differences in level of potential within different individuals. This level of potential varies due to a number of reasons including:

1. Education
2. Experience
3. Personality profile
4. Historical social environment
5. Job fit
6. Attitude
7. Personal intelligence quotient
8. Cultural back round
9. Personal values and ethics

Obviously not everyone can be the CEO just as not everyone can be a professional golfer. However, most of us can play the game of golf. Even if an employee doesn't have the potential to become the next CEO it does not mean that their leadership skills can't be developed and nourished. The critical factor we must recognize is that everyone has some form of leadership potential within.

Every successful leader I have ever known has taken direct responsibility for the development of leadership in others.

True Effective Leadership is a Scarce Commodity

"Rick, I've been with this company twenty years. What's the point in trying all this 21st century leadership mumbo jumbo?"

It's never too late to accept the responsibility for your personal leadership development or the development of leadership skills in your subordinates. One of the biggest needs today in the majority of organizations is the unique leadership ability to transform the organization to win in tomorrow's environment.

This is not just the responsibility of the CEO. Leaders at all levels of the management hierarchy need to develop this type of leadership. Then and only then can an organization create and maintain competitive advantage.

Companies that Excel are Companies that Teach

I have been in wholesale distribution for over thirty five years. During that period I have worked with a lot of companies that were considered winners and many that could be considered losers.

In fact during my ten years as a Turn-A-Round specialist I focused mainly on companies that were losing. Unanimously the companies that were losing and even many of the  companies I became associated with during my career that were just riding the tide with no real market growth were facing difficulty because their problem was generally located in the top section of their organization chart and not in the middle or near the bottom.

In other words the problem was due to the lack of effective leadership.  So………………… How are you doing as a leader?

The answer to that question lies in determining how the people you are leading are doing.

Think about these questions in reference to your employees.

1. Do they learn quickly
2. Are they people oriented
3. Do they initiate and manage change
4. Do they think strategically
5. Do they develop their peers and subordinates
6. Do they coach and mentor
7. Do you believe in your employee's abilities
8. Do they empower and delegate
9. Do they gladly accept responsibility
10. Do they want to be held accountable

Bench Strength & Universal Succession

Companies that maximize their effectiveness have that unique ability because they teach and develop leaders throughout their organization. They recognize that succession is universal throughout their organization and not just a concept for the transfer of ownership. Bench strength becomes a key principle of their success. Companies that win have strong leadership intertwined throughout their organization.

That leadership is not just represented by titles. A fork truck driver in the warehouse can demonstrate a level of leadership that contributes to competitive advantage just as easily as the sales manager can. Leadership is not limited to management. It takes leaders at all levels in the organization to achieve the speed and ability to change in order to survive especially during tough economic times.

Position and title may give you power but power in itself does not make you an effective leader. To become an effective leader there are specific skill sets that you must understand and master. This does not come naturally. It takes dedication, passion and commitment to the process.

That commitment, dedication and passion includes a tireless effort to improve on specific skills and the development of a personal leadership methodology. This is often referred to as your personal leadership model.

Reshape Your Personal Leadership Model

An effective leader must be able to interact with employees, peers, seniors and many other individuals both inside and outside the organization. Leaders must gain the support of many people to meet or exceed established objectives. This means that they must develop or possess a unique understanding of people.

The ability to coach-mentor and teach leadership skills to others is the driving force that will create a winning organization. Being an effective leader requires the understanding of the principles that govern employee behavior. Accomplish that and success is imminent.

If you can teach and develop leadership in your employees, your personal leadership effectiveness will improve. That old saying; "If you want to learn something fast --- teach it." holds true for leadership development.

But remember, there is no such thing as a "Born Leader" even though every human being has some level of innate leadership potential. Effective leaders go through a never ending development process. You never stop learning, you never stop growing and you should never stop teaching and developing leadership in others.

Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution's "Leadership Strategist", founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com.  Don't forget to check out the Lead Wolf Series that can help you put more profit into your business.


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