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Can Leaders Be Made Or Are They Born?

As I read and re-read Think and Grow Rich and begin to migrate this marvelous piece of work into Keen’s Leadership development program, I have to first look at myself and shore my own capabilities and capacities up to those leaders that I admire. Currently, I am in the middle of assembling Keen’s executive advisory board and Keen’s leadership team. The nice part of a recession is our recruitment process has gleaned many suitors, the awesome thing about it is – I selected and continue to select team members out of abundance not scarcity. I know that what KeenHire offers is more than cool. It more than makes a difference in High Tech, Information Technology, Energy, Robotics and Heathcare companies, and therefore I also know that I can attract, select and retain the best of the best as my partners, executives and staff. If I want the best, I also know that I need to be the best. I can never be ‘done’ developing myself or getting better. I don’t look at this as a burden, I look at it as a challenge and part of my mission.

When I look at the leaders I have worked with through out the years in running a staffing business and in actually being a leadership coach; the gap in what is and what isn’t leadership is fairly large. The good news is a person, if their heart really calls them to lead, can choose to be a catalyst and develop them self in the traits necessary to lead with excellence. The bad news is that it is not easy. The guidelines of Napoleon Hill are classic, foundational and fundamental principles for being an extraordinary leader in any walk of life.

Given we are about to face the most challenging workforce of our lives, everyone in leadership is going to have to step it up, tell the truth about what works and doesn’t and get help to get better.

We will all be stretched, we will all need to be better with people than we have ever been. We will need to engage and inspire while developing, coaching and acknowledging. We will need to be mavens at the hiring process and performance management and if we can’t find a way to be a leader who is skilled at those types of competencies, we need to step aside and recruit and hire someone who is naturally competent at it; for it we don’t the competitor next door will swoop down on our top talent and whoo them away.

Actually, even when we are at our best, our mission critical and difference making key players may still get lured away. Keep in mind, the word on the Talent Management Street is that people don’t leave companies, they leave Managers – so our job as leaders is to be and create excellent managers, specifically the managers who lead the best and brightest of Sales, Engineering, of our workforce.

Think and Grow Rich

Organized Planning

The Crystallization of Desire into Action

The Major Attributes Of Leadership

1. Unwavering Courage – Based upon knowledge of self and of one’s occupation. No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self-confidence and courage. No intelligent follower will be dominated by such a leader for very long.

2. Self-Control – People who cannot control themselves can never control others. Self-control sets a mighty example for one’s followers, which the more intelligent will emulate.

3. A Keen Sense of Justice – Without a sense of fairness and justice, no leader can command and retain the respect of his or her followers.

4. Definiteness Of Decision – People who waver in decisions show that they are not sure of themselves. They cannot lead others successfully.

5. Definiteness of Plans – The successful leader must plan the work, and work the plan. A leader who moves by guesswork without practical definite plans is comparable to a ship without a rudder. Sooner or later they will land on the rocks.

6. The Habit of Doing More than Paid For – One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness, on the part of the leaders, to do more than they require of their followers.

7. A Pleasing Personality – No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect leaders who do not score highly on all factors of a pleasing personality.

8. Sympathy and Understanding – Successful leaders must be in sympathy with their followers. Moreover, they must understand them and their problems.

9. Mastery of Detail – Successful leadership calls for mastery of details in the leader’s position.

10. Willingness to Assume Full Responsibility – Successful leaders must be willing to assume responsibility for the mistakes and shortcomings of their followers. If they try to shift this responsibility they will not remain leaders. If followers make mistakes and become incompetent, it is the leader who has failed.

11. Cooperation – Successful Leaders must understand and apply the principle of cooperative effort and be able to induce followers to do the same. Leadership calls for power, and power calls for cooperation.

There are two forms of leadership. The first and by far the most effective, is leadership by consent of, and with the sympathy of, the followers. The second is leadership by force, without the consent and sympathy of al the followers.


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