Saturday, September 21, 2013

A Leadership Experience

This past week, I had the privilege of watching a group of leadership program candidates graduate from their experience.  As a Board Member for a local trade association, I was there as this program is a Board sponsored program. 

There were some important lessons that I took away from this dinner, aside from the fact the dinner, was AWESOME!  All of these lessons are more "duh" moments when you sit back and think about it, however, they definitely served as reminders that you have to take the time to get  back to the basics from time to time as leader.

1. Leadership is a journey, not a destination
2. Each person has their individual spin they put on leadership
3. Have a dream; develop a plan; execute on your strategy
4. No two leaders execute in the same manner, nor are their experiences the same
5. Just because leadership styles are different, doesn't mean one is more right than another
6. If you are learning in a homogeneous environment, you lose diversity in thought and experiences
7. Successful leaders are always networking and exchanging ideas
8. Leaders must be open to differing perspectives and allow results to happen as a consequence of execution
9. Leadership is not about the leader
10. Leaders must take the time to "smell the roses" and celebrate the success of their teams and organizations
11. Leaders need to be facilitators for growth and development, not managers of activities
12. Leaders don't need to be the smartest person in the room, but they need to have vision and effective communication skills

These 2013 graduates of The Austin Contact Center Association Service Leadership Academy did a great job in their journey.  Several of the graduates are already on their way to successful adventures inside their organizations, but also outside of their organization.  I don't think that they realize how much they taught this member of the audience.  I hope they do now.

Have a great week!


  1. Mark- You have touched on many of the basics of leadership.
    Good leaders are made not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. In order to achieve this good leaders must develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience. Many of the people we think are leaders, maybe CEOs just have positions of authority, they can use their power and resources to make things happen – that does not guarantee them as leaders. Leadership is a process by which a person influences others.

  2. Terrific post, Mark. I'm fortunate that I had terrific leadership training thru the union I once served and more recently thru Toastmasters.

  3. So many leaders forget the basics. They think their style is the only way. They're not open to other perspectives. They make it all about them. Leaders need reminded of these things to make their team work efficiently.

  4. LOL - I came out with similar conclusions with my interval running. Love #3 - I had to tweet that one.

  5. There is no set formula for leadership. What works for one person doesn't work for another.

    The interesting thing is that only maximum 10% of human beings have the personality it takes to lead. The rest are just managers.

    Consequently, the only option 90% of humanity has is to learn some leadership tactics. That will at least enable them to lead a bit, instead of just managing.

  6. Mark this is great! I have taken notes. Many people have the wrong idea of what leadership is especially in the work place. These points are simple to digest but strong in what they mean.

  7. Wonderful post! And I love that you pointed out that although styles may vary, a leader can still succeed in mentoring and guiding.

  8. Wow what a great experience that must have been. I love being able to watch people succeed and this graduation is definitely a success. I love #10. It is true you need to focus on the employees and the success sometimes. :-)

  9. Those are some great leadership points.

  10. Those are some very profound observations. Aren't you lucky to be on that board and have these experiences? All your points are very thought provoking, and I particularly like the last one - a leader doesn't have to be the smartest one in the room. It's true! You just need to have the smartest person around on your team ...

  11. In particular I like, #5 - Just because leadership styles are different, doesn't mean one is more right than another. This is a good reminder for my tribe of introverts, and even baby boomers, who think because they are not extroverted enough or have some ideas that you don't hear about too much, does NOT mean you have to change if you are getting results.

    Over from LinkedIn group BHB

  12. Excellent list. I was trying to pick the key learning that had the most resonance with me and couldn't. All of the ideas are sound and I think if there is a theme it is that you have to be open to ideas and differences if you are aiming to be a successful leader. Great post.

  13. Wonderful post! I was just commenting on another's blog about a particular leader and touched on several of your points. I have a lot of respect for great leaders. I was in a leadership position a few years ago as a business owner and I don't think I was very good at it! I sure learned a lot. Put me back in that situation now and I'm sure I'd be better...I hope. But I do think that great leaders have some kind of 'knack' for it whether it being able to listen effectively, support with sincerity or delegate fluently and succinctly. And I absolutely agree that leadership is a journey! Great post, thank you!

  14. I really like number 8. I had not thought of it before, but it makes complete sense to me.

  15. I agree that everyone has their own leadership spin. That's one of the ways you was determine if you like their style.