I think Jay Conger would agree with me: Being a leader isn’t like being a manager on steroids.
Being a leader demands new skills and new perspective. The crucial skills of a leader are: the ability to see opportunity, to communicate, to align and delegate, to direct, and to recognize and listen. These skills must then be applied by the individual leader to build motivation, respect and accomplishment.
As I view his interview with Maril, I see these aspects of leadership brought out and explained in a very clear fashion. In particular, I appreciate Jay’s recognition that the communication skills of the leader are critical to the success of leaders and their organizations. That ability to communicate makes a huge difference.
Early in my work life, I met a very successful owner of a men’s clothing store. He would personally work with his well-heeled customers in selecting and fitting expensive suits. As the customer was walking out with his purchase, the young sales clerk at the tie counter would smile and say something like “Can I show you a tie to go with your blue suit? Everybody needs a new tie or two with a new suit.” The clerk would lay out a selection of appropriate ties and far more often than not, make an additional sale.
The customer was happy, the sales clerk was happy, and the store owner was happy.
I asked the owner how the tie salesperson knew which color suit the customer had purchased, in order to make a proper offering. The owner smiled, and said, “He is instructed to look back here at me as the customer proceeds to exit the store. I’ll hold up my fingers: one finger means a blue suit, two fingers means a gray suit, and three fingers means a brown suit. That way he knows what to say.”
This owner was helping his employee to be successful. That is the essence of leadership: help others to be successful.
What do you think? Is leadership about helping others to be successful?