A Short Leadership Story - The Joys of Leadership

A Short Leadership Story

A Short Leadership Story -  There is an old saying that leaders go where others fear to tread, and maybe that is so, as least in part. There is another old saying that says that if you think that you are a leader, then look behind you and be sure that there are others who are following. If there is no one there, you may need to rethink things a bit.

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A Short Leadership Story - I was the captain of a winning high school football team

Many times leadership is born out of necessity, as when something needs to be done, don't wait for someone else to do it, just get it taken care of.

In my lifetime I have frequently been in the leadership role, although not necessarily always by choice. I was the captain of a winning high school football team, and in school I frequently found myself as the chairperson of committees and groups.

Quite the background for leadership, you might say, however I do believe that to be a good leader you have to have had people in your life who you followed as a follower, so that you know what the characteristics are that move you to follow someone.

This performance management definition is simplistic, however, in that it does not explain how these goals can be achieved. The management team must make sure that everyone in the organization both knows and understands:

The character of a leader revolves around that person's ability to see the problem, know how to solve it and be able to enlist others to the cause. That involves vision, the ability to reason out a solution, and the ability to effectively communicate to others how they can chip in and help.

A Short Leadership Story - Leadership takes self confidence

In that sense of the word, leadership is not necessarily a natural trait, because no one is necessarily born with all of those attributes, but it would be safe to say that they are developed by experience.

Leadership takes self confidence, and it also requires patience, for not everyone is going to see the whole problem like the leader will. In many cases the leader has to break down the process into "bite size" units and assign those units to people who are capable of solving the "unit" issue.

When you have leadership qualities, you will have plenty of opportunities to display and live by them. I have been active in leadership in several distinct areas of my life in high school teaching and coaching, leadership positions in the church, and in fact my wife and I pioneered our own church, but the most significant role was as a field training manager in the life insurance business.

The reason that this role was significant to me is the fact that if the people that I trained were to become successful, it would materially and emotionally change the individual and his or her family situation for the rest of their life.

A Short Leadership Story - Ultimately rewarding occupation

I was very fortunate to have had a mentor in this role who trained me in such a manner as to leave no doubt as to what had to be done. He impressed upon me that the "what" to be done was not the hard part. The difficult part was getting the gumption to do it, because at first it seems like you are working in an entirely negative atmosphere in the life insurance business.

The sale of life insurance to the general public is an extremely difficult, but ultimately rewarding occupation. No one really enjoys talking about the subject because it reminds them of dying and most people would emotionally rather just put it off.

However we were taught an excellent way to overcome most people's objections by offering a thorough analysis of their present situation with information about tying their life insurance to a will and trust, so even if both parents were to die together, the children would be properly raised.

The newly recruited agent at first was very timid about approaching those that he knew, but I promised to show him that it would work well, if he or she followed our program.

A Short Leadership Story

This is where leadership came into play, whether I wanted to go with the new agent or not. I promised the new agent that if he or she took me to people he or she knew, we would sell life insurance to them, and we did, time after time.

Each time that we went to see someone for an appointment, that little know in the pit of my stomach would raise its ugly head, and that small sense of failure would also enter in.

Since it was up to me in the beginning of the relationship with the new agent to show how this system worked, I had to perform in the role.

I am glad to say that this was a role that taught me the most about leadership. I learned that if you have a worthwhile cause that is legal and helpful to others, you can follow the path of making the cause become real to all those who need its results, even though there may be difficult hurdles on the path to success.

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