Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What Is A Leader?

Yesterday I was very proud to announce the promotion of one of my partners, Christine K of Durham.

Christine has displayed many leadership qualities in her short time working with our organization. She constantly asks questions, listens and implements well.

Many of my partners and myself have regularly commented on how Christine is a leader, and it got me thinking, What is a Leader?

So, as I do here regularly, I searched out to some of my mentors and read and read and read on what it is that they "deem" a leader...

I pulled together a few leadership points and felt the urge to feature them here for anyone looking to become a leader, or for those who feel they already a leader and want to just "double-check"...


Everyone influences others to some degree. Yes?

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean you a very good leader does it... but that is altogether a different story!

Even if you are in need of some help in the leadership department, and we all are, here are some skills that we can all work on (immediately) to help us all become the leader we truly want to be. Then you will be able to influence those around you like never before!

1. Good Communicator. Extraordinary Leaders are those who can take the vision they have and communicate it in ways that their followers can easily understand, internal, and own. Then, and only then, can they carry it out! So focus on speaking and writing more clearly, and with the passion that you have for the vision you have. Use different ways of communicating, including different ways verbally and non-verbally. Above all, communicate often!

2. "Sees" the End Result Long Before Others. I think the greatest compliment on my leadership skills I ever received came from a gentleman who told me that "you see things about 6 months before the rest of us." Without tooting my own horn (okay, a little bit maybe...), that is a skill of a leader. They are always looking out ahead of themselves and their situations. Followers are worried about what happens today, while leaders are thinking about and strategizing about what they see for tomorrow. Be constantly looking ahead. Practice making projections. Get good at "seeing" the future. When you can do this better than others, they will look to you for leadership!

3. Ability to Define Goals for Self and Others. Do you know what your goals are? Can you define them? Can you articulate them clearly (see number one)? Can you do this for those who follow? Can you define and set their goals? A Extraordinary Leader works at clarity and definition of goals so that they can be internalized and acted upon by others. Work hard at this skill and others will follow!

4. Ability to Set Strategy and Course of Action. What will you do to reach the goal? Many people can say where we should go, but it is the Extraordinary Leader who can lay out a plan for everyone to get there! Work at laying out a plan for you and your followers. Remember that there are people with different skill and passion levels, and take this into account! Get good at this and when people want to get to their goals in a hurry, they will call on you to lead!

5. Ability to Teach Others. One of the greatest leadership development companies in the world has been General Electric. This is because their CEO, Jack Welch, has always emphasized the need for current leaders to teach others. He himself spends what others would consider an extraordinary amount of time in the classroom teaching. But remember, he is an Extraordinary Leader and he is developing Extraordinary Leaders to follow behind him. Work hard at your teaching techniques, and be sure to use as many situations as possible for the opportunity to teach those who would follow.

6. Ability to Inspire Others. You may have a great goal, but if you want to be an Extraordinary Leader, then you will have to put a little oomph under your followers! This is the ability to inspire! Work at helping them to see the big picture, the great end results, and how good it is going to be for them and others. Above all, make it exciting. If it is a good goal, it should be exciting. If it isn't exciting, then dump it and get a goal that others can get excited about!

7. Delegates. An Extraordinary Leader is rarely a person who is doing everything him or herself. Extraordinary Leaders get there job done by teaching others. They figure out the way, communicate the way, and inspire the followers to go that way, and then they get OUT OF THE WAY! Delegate to your people. Empower them! Set them free to soar!

According to some of my mentors, this is what an Extraordinary Leader does. Leaders who do it any other way are just extraordinarily tired at the end of the day with very little to show for it!

So, my advice...Print off the Top 7. Put them on your fridge, bedroom door, vision board etc. Read them and (more importantly) implement them daily.

Now, who's up for becoming Extraordinary!



  1. A true leader always inspire others to become better at what they do. To always reinvent themselves and create opportunities instead of seeing obstacles. This is what you have done for me Bill Banham. I am very proud to have you leading the way not only for me but for the rest of us who wants to step out of the shadow. Thank you!

  2. Christine, there's an old saying you can lead a horse to water but you can't force them to drink...

    You and Mark not only drank the water, but are enroute to sipping fine champagne whenever you want, wherever you want, with whomever you want...Enjoy the ride...


  3. Bill Great post buddy...Im always trying to find ways to personally better myself...My philosophy is this......"your success is only determined based on the amount of personal growth your willing to go through"...Based on that, the one principle a leader should deffinately have is a good Attitude. This quality will determine weather an indivdiual is successful or not... Ive come to realize that success is not just based on talent, but rather more importantly based on ones attitude towards life in general..In order to attract people you desire most...you have to be attractive..... 85% percent of your success is determined bases on how good a leader is with people relations and the other 15% is maybe based on talent..... That in my eyes is powerful my friend......So in closing....I ask myself a question everyday and that is "what type of attidude am i projecting out today and what can I do to correct it to better myself tomorrow?".... if people can detect what attidide they have and focus building a positive attitude then positve attractive people will come your way....

  4. Vince, great comment. You know what, I need to ask myself that very same question every day. Thanks for the reminder...