Leading by Example at American Income Life
Wayne Lukas said, “the speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack”. This is true in every arena where leaders are present. Every leader is measured by the production of their team. In fact, the very existence of any leader depends solely on the production of their team. How many head coaches have been replaced before the season was even over due to the lack of wins? Rich Rodriguez, once known as a “hot coaching commodity” boasted a 33 win and 5 loss program in his last 3 years at West Virginia. This same coach crashed and burned during his tenure at Michigan. Stepping into an opportunity with the winningnest college football program in history he racked up a 15-22 losing record in his 3 year tenure.
CEOs such as Carol Bartz of Yahoo and Leo Apotheker of Hewlett –Packard find themselves out of leadership positions as fast as they found themselves in them. Even some of the world’s most powerful leaders such as President George Bush have lost their leadership roles. Why is it that some leaders build successes that are sustainable while others seem to have only fleeting moments?
Leaders that practice what they preach, roll up their sleeves and show their team how to create success, and then join them in the building process seem to provide an unshakable foundation. Leaders that listen to their team are heard by their team. It is these leaders who build foundations that sustain rapid growth over long periods of time.
One of the greatest examples of just this sort of leader lies in the legendary career of Jack Welch. Jack Welch took General Electric to new heights during his time with them. He was a passionate leader who walked a fine line of right and wrong. He stayed true to his convictions and way of doing things. He lived and died by his word and his team came to believe that you could take anything he said straight to the bank. Mr. Welch didn’t bark orders while sitting behind a desk. He was in the trenches daily. In fact, he developed the idea of “boundary less organization”! He believed that in order to grow GE he could not limit himself to the upper level managers. He made himself available to every level employee in the company. That’s right – if the lowest level employee had an idea to share, he wanted to hear it. He gave ownership to all, he gave himself to all and in turn the team gave themselves to him. They followed him to great successes!
Leaders who choose not to walk the talk will never command the respect and trust of their team. While the team may have some measurable success initially, it is impossible for these leaders to capitalize on that momentum and propel the team forward to new heights that can be sustained.
Are you leading by example at American Income Life? Are you participating in the growth and development of your team? Are you listening to every team member? Are you practicing what you preach? If so, I look forward to seeing your team at the top of our American Income Life leader board for many years to come. If you are not, I encourage you to remember these words by Wil Rogers-“even if you are on the right track you will get run over if you just sit there”.
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