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Leadership Lessons: Are You a Leader?

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Can you learn leadership from a book? Yes. Does that make you a leader? No. The only way that you can be a leader is to lead. 

Does that sound daunting? Does this mean you must lead an organization to learn to be a leader? No, but it does mean you should get a firm handle on what leading actually is. One note first. The most important thing about leadership is that it isn’t a position. One of the strongest leaders I’ve ever known was a service technician apprentice.  

To lead is to influence. If you want to lead, you have to influence. And, taking it one step further, if you want to become an effective leader, you have to be a positive influence. Simply put, good leadership is positive influence. 

 How do you become a leader?

The best way to become a leader is to apply what you learn while you are learning leadership.  

Leadership expert John Maxwell was asked, “What’s the most important thing to know about leadership?” He said, “To lead well, we must do 21 things well.”  

Maxwell is referring to his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership 

The operative word in Maxwell’s response is “do.” At the end of each chapter in the book, he provides a section titled “Applying.” To do equals to apply. 

Now, let’s take the pressure off!

To lead doesn’t mean you have to be first on the battlefield with your troops closely on your heels. It doesn’t mean you have to be the sage on the stage. And it isn’t about telling others what to do.  

 Examples of leading: 

  • Add value to others 
  • Be trustworthy 
  • Respect others 
  • Set an example with your behavior 
  • Connect with others 

Do you notice the common factor here?  

Yes, it’s “doing!” Our behavior determines if we are leading. 

So, whether or not you read a book or attend a class/seminar on leadership, the only way that experience translates to leading is if action is taken in addition to the knowledge you are learning. If you apply what you learn, you are leading. 

He took massive action.

In the early teens, contractor Chris Hunter turned heads. His company, Hunter Heating and Cooling, was experiencing phenomenal growth in the small Oklahoma town of Ardmore.  

Chris’s formula for success was not complicated nor was it a mystery. He told everyone at the time, “I read what Ron Smith said to do in his book HVAC Spells Wealth, and I took massive action!” Chris also studied John Maxwell and took massive action on what he was learning. In addition, he introduced Maxwell’s leadership material to his coworkers and entrenched the concept of taking massive action. A few years later, private equity firms battled each other for the opportunity to buy Chris’s company. 

Chris is still taking massive action and finding success today as a Principal Industry Advisor for ServiceTitan and cofounder of the Go Time Success Group 

Why consultants are busy.

Most contractors do not do what Chris did. They’ll go to a class, seminar, or webinar and learn the material (hopefully). The reason consultants stay busy is that these contractors are not applying what they’re learning. They are hardly taking action, much less massive action! 

Imagine the possibilities when you take action. Then, double that when you take massive action. 

Are you still not convinced?

Simply dwell on this maxim from sales guru David Sandler: “You can’t learn how to ride a bicycle at a seminar.” 

Take massive action and apply what you are learning.  

It’s Go Time! 


Dave Rothacker
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Posted In: ACCA Now, Leadership & Planning, Leadership Development

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