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All of Us Can Be Great Leaders

October 4, 2011

As a marketing professional, I usually attend a few luncheons a year that focus on something specific to my trade. Most of them are worth the time and usually leave me thinking about the subject matter as I approach challenges over time. Recently, I made a last-minute decision to attend an American Marketing Association luncheon with speakers Rhonda L. Shasteen, former chief marketing officer of Mary Kay, and her mentee, author and blogger Alexia Isaak. What I learned will stick with me forever.

Source: CareerSearchToday

Rhonda and Alexia focused the discussion on mentoring and what it takes to be a great leader, opening with an impactful point… that organizations fail because they are run by people who aren’t good leaders. I think they’re right, and here’s what I learned:

  • Lead yourself first. Have passion and willingness to learn.
  • Have integrity and accountability. Seems like must-haves for all leaders. People have to trust and respect you.
  • Work with the team in mind. It’s not just about you. Get out of the way and let people act on their great ideas. People should want to support you.
  • Have endurance. You need persistence and energy to be a great leader.
  • Communicate effectively. Share your vision, be courageous and ask lots of questions.
  • Practice the things you don’t like to do. You won’t get better at something unless you get comfortable first. Once you get through something hard the first time, it’s much easier to do it again.
  • Learn from your failures. Figure out why something didn’t work and try it a different way next time.
  • Have true concern for others. People will go miles for you if they feel cared about.
  • Set the bar to be incredible. A good role model encourages others. Set expectations and help others achieve them.
  • Manage conflict. Have control in all situations. Ask questions to deal with conflict. Don’t act abrasively during challenging times.

Everyone can practice becoming a great leader. Whether it’s in the workplace or our personal lives, Shasteen’s comment that you have to lead yourself first really hit home. As far as my workplace, I’m lucky to have great leaders and a team of colleagues who influence and support one another.

If you ever get the chance to hear Rhonda Shasteen speak, do it. She is a role model for all of us, not just America’s corporate leaders.

Now, I’m off to find a personal mentor… well, after I revisit this Inc. article on how to do so. Do you have your own personal mentor?

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