What do great leaders care about? What is important to them? What do they have in common?
John Maxwell says, “Leaders come into any situation, no matter how down it may be, and they have the ability to help people see the light at the end of the tunnel. Leaders see the problem as an opportunity.”
Great leaders often emerge from the ashes of great turmoil and desperation. The greatest leaders understand that they are not the solution, but they are a catalyst to help people envision prosperity and take action toward pursuing their goals.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill was elected to the position of Prime Minister during the darkest days of World War II when all signs pointed to inevitable defeat by the Nazis.
His speeches inspired hope, pride, and the motivation to fight for their country!
Before speaking at the House of Commons and giving his most famous speech, Churchill walked among his people, rode on the subways with them, and asked them what they thought of their country and what they wanted him to do to protect it!
“Never, never, never, never give up —in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. … Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy”.
Churchill inspired and motivated his nation to act with these words! They were the fuel that the citizenry neededto achieve a victory.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1979 became the new leader of Great Britain. Her country was bankrupt, had rising unemployment, rioting in the streets, rising inflation, and crippling labor strikes.
Thatcher understood that government was not the solution to the problems her country was currently facing, run-away government power was the problem.
She immediately worked with her team of like-minded experts, to privatize all nationalized industries such as utilities, aerospace firms and the National Freight Company. These enterprises were sold at favorable terms to promote private enterprise and reduce government power, promoting the rights of individuals who would pay mortgages on their new properties.
Public housing was sold to its tenants at discounts to promote home ownership of individuals who would be property owners paying a mortgage on their new properties.
Great Britain prosperity was crippled by labor unions with their intimidation and strikes. Prime Minister Thatcher stood firm against these unions by bringing the coal industries and the steel industries under proper balance.
She was a problem solver putting her “faith in freedom, free markets, limited government, and a strong national defense”. She was a servant leader, inspiring, encouraging, motivating, and giving hope to Great Britain.
President Ronald Reagan,the Great Communicator was a servant leader. He valued and connected with people wanting the best for them. In President Reagan’s State of the Union speeches, he told the stories of everyday people who would be sitting in the gallery by his family. As he told their stories he would ask them to stand up.
Michael Deaver was deputy chief of staff for Ronald Reagan for 30 years. Deaver said, “Ronald Reagan was one of the shyest men I’d ever met.” Deaver was asked, “Why Reagan had such rapport with the press corps?” He replied, “Well, Reagan basically liked people, whether they were part of the press corps or whether they were just ordinary people. That comes through.”
Reagan cared about people regardless of their occupation or position in life. Everyone liked being around Ronald Reagan because he loved people and connected with them. He understood that relationships were the glue that held his team members together- the more solid the relationship, the more cohesive his team.
Dan Quiggle said, “Ronald Reagan spoke plainly and genuinely to the American people-from his heart and with genuine sincerity about what he believed was best for America and for the world.”
Ronald Reagan understood that connecting with others was the first step toward being able to lead. He asked questions and listened attentively; wanting to find out answers and common ground with the people they connected to.
At Walt Disney World® Resort, Lee Cockerell was the leader at the helm for over 10 years. He was a servant leader. He says, “everyone is important. Make your people your brand.” Show them appreciation, recognition, and give them encouragement. He also says, “Give people a purpose, not just a job. To become a better leader, infuse quality, character, courage, enthusiasm, and integrity into your workplace and into your lives.”
So, what can you do today?
1) Value people every chance you get. Show them appreciation and respect, no matter if they are the janitors in the building or are your teammates. Everyone matters and is important to you.
2) Listen more. No one ever grows tired of talking about themselves. Show them you care about them and like them by listening carefully to their responses.
3) Give people hope, inspiration, encouragement, and motivation to do a good job for your company. Give people purpose and empowerment.
One quote I like to live by is from Art Linkletter who said, “Do a little more than you are paid to, give a little more than you have to, try a little harder than you want to, aim a little higher than you think possible, and give a lot of thanks to God for health, family, and friends.”
What one thing will you do starting today to step up your leadership just “a little bit more”?
Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an Amazon.com Best Selling Author, speaker, business owner, teacher, John Maxwell Team Member, conductor, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Business”. Her observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. Her latest book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available everywhere books are sold. If you need a speaker contact Madeline at: firstname.lastname@example.org