One of the highlights of my trips to speak at various state association conventions is the opportunity to hear great speakers from around the country. The Louisiana REALTORS® Association Fall Convention this week was no exception.
On Tuesday afternoon, I sat in on Adorna Carroll‘s session on “The Keys to True Leadership” for the leadership training for the current and future leadership of the state.
While the session was aimed at local and state association leadership and planning, there were lessons here for everyone – individuals as well as associations. Here are a few of my takeaways:
Not everyone should be a leader. There is nothing better than group involvement and collaboration. Adorna said she would much rather be a good team member than a leader. She’s a leader because she’s good at it, but given the choice, she wouldn’t necessarily choose to lead. Let’s be honest – not everyone is a good leader, not everyone should be given a leadership position. We often hear the expression (forgive the cliche and possible non-PC-ness) “too many chiefs and not enough Indians” but I’ve never heard “too many Indians and not enough chiefs”. Consider why you want to lead: if it’s for selfish reasons – for the title or the recognition – and not for the opportunity to do good – then you should reconsider whether or not leadership is right for you. Similarly, if you are screening leaders, you should carefully consider whether each applicant is cut out for leadership and what their motives are. It really is true: there is no “I” in “team”.
Ribbons don’t mean you’re a leader; they just mean you accomplished certain things. So you’ve won a bunch of awards and you’ve earned a bunch of designations. That’s great. That doesn’t make you a leader. That does, however, mean that you’ve (hopefully) learned things in designation classes, accomplished things you can be proud of, and added to your resume. Those are good things. But they don’t entitle you to be a leader.
Leaders know what they don’t know. No one can take away from you the knowledge that you have. Real leaders verify what they know with actual data, information that they have gained themselves, facts they have researched personally. NOT hearsay. NOT what they heard from a friend, their broker, their association president, etc. Max DePree said, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” You need actual information and facts, not vicarious knowledge. In short: use your brain, do your homework, and think for yourself.
“If you have to think ‘out of the box’, you’re already in a box. Leaders understand that there is no box.” ~Adorna Carroll. Leaders need to be creative, plain and simple. Of course, there are restrictions – legal restrictions, ethical restrictions, those set in place by your By-Laws; those should be your only “box” (which of course you cannot think outside of!).True leadership requires creativity.
Leadership is about courage, not popularity. Your legacy will be what people talk about and say about you behind your back. Did you challenge boundaries? Were you afraid to say no? Did you let others push you around or did you stand up for what you believe and know is right? Did you worry too much about what people thought of you to be an effective leader? You’ll always be judged by your last activity – keep that in mind with every decision you make.