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Leadership - Passion, Purpose, Profit - Its Not That Hard

Go to any educational institution, look at airport bookshelves, shopping centres and open your eyes to the myriad of products available today and you could be forgiven to thinking that the art of leadership was beyond mere mortals.

After many years in corporate life before starting my own business I finally got the chance to prove for myself what I had always beleived - leadership is simple, it is being a person who has passion, purpose and who uses that to bring others with them on the journey and reaps the rewards.

At the time I had taken over a company in financial trouble and that had many human resource issues, some of which were very complicated and required careful handling.

I inherited a 'basket case' that needed urgent remedial action to survive and stop imploding. It operated in a number of States of Australia.

Having taken up the challenge, and after several months of very long days and constant travelling, listening to employees and addressing theirs and managements concerns the company started to perform profitably and gain stability.

I was called to meet the European general manager in Asia for a quiet chat. After greeting me he asked 'Phil - how have you achieved these results? I had been there 6 months.

You see the answer was very simple; it is your people who make the organisation successful not you! You can only do so much and then you will begin to burn out. I have seen the cycle repeat many time over. Why be the richest and unkindest person in the cemetery.

What this confirmed to me was that I was right. By taking the time to listen and mentor employees, honestly resource them and address their concerns they will acheive more than you think.

We need to take the time to listen, show passion and commitment to our employees, empowering them with true leadership and you and your business will gain. Undoubtably some employees may take advantage of this but a leader knows how to inspire and at times fire.

Employees, even if your are the President of the company you are an employee, want to know whether you value them as individiuals. We live in a age where responsiblity needs again to be demonstrated, delegated and empowered.

Leadership - what's it all about?

Leadership is common sense stuff - to demonstrate by example, credible risk taking, achieving results by taking your people with you on your business journey, to care, listen and learn, to have passion. IT IS WHAT YOU ARE BEING. IT IS CHARACTER NOT IMAGE, SUBSTANCE NOT FORM. It can equally apply to all areas of your life.

Leaders - what do they do?

In my experience and from observation many great leaders have three common elements to leadership that stick out are, leaders,

1. Initiate

Leading by example takes courage. It often requires a commitment to change and to take the initiative when dealing with people and business matters such as integrity, honesty and fairness.

It takes courage to sometimes admit that you do not have all the answers and to include your employees as part of the solution making process and take them with you and then lead by example though authentic genuine living.

It takes courage to break free from the herd mentality when you have done your homework and research and become a trailblazer making new ground and moving in a different direction than the herd. It is not the absence of fear but the conviction that you have done your groundwork and now comes action - INIATE.

2. Participate

The message is clear to lead you need not only to be an initiator but a participator in life's challenges. Do you include your employees, are you transparent, do you lead by common sense examples demonstrating integrity, commitment and honesty or do you say one thing and practice the other. The word 'hypocrisy' comes from the Greek word 'to wear a mask' that was used to describe actors many centuries ago. Be authentic not an actor. Lead by example.

3. Inspire (Mentors not Tormentors)

If ever this generation of people needed hope and courage they need it now. We need people to inspire and mentor other people from life experiences and not to put down others and continue to indulge in self-grandiose behaviour. Leaders understand that to give away makes them richer as people and to withhold leads to stagnation.

Ask yourself a few questions about your day to day work life.

1. Do I know my employees partners and children's names

2. Do I know what interests them

3. Do I take time out to genuinely listen to them

4. Do I reward good performance ie 2 tickets to gold class movies if you know they are movie buffs or something similar.

5. Am I remote

6. Do I say one thing and do the opposite.

In essence DO I SHOW I CARE?

Your life is a book that is read by everyone you come in contact with - what is the message you are giving about LEADERSHIP. COMMON SENSE: YOUR CHARACTER WILL OUTSHINE YOUR WORDS.

(Phil's law of unintended consequences)

The choices you make today will determine where you are placed tomorrow. Each choice builds on another and all of a sudden you have a foundation - good or bad - your decision my decision.

You cannot escape your responsibility to LEAD your people or they will LEAD your time and you.

People who feel and are genuinely valued are priceless and add great value to your business.

For more information see

Philip Lye is Director of Biz Momentum Pty Ltd providing professional services in

? Strategic human resource management
? Employee Relations Advice
? Workplace Health Safety Compliance Strategies
? Management Skills Training

Philip holds qualifications in Accounting, Leadership, Human Resource Management & Industrial Relations and is a qualified accountant.

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