This year I’ve been somewhat obsessed with studying leadership. One thing I’ve learned about leaders is that they think for themselves and are masters at creating. Leaders create processes, solutions to problems, culture, and companies. Good leaders create movements and influence people. Great leaders serve and create loyalty.
I am a sales manager for a local office equipment sales company. But, I didn’t start off as a manager. When I graduated college in 2003 I was fortunate to land a sales position with a similar company. This was my first job and I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. The company sent me to school in Virginia and taught me how to sell. This was excellent training and when I returned home I was fired up and ready to make a ton of money. My starting pay was decent out of school, but the opportunity to make commissions made me feel excited and nervous. I saw a big pile of cash in front of me and it was there for the taking. Then I went on my first sales call.
I. Was. Terrified. I hardly said a word even though thats what I was trained to do. The palms of my hands were sweaty and there was a frog in my throat. I can only imagine what the client must of thought.
Luckily there was a leader with me that day. This wasn’t just your run of the mill manager who shows up to gloat about how awesome his new car is and ask “how many units you plan to sell this month?” He was a leader. He led the conversation by asking good questions and showing interest in the company. He led me through the sales process from beginning to end. He showed me how to strategically lay out a proposal that would allow the customer to make a good informed decision. He led me through the closing and how to ask for the order. He led.
12 years later I was still following this leader and to this day I haven’t worked with a better man.
Great leaders serve and create loyalty. The day I started I didn’t know I would feel such loyalty to this leader and his company.
Now I’m in a leadership position and I want to make the same impression on my people. This is not an easy task. Its one that I’m learning doesn’t happen without hard work, continued education, and hiring good people to work for you and with you.
Encourage someone to lead today. Serve someone and watch them blossom. Create loyalty and watch doors open for you and your company.