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The ABC of Superior Leadership

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

“No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” - Helmuth von Moltke, the Elder

If you want to move from managing to leading, from being a professional to being an inspirer, from being one of the team to being a leader, you need to know the ABC of Superlative Leadership.

A is for Appreciative Cultures; the result of a leader’s work is when the culture they foster becomes an appreciative value of the company.

B is for rock-solid Belief that your team can move mountains.

C is for CultureCulture, which is how people behave when you’re not looking.

D is for the Drive for Power that makes you want to lead.

E is for Encouragement, like the sun after the rain.

F is for Fun, an indication that good work is happening.

G is for Growing your people. Like Sir Colin Marshall, head of British Airways, who personally attended every one of his customer care programs, Putting People First.

H is for Helicopter vision because you need to see in three time zones: the near, the middle, and the far.

am for leader Identity, the ability to be comfortable in your shoes.

J is for Joy because leaders rejoice in their blessings as well as the successes of their teams.

K is for Knowing your people, not just by name and number, but by strength and weakness, character and spirit, skills, and potential, what makes them sigh, and what makes them soar.

L is for Learning because LearningLLearningLearning is changing, and LearningLearning is growing.

M is for Mission which leaders live as well as write. Bill Gates insisted that his staff at Microsoft, Germany, use the familiar Du instead of the formal Sie.

N is for the Nobel complex, the BeliefBelief that everything your people do is worthy of a Nobel prize.

O is for Opportunity. Like Edmund McIlhenny, who returned from the American Civil War to find his sugar plantation and salt works in ruins, except for a few hot Mexican peppers that had shown themselves. He used them to produce a sauce that is now known as Tabasco and is sold around the world.

P is for Plain-talking because leaders need to be understood.

Q is for Questions such as What do you need me to do? And What should I be doing? And how can I help you work better?

R is for Respect, the touchstone of every relationship a leader has.

S is for Symbols, the language of leadership. Like the CEO of a candy factory facing financial ruin, whose first symbolic act was to shorten the tails of the sugar mice.

T is for the Traits of courage and determination, patience, and perseverance.

U is for Unleashing what is there. Like 3M allows their scientists to spend 15% of their time working on projects that interest them.

V is for Values, the guiding principles of the team, or the Walkman’s of the mind.

W is for the Way, the Chinese Tao, the route that leaders take and others follow.

X is for Extraordinary because leaders get ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Y is for Yes because there is always a plus, even in the worst situation and the most brutal setback.

Z is for Zero tolerance for failure, sub-performance, and giving up.

Learn these simple principles, so there are no limits to where you can lead your team.

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