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Issue 15,  July 27, 2009     —      Mark Bowser, The Keys to Empowered Leadership

In this issue:   FEATURE: His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, Consciousness    Jack Armstrong, Illusions of the Physical World   Guy Finley, Harness the Transformational Power in Self-Reliance   Sharon Elaine, Affirmations for Spiritual Matters   Mark Bowser, The Keys to Empowered Leadership   Daylle Deanna Schwartz, Lightening Guilt   Wider Screenings, Borat Does Bruno    Events   Reviews   Earlier issues   Submit Article
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Mark Bowser is the President/CEO of Empowering Enterprises, Inc., which is a corporate training and development company helping businesses, organizations, and individuals reach peak performance.

Mark Bowser is one of the best motivational business speakers and corporate training experts on the circuit today. With his positive attitude and contagious personality, he makes the road to success smooth and exciting through seminars such as Succeeding with Empowered Customer Service, The Keys to Empowered Leadership, The Sales Champion Within, The 3 Pillars of Success, and Unlocking the Champion Within.

Pillar Two:  SALES

Success always comes down to these three pillars.  That three keys to success.  However, knowing the keys and knowing how to use them to unlock the doors isn't the same thing.  That is what this book is all about.  It will show you how you can unlock the doors to your success and implement them for a more productive business, family, and life. 

Buy the book now at:
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Part one of a three-part excerpt covering Leadership, Sales and Customer Service.

The Keys to Empowered Leadership


What is Leadership? 

Leadership can be defined as motivating one or more people to move in a certain direction.  That move can be in the form of taking some action and/or acquiring a new belief.  So, by this definition, leadership can also be defined as Influence and it also can be defined as Sales.   Both are fundamental elements in your success.  You may have never thought of it that way.  Be honest, how many of you thought becoming better at Leadership, Influence, and Sales would help prosper your life?  Probably not very many of you.  However, I am going to give it my best to “influence” you on the absolute truth of that fact.

LEADERSHIP:  The Art of Influencing Movement Toward a Vision

Effective leadership is the most vital element to any organization.  With it and you can reach the stars.  Without it and the murkiest swamp will become your home.  As John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”   So, what is effective leadership and how do we become that kind of leader?  I believe one of the best definitions comes from author J. Oswald Sanders’ when he described leadership as “Influence.”  Sound familiar?  We all influence people everyday.  It may be as simple as influencing your co-workers on where to go eat lunch or as vital as influencing your teenager not to use drugs.

The first thing I think we need to understand is that there is a difference between an “Influential Leader” and a “Positional Leader.”   The Positional Leader has the title.  I am the President.  I am the Director.   I am the King of the nation.  Well, that is great.  But that doesn’t in and of itself make you influential.  The Influential Leader may be the peasant of the kingdom or the entry level employee.  Influence is about inspiring and moving people into action in order to reach a desired goal.  I hope you have the position, but I also hope you have the trust, respect, and heart of your people.   Whatever your position is at this time, I want to help you develop into the Influential Person that you were born to be.

Before we can go any further, I believe it is important that we dig a little deeper into the explanations and actions of leadership.  Let me ask you a question.  Is there a difference between a leader and a manager? There is, isn’t there.  Ok.  What does a leader do?  What is the first action that they take?  Right.  They create a vision.   They may not create a vision for the entire organization but they definitely do for their part of it.  Alright, what does a manager do?  Right.  They make it happen.  They implement the vision.  The leader creates where we are going and the manager breaks the vision into manageable parts and assigns the tasks to the right people and assures that it happens.  Ok, let me throw another concept out there?  What does a coach do?  A coach motivates, inspires, teaches, provides resources, disciplines when necessary, etc…

Which are we?  A Leader, a Manager, or a Coach?   That is right.  We are all three.  I don’t think we can separate it anymore.  We have to be all three.  We are a Leader/Manager/Coach.  Now, that makes our task a little more daunting but will make us much more effective and successful in the long run.  For sake of ease, in most cases I am going to use the terms Leader and Leadership but I am talking about all three rolled into one.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of leadership, let’s pause for a moment and talk about three fundamental facts of leadership.

Understanding these three facts will help us jump start our development in becoming more influential individuals.  These facts are:

1.    One person can make a difference
2.    Start leading today
3.    The office doesn’t make the person

Fact Number One:  One Person Can Make a Difference

This is probably not a new saying to you, but what pictures came to your mind when you read that statement?  If you are like many people, it was pictures of Billy Graham, Martin Luther King, Jr, Mother Theresa, Gandhi, and many others.  However, do you see someone missing from that list?  I do.  That someone is YOU! 

Mother Theresa didn’t go out to become a saint, she went out to save one dieing person.  She was walking down the street and saw a person dieing in a gutter.   She said to herself, “That is not right.  Everyone should die with dignity.”   And the rest they say is history.  Great leaders, great physicians, sales champions, and consultants figure out how their influence can touch a life and by doing that their influence may touch hundreds, thousands, and maybe even millions of lives.

So, the question is where can your leadership grow to make a bigger difference then you are today?  You are probably making a difference, but how can your leadership grow?  You make a difference and people need you!

Fact Number Two:  Start Leading Today

Many times, young leaders for example will say, “I’m not ready to lead.  I will wait till I read that leadership book, or go to that seminar, or learn that skill, etc….”   Now, those are all important things and I encourage them but the truth of the matter is that your organization and your team can’t wait.  You need to start leading today…and learn as you lead.   None of us will ever know all there is to leadership.  It is a continual growing process.  We can’t wait till we know all there is to leadership or we will do absolutely nothing.  We must become influential today and grow throughout our leadership journey.

Fact Number Three:  The Office doesn’t make the Person

Leadership is not about the corner office.  Have you ever worked for someone who thought it was?  They were more concerned with their promotion, their prestige, and there accolades.  In the process, they lost their team (and many times their customers) as a result.  

Now, please don’t misunderstand me, I have no problem with comfortable offices and a comfortable work environment.  In fact, I am actually for it.  But we must not put the cart before the horse.    Today, my family’s company, the Bright Corp. has a comfortable work environment and the executives have nice offices.  But it wasn’t always that way.  My dad and my uncle made sure the horse came before the cart and now the company has the resources to support that type of environment.  They were more concerned with helping their team succeed and serving their customers then they were about having a cushy sofa and a picture window in their office.  As a result of this wise decision, they don’t have a revolving door for their team or worst yet for their customers.  Their team has tremendous loyalty.  They have team members that have worked for the Bright Corp. for over twenty years.  They have customers that also go that far back.  How rare is that?    Very!!!  Focus on your team and focus on your customers and the rest will take care of itself.

The Styles of Leadership

There are three basic styles of leadership. All of us use these three styles.  Now, let me pause here for a minute and say that I am not suggesting you change your style.  What I am suggesting is that you become flexible with the styles.  Would you agree with me that your style works some of the time and fails miserably some of the time?  Why is that?  Because one style doesn’t fit every situation.  What I am suggesting is that you use a more flexible situational leadership when it comes to the Leadership Styles.  Use the style that best fits the situation and the people involved.

Having said that, what are the three Leadership Styles?  The styles are:

1.    Autocratic
2.    Democratic
3.    Free Rein

Let me explain what each style is and when to use it.

Autocratic: The Autocratic Leader is more like a general.  The commander of an army.  They are quick decision makers and they tell others what to do.  We saw this style a great deal in the corporate world in the 1950’s through the 1980’s.  We still see it today but not quite as much as those earlier decades.  Why did we see it so much in the past?  Well, where did the CEOs and Presidents of organizations get their training?  Many of them came out of the military.   Is autocratic leadership a good style for the military?  Absolutely. Particularly in wartime.  Why?  Because we are in crisis or emergency mode.  Decisions had to be made and made quickly or people would die.  Autocratic leaders took action and won wars.

After the war, these leaders came back and took their place in the corporate world.  They discovered that their civilian counterparts didn’t take to orders like their military counterparts.  This caused them some challenges.   The leaders discovered that their style didn’t work in every situation.  They learned that they had to be flexible in their leadership styles.   There is still a place for autocratic leadership in the corporate world because we have emergencies and other situations that require quick decisions and quick actions.  But what we have to do in order to maximize our effectiveness is not get stuck in one style.  Use the style that best fits the situation.

Democratic:  The second style of leadership is the Democratic style.  This is the leadership style of teamwork.  It is run by democracy.  We put things to a vote to make decisions and the majority rules.  This is great for building team loyalty and participation but let me ask you a question.  Should every decision at your office be put to a vote?  Of course not.  So, when is this a good leadership style to use?  When you need to get buy in (by having open discussions where you can answer questions and sell your vision) and when the decisions aren’t a major importance.  Use this style to create rapport and teamwork.

Free Rein:  In this style of leadership, we get out of the way and let our team do their thing.  It is a style where there is definitely no micro management.  That is good.  The challenge is that your team members have to be  excellent, well trained, and go getters for it to succeed.  If you have a lot of entry level workers or workers who are new to the job, this is not the best style to be in.  Those workers will need more of your input and guidance for at least the short term.

Well, there we have it.  Three styles of leadership:  autocratic, democratic, and free rein.  They all have their pluses and they all have their minuses.  Use the style that best fits the situation and the team members involved and you will find yourself succeeding in all leadership situations.     ###

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