What Makes a Phenomenal Leader?

A leader is not a manager.

There is a tremendous difference between a leader and a manager. A good manager supervises production and protects assets. A leader develops people. A phenomenal leader doesn’t have to be the best manager, but everyone including the manager must be a leader for phenomenal success.

A Phenomenal Leader IS…

One who loves God.

In his book Spiritual Leadership, Henry Blackaby says, “Leaders who know God and lead in a Christian manner will be phenomenally more effective in their world than the most skilled and qualified leaders who lead without God.”

One who loves others.

Everyone wants to be loved. Everyone wants to be accepted and understood. When you show people how much you value them as human beings, you will see an amazing return of loyalty and care from your team. I tell my staff as well as my members how much I love them all the time. Why?  Because I do! I really do care about them. I agree with this well-known saying, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

One who is a positive role model.

Being a leader is a big responsibility. It shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it shouldn’t be avoided either. The rewards of making a diference in others’ lives are astounding. As I mentioned previously, I have a little plaque in my home study that says “Success is making a difference in the lives of others.
Happiness is watching them grow because of it.” Doesn’t it make you happy when you help someone with their life? If you can’t get inspired by that, I don’t know what you can get inspired about.

One who is inspired.

Speaking of inspiration, our slogan in my membership program is “Inspiration to Implementation.” Have you noticed that the most successful business owners are those who are excited about the future? Are they inspired because they are growing? No, they are growing because they are inspired! What are they inspired by? They have a vision. In his last book, Born to Win, Zig Ziglar wrote, “The most important ingredient for success is desire and desire comes from vision.” Where does vision come from? Inspiration.
Where does inspiration come from? Books like this one. Stories of people doing what you want to do. When I was a 23-year-old waiter making just enough money to pay the rent on my apartment, I went to New Jersey to get married. A friend of the family who was my age was tooling around
in a little red Mercedes convertible. The desire that came from that vision was the result of getting excited about the possibilities of having that kind of lifestyle for myself.

One who is hopeful.

A leader is a dealer in hope. If we don’t have hope for the future, why do anything? This is the unfortunate condition of average, non-thinking people today. They have no hope because they are listening to the news and listening to other people who are uninformed about human potential, the grace of God, and the possibilities that entrepreneurs can discover. We must not only have hope but deal with hope. We must not only have hope but demonstrate hope.  We must not only have hope ourselves, but we must show evidence of hope by sharing success stories.

One who is enthusiastic.

Before I got healthy, I had frequent migraine headaches. They were awful.  My entire body hurt. Literally from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.  Sometimes they were so bad I was actually sick. On a trip to Amsterdam, my wife and I were touring some beautiful gardens and I was having an episode.
After observing me kneeling over throwing up, a young Dutchman offered to help us find a doctor
We followed him in the rental car to a nearby doctor’s office (which was an adventure on its own—sharing a round-about with a million bicycles, pedestrians, trolley cars, buses, other cars, and taxi cabs driving on the railroad tracks to get around everyone else). After waving us off, I entered the doctor’s office only to find that it was a veterinarian clinic! And the amazing thing about socialized medicine was that he was able to write a prescription for me!  Even though I was hurting, I had to be enthusiastic in front of my staff.  As soon as you allow yourself to focus on your problems, you give everyone else the same permission. You are an example. My staff meetings were always upbeat and positive. No matter how I felt, I had to be enthusiastic for my team. This doesn’t mean you don’t have real feelings and that you
never share them. It just means that we have to make sure we are sending the right message.
Fortunately, about eight years ago I got healthy, and the migraines went away for good. This is how dumb I was. I didn’t eat breakfast. I drank breakfast. Lots of strong coffee. I didn’t eat lunch until two in the afternoon. The excuse was “I’m busy!” When I got home at the end of the day, I was famished. I ate everything in sight. Step one was to eat a bunch of Doritos (nacho cheese flavored), then a pile of barbequed pork chops with a heap of my smashed potatoes seasoned with butter, green onions, and bacon bits. After some TV, back for seconds and then French vanilla ice cream, topped with bananas and Hershey’s chocolate syrup! But I’m not done yet. Late-night TV required some tortilla chips and my favorite salsa. And I wondered why I had migraines? How unaware can a person be!  So no matter how you feel, no matter who did what to you, or what circumstances you face, you’ll do better as a leader to be enthusiastic in front of your team. I don’t recall if it was Dale Carnegie or one of the many networking groups I attended, we were asked to stand up and say, “Act enthusiastic to be enthusiastic!” as we clapped our hands together. Maybe it was NLP, who knows. But it works.  To quote my hero once more: Zig said, “You can’t do anything with a positive attitude, but you can do everything better with a positive attitude than you can with a negative one.” Research reveals that being enthusiastic and having a positive attitude actually changes the vibrations of your brain and actually has an effect on how you feel.

One who is growing.

Anything not growing is dying. Leaders are readers and learning makes you grow. Continuing to learn keeps your mind sharp and helps you with new ideas. The fact that you are this far in this book tells me you are interested in growing. Continue to develop yourself and transfer what you learn to your team.

One who is seasoned.

My mama in Alabama works at a retail store. She used to be the manager but gave that up to enjoy her life a bit more. Why in the world she still works at 76 years of age is beyond me, but that’s another story. She’s just like that. She wants to stay busy and likes the interaction. The manager is now a young man and she tells me how he underestimates how long things will take. Inventory for example. She has the experience and knows the reality of how long things will take. As he gains experience, he’ll get more realistic.  Treasure experience as a leader.

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