What Exactly is “Successful”?

– Sign of a great leader: how successful are your people now & years later, after they’ve gone through so many other mgrs/ldrs, what do they think about you?

You wanna know a few signs of a great leader? Now, these will probably only be relevant later on in your career & sometimes, not until you’re long gone.

Retired or moved elsewhere, that is…not necessarily dead!

One good sign is how well your people are doing now. Have they had successful, fulfilling careers? For those that truly demonstrated leadership abilities & potential, have they moved up the proverbial ladder, become successful leaders themselves?

Are they good people? Do they treat others with respect & dignity on much the same manner in how you treated them?

The second sign is what they say about you…years later…to you & to others.

Do they remember the good ol’ days with a great deal of fondness? Are you compared to (all the) others/leaders they’ve had since you & up ‘til now?

Do they use words that go beyond the standard lingo used to describe “business people”? Do they feel that you truly connected with them on a personal level?

Remember, you don’t necessarily lead a team, an area, an organization…you lead people.

You lead them collectively as a singular unit, but you also lead each & every one of them individually.

And your leadership must extend from you down to every single person within your realm of control, not just your direct reports.

When you become a grandparent, you deal directly with your grandchildren as well as with them indirectly through their parents.

And the very same is true at work. And that could very well mean great-grandchildren as well as great-great-grandchildren.

And while I don’t expect every successful leader to be actively involved with every single human being in your organization, you must be serious in reaching out to all levels, showing them that you’re concerned for their well-being & that you wanna hear from them directly.

It’s your personal responsibility to find ways…concrete, tangible efforts & activities…that clearly demonstrate how you’re gonna put these principles & ideas into actions.

Make time specifically for your people. Block out at least an hour every week to sit down next to some of your staff to observe, ask questions, offer recommendations & solicit their ideas & feedback. Or bring them in for more confidential discussions.

Try to have lunch, maybe once or twice a month, with your people regarding a certain topic. I remember holding lunch sessions with up to 6-8 people at a time, when I was at Lehman Brothers, teaching them about the mortgage industry as a whole…showing them how the loans & servicing rights are often sold from company to company…demonstrating how individual mortgages are “packaged together” to create mortgage-backed securities…discussing the relationship between the “mortgage servicing companies” & “the investors” who actually “own the loans”, etc..

Things like this will show your desire to make your people more knowledgeable about the space in which they & our company operate.

Give them the reason & rationale behind what we do & why.

Leadership is clearly demonstrating that you are obsessed with taking care of your company’s most valuable assets…your people!

Think about stuff that you’d like to do to further enhance your relationship with your people.

Then, just do it!

(Yeah, Nike can sue me if they’d like, assuming, of course, that they can actually locate the hidden bunker from where I’m transmitting all this stuff!)

Good luck!

And, as always, thank you for listening!

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