The Major Attributes of Leadership (#8 of 11):

8. Sympathy and Understanding: Successful leaders must be in sympathy with their followers. Moreover, they must understand them and their problems.
(From: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleopn Hill).

Leaders who rule by fear and anxiety will never draw out the best that their followers have to give. Sympathy and understanding breed loyalty and trust. It is only through loyalty that employees, vendors, consultants and other followers wholeheartedly accept your (the Leader’s) interests, goals and vision as their own. Only when the followers take the leader’s vision into their hearts can they execute on the vision at greater than the anticipated result. Through sympathy and understanding, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Something magical happens. The combined efforts of your followers will yield a result that far exceeds what logic and accounting say it should. The return on investment for your sympathy and understanding is that your followers want you to succeed because they truly love you and will sacrifice their own interests for you.

I have had this experience as a follower with several clients for whom I would take a bullet. I also experience this daily in the respect and admiration of the hundreds of men and women who follow me on a daily basis through the Hurculean efforts they expend to help me achieve my client’s goals.

One note: There are some people who, no matter how much you invest into them in sympathy and understanding, will never reciprocate with loyalty. You will know them when you meet them. These people are leaches, takers, selfish and disloyal. They may never change. You must immediately and decisively cut these people out of your lives without mercy or hesitation. You cannot and must not sacrifice your own future to spare the feelings of people who will never appreciate it.  You also owe it to your loyal followers to protect them from the rotten apples that would spoil the bushel.

The Major Attributes of Leadership (#7 of 11):

7. A Pleasing Personality: No slovenly, careless person can become a successful leader. Leadership calls for respect. Followers will not respect leaders who do not score highly on all factors of a pleasing personality. (From: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill).

In the 1970’s brute force and bullying were the norm among management. Over the last several decades, managers and leaders who truly excel at accomplishing great things through inspiring their resources (people who follow them), have learned that it is much more effective to motivate followers to perform at their highest potential because they truly “buy in” to the mission statement of your endeavor. I recently have been managing the development of a new resort hotel property for one of my clients in a somewhat remote area.  It is remote at least in terms of access to skilled trades people and professional constructors. The project has been beset by many challenges, but by inspiring loyalty and trust in the project management team, the entire atmosphere of the work has turned from the typical selfishness and ego driven construction site to an atmosphere where everyone gives 120% of themselves towards the common goal. Much credit goes to my client, the Owner for his investment in the team, but putting in the effort to lead through an example of patience, flexibility, persistence, good humor and absolute faith has allowed me to draw more out of each team member than they knew they had to give, and they are happy to step up because they are proud to be part of such a tremendous effort that is changing the social and economic face of the local community.

The Major Attributes of Leadership (#6 of 11):

6. The habit of doing more than paid for: One of the penalties of leadership is the necessity of willingness, upon the part of the leader, to do more than they require of their followers. (from: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill)

In days past, a society was “ideally” led by the most virtuous and hardest working member … the Prince. Even here in the United States, our leaders historically were men who had proven themselves effective leaders on the battlefield through acts of courage, valor and self-sacrifice. Somehow, in modern history, this concept has been largely lost. Financial leaders have become those who are the most shrewd, often taking advantage of the weakness of others. Political leaders have become those most effective at raising money and forging alliances with special interest groups. Social leaders have become those most effective at self-promotion. Qualities such as loyalty, kindness, charity and humility become harder and harder to find in our leaders.

I have had the tremendous pleasure and good fortune to be associated with a number of men and women over the years who’s leadership has been of such a fine caliber that the effect has been to elevate those around them, to raise the standard of character of everyone whom they lead so that all are able to share in the wealth and joy of success.

A good leader never asks anyone to do anything they would not be willing to do themselves. However they are also acutely aware that ethical service to their followers also requires a leader to at all times be engaged in activity that is the highest and best use of their time, asking those less capable to fill in the supporting tasks. It is a fine line to walk, for sure, but a Prince who can balance such humility with courageous leadership provides a fine example that motivates our followers; our support system; to give their all in supporting Princely goals, the accomplishment of which makes everyone a winner.