ATTRIEVE Success Blog

Tips for working ON and not IN your business

Leadership Series: 10 Immutable Tenets of Leadership (Part 1)

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US SubmarineThe Attrieve Leadership Series addresses the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Leadership. This series of 10 short posts will address Leadership in its rawest and rarest form.

So without further ado…here’s the First Immutable Tenet of Leadership

Tenet #1: Lead by Example

People will find it hard to follow you if they feel that you are not willing to do the work or make the decisions that you are asking of them. And if we really think about those people in our lives that we consider leaders, we truly believe that they had gone through something similar or had done exactly what we were doing that fostered that respect.

Leadership isn’t easy, it’s advanced management. Just merely being a good manager doesn’t make a leader. If you are new to a leadership position you have to find the path of least resistance to earn respect – that path is to lead by example.

Followers respond to action, showing the willingness to be where they are and do what they do will inspire them – and sometimes even keep them on the right path…but it’s the WILLINGNESS that counts most. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and dig in. We teach that leaders need to be practice FILO. First In, Last Out. Be at work before everyone else and be there when they leave. this is a way to show people that you are committed to them.

You don’t have to be the at best the task you ask of others, though that helps, but you have to be willing to try what they do. A great example of this is the TV show “Undercover Boss.” I like the show, but more demonstrative of this tenet is that my wife loves the show though she only understands about 65% in English (I sometimes have to pause and translate for her – that’s my second job nowadays).

Even though she may not always understand what they are saying on the TV, she loves the fact that the leaders are willing to get into the jobs in their companies and make a go of it. And chances are the employees really view those leaders differently after that experience – not because they did the jobs well, but because they tried and were willing to do them.

A long time ago on a submarine far, far away…I was doing my job working in 12 hours shifts (12 on, 12 off) when my counterpart fell ill. Since there were only 2 of us, I had to fill in almost continuously. The first day at about hour 18 I was getting tired and our Lieutenant, we’ll call him “Stitch” for this story, tapped me on the shoulder. “Hey, I used to do this too, why don’t you go to the galley and grab a bite, then hit the rack (sleep) for a few hours. I’ll send someone down to get you in 6 hours.”  And he did. for 3 whole days he filled in for me like that. That action elevated Stitch as my leader forever. That he understood the situation and was willing to step in solidified him as a true leader. To this day I still remember that moment. Stitch was a true leader.

Lead by example is the first tent for a reason. It’s the basis of everything we discuss here about leadership. Just merely showing up is not enough, you have to work at it, and you have to show it.

The next post in this series will be Tenet #2: Be Consistent. Does favoritism ruin leadership…find out.

The Attrieve Leadership Series are excerpts from our bonus chapter in our upcoming e-Book “Attract Growth, Achieve Success” We expect to publish in the fall. Follow this blog and get on our mailing list and be one of the first people to be notified when it is ready.


Author: Attrieve - Bill Maltbie

Entrepreneur and recovering COO. Now in my 5th individual venture, I also am a partner in several small tech companies. Attrieve advises small and medium businesses on the daily operations and facets that allow business owners to work ON their businesses and not IN their businesses.

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