Reading a lot about leadership today after reviewing a few of my favourite authors ~ John C. Maxwell, Hugh Macleod, Simon Sinek, Peter Drucker, Tom Peters, Rick Warren, Marty Neumeier and Tony Hseih.

John Maxwell gave me the title for the book that I haven’t written yet ~ “Follow Me, I’m Right Behind You (Leading from the middle of the pack)”. It was going to be the title of his book but his publisher preferred 360* Leader as it was easier to “brand”. I think it’s a GREAT title.

…If ever a sentence said a thousand words.

Just like Hugh’s five GapingVoid cartoons here. I think they sum up leadership better than most of the leadership / business books I’ve ever read.

Marty Neumeier wrote a tiny book called Brand Gap (voted one of the top 100 business books of all time) ~ the entire book was built around one sentence. Challenging business leaders to fill in the gaps;

My __________ is the only ___________ that ________________.

Many leaders within some of the worlds largest companies still struggle to find their own version of that sentence. Just having that one sentence up your sleeve will save you in many an interview / creative brainstorm or strategy session.

Sinek says exactly the same thing using different words ~ “What’s your purpose? Why do you do what you do? Why does your company exist?”

Rick Warren challenges us to live a purpose driven life that stands for something larger than ourselves.

I had a conversation with Brian Solis recently after he posted his own leadership challenge ~ “What Fo You Stand For?” #WDYSF ~ debating the notion that “what we stand for is more important than what we sell…”

After thinking long and hard about what I thought I stood for in business, the conclusion I came to was ~ I want to help brands stand for something larger than themselves.

I love Simon Sinek’s purpose ~ “I inspire others to do what inspires them”.

Peter Drucker’s purpose was to inspire managers to become leaders. He said, “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things”.

Everything revolves around purpose. Especially in leadership. Why do you even want to be a leader? Seth Godin throws down seven BIG questions to challenge a leader’s purpose ~

  1. Do you let the facts get in the way of a good story?
  2. What do you do with people who disagree with you… do you call them names in order to shut them down?
  3. Are you open to multiple points of view or you demand compliance and uniformity?
  4. Are you willing to walk away from a project or customer or employee who has values that don’t match yours?
  5. Is it okay if someone else gets the credit?
  6. How often are you able to change your position?
  7. Do you have a goal that can be reached in multiple ways?

They’re good questions worth taking the time to mull over, especially if you consider yourself a leader. Having followers these days doesn’t mean as much as it used to because Twitter seems to have diluted its meaning. Real leaders will ALWAYS be defined by their followers (or lack of)…

A leader with no one following them is just someone talking a walk”. John C. Maxwell

It’s all really good stuff. I must have read the words of some of these guys 100 times. Granted there is a bit of fluff and a lot of cheese here, but their words still feel as relevant and challenging to me as the first time I read them…

Never. Stop. Learning.