Don’t Confuse Leadership And Salesmen

SalesmanshipIf a person sells leadership, is your assumption that they are a leader?  Perhaps, they know that the topic is hot and they are really focused on selling you leadership.  If a person is a good salesmen, they can also persuade a lot of people to see the world their way.

Whether it’s an organization, an author, a book or some program bent on leadership, look for congruence.  People that sell leadership should demonstrate it.  They are business people as well if they are selling it and packaging it.  Business is messy.  In the midst of business interactions you should see the following qualities:

  • Taking responsibility.  If there is a mistake, a misunderstanding or something went awry, does this person take responsibility or just blame?
  • Humility.  If a person cannot humble themselves in light of facts or probability, then what does that say about them?  Are they truly leading?  Leaders acknowledge reality and what is in their control and what is not.
  • Empowerment.  Do people around this person speak their mind?  Or is there fear of repercussion?  Leaders build up others and helps them become better.  If it is command central, any insecure person can do that.  Empowered people are the fruits of good leaders.
  • Perseverance.  Life throws curveballs.  Leaders push through and persevere.  They keep pushing against failure.  When mistakes happen, they have enough security to apologize.  If you don’t see this, you are likely being sold an image than the real thing.
These are some observations I have from assessing people I do business with and products I buy on leadership.  Sometimes, I can look at the promise rather than the person behind it.  I have found it’s important to differentiate between someone selling leadership and one that truly is leading.  Then you can avoid being disarmed in your perspective and manage the relationship accordingly.  Respect a leader.  Beware of salesmen.

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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