This young man didn’t have a college degree, and didn’t learn leadership from a book. I truly believe you could take this guy and put him at the top of any business and he would make it work. He had followers, which is what you have to have to be considered a leader. He had followers because he was decisive, had a very sensitive bullshit detector, was honest with people and didn’t have an over-sized ego. He told employees what they needed to be told, not what they wanted to hear and they all knew he would get down in the muck and outwork any one of them if it was needed. He never worried about his popularity and every employee knew this man had the best interests of the company, the factory, and the employees in mind. They knew he had their back.
The owners and managers above him knew he had their backs as well. He operated based on what was right; not politically popular. He was not afraid to tell management what they needed to hear. He was respected by management and employees for the exact same reasons. He treated them all the same. He operated on what was right.
This type of leader is hard to find. A management structure based on buzzwords and bullshit , that values consultants and spreadsheets over true leadership qualities, will sometimes chase this type of leader right out of the organization.
I think these type of people are born with this ability to lead. The challenge for companies is not to build these people necessarily, but to find them within your organization.
In future blogs we’ll talk about how to identify such a person.