By Diane Ruth
Published on Aug 30th, 2010

On May 4th, 2010 JJ Simon, Melvin Ruth and I traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to participate in the "Get Motivated" Business Seminar. There were several speakers with topics ranging from Goal setting, Motivation, Financial Savvy to Leadership. The best speaker that day was General Colin Powell and his speech was about Leadership. General Powell energized the entire arena the instant he walked on stage. His message was simple: Passionate Leaders inspire performance when they keep the following 5 things in mind.

  • Have a clear mission
  • Set goals to accomplish
  • Give each team member a sense of purpose
  • Let every team member know you care about them
  • Recognize Performance (good & bad)

Leaders inspire others to complete the mission by making sure that everyone involved has a clear understanding of the mission. In order to commit you need to know what it is you are committing to. It can be a simple mission or a complex mission, but everyone needs to be on the same page and agree to it. This is especially true for group dynamics where a peer is now the team leader for a particular project.

Having individual and group goals helps everyone stay on task and know exactly what is being accomplished. By setting smaller goals or tasks you can ensure the main objective will be accomplished. This also allows team members to see the progress the team is making which inspires them to move forward and complete their individual tasks. General Powell stated Leadership is Leadership is Leadership, the followers get it done. Put the followers to work. This is true whether it's a military operation or a strategic Business

Leaders must give each team member a sense of purpose. Let them know exactly how they contribute to the mission. Let them know what their purpose is and how important they are to the cause. General Powell used the example of the janitor at the Secretary of State's office. He said when he was Secretary of State he went up to the janitor (but he never called the person a janitor) and let them know how important their job was to the mission. He explained that people came from around the world to speak with him in this beautiful office. Because his office was immaculate and shiny he made a great impression on the visitors before he even met with them. He let the janitor know that his/her contribution helped him do his job.

Recognize performance. A simple pat on the back or formal praise is always welcome. It helps team members feel they're appreciated and their hard work is noticed. He stated you would be surprised how much this means to people. He mentioned a small note card he left for one of his employees thanking him for his good work on a project. The next week he dropped by his employees office and noticed it was expensively framed and hung on the wall. He didn't realize how powerful that .25 cent hand written note card was until he saw the $150.00 frame around it.

Leaders also have to recognize bad performance or lack of performance. General Powell pointed out that we all are aware of the team members not pulling their weight and how it tears down morale. How many missions have failed when performers refuse to do more because their teammate is not performing? How many times in your life have you lost respect for your boss because they let your co-worker sit around and do nothing while you worked hard? What starts to happen? You start looking for another job or you decide to work like that employee and get paid to do nothing. Real leaders solve problems and sometimes play "the tough guy" looking the slacker in the eye and booting him out of the organization. This builds trust which is crucial to the mission. Trust between leaders and teammates is the glue that holds the organization or mission together.

I learned from many of the speakers that day, but I think I benefited most from General Powell's Leadership advice. The next time I lead a team project or a group I will remember these 5 lessons.

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Author Bio :: Diane Ruth

Diane started training in the Martial Arts in 1997 and received her Black Belt certification in 2003. For fifteen years Mrs. Ruth has trained in Ed Parker's Kenpo Karate exclusively. She is a professional instructor teaching both children and adults. Mrs. Ruth is a partner in M&D's Modern Martial Arts Club. M&D's Modern Martial Arts Club which is affiliated with The MALC and Kenpo2000. Diane's primary focus is developing a complete teaching strategy which incorporates Principle Based teaching.

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