Leaders: Are They Born or Made?

Here’s How You Can Tell If Someone is an Emerging Leader—and What You Should Be Doing to Help Him or Her Develop Into a Great One.


You face tough customers and fierce competition. That, of course, goes with the territory of being an equipment manufacturer or dealer.

However, you also face complex organizational challenges—challenges that can only be addressed on the strength of dynamic leadership. Not just leadership at the top, but leadership in every department.

More so, these challenges demand that you also look to the development of leaders for the future, because the challenges of today will continue into tomorrow and be joined by new challenges still to come.

Finding and cultivating these future leaders is thus imperative. How will you go about it?


Where to Put Your Focus


The starting point is to take note of individuals who exhibit high potential for leadership. Unimportant is whether these individuals are performing highly in whatever role they happen now to occupy.

The reason it is a mistake to prize performance over potential is that some people who are exceptionally competent at their jobs lack what it takes to be a great leader. By elevating those who aren’t cut out to be leaders, you risk the creation of department or companywide morale problems—and those can easily bring about a loss of productivity.

Consider this example. On the payroll of an average-sized company is a technician. Because he is the company’s best technician, it’s decided to promote him to the position of manager of the service department with the expectation that his excellent technical skills will translate into excellent leadership skills.

He eagerly and appreciatively accepts the new responsibility. However, in practically no time at all, it becomes evident that he is incapable of inspiring subordinates to act as a cohesive, functional, efficiency-driven, cost-conscious, innovation-minded team.

After a period of wishful waiting to give him a chance to “grow” into the role, top management finally realizes that pushing this technician to take on an assignment outside his area of expertise was a mistake. Now, someone in the company is going to have to play the “bad-guy” and remove an otherwise outstanding employee from his or her leadership post.

The job will go to someone else, but whoever gets it will be nervous about stepping into the shoes of a coworker who vacated not due to promotion but, rather, to demotion.

Additionally, the tech who lost the position will almost certainly be disgruntled, having suffered the indignity of being branded a failure. How much contagious bitterness he will spread throughout the company in the weeks and months ahead is difficult to predict. But spread it will, and almost surely to the detriment of the company—perhaps even to the extent of unsettling a number of loyal customers and reliable suppliers.

The corollary of this example is the employee who excels in his job but has no desire to be a leader. He’s promoted to that position regardless. A born follower at heart, he has no clue what to do with the leadership mantle thrust upon him. Things quickly unravel and, again, someone must act as the bad guy who brings news of demotion. Hard feelings surface and, once more, the company is in trouble.

Moral of these two stories: it is vitally important that you identify the right people for leadership roles—individuals who demonstrate the actual potential to serve in that capacity.


Finding Employees with Leadership Potential 


Here is a list of questions you should be asking yourself as you scout for individuals with the makings to become an outstanding leader. Does this person:


  • Demonstrate initiative beyond the current job position?
  • Proactively offer ideas and potential solutions to problems (thereby showing he or she is invested in the company’s success)?
  • Demonstrate accountability?
  • Possess interpersonal skills and work well with others?
  • “Make things happen” by being proactive instead of reactive?
  • Bend over backward to help customers and team members?
  • Exhibit unflinching reliability?
  • Think the same way you do when it comes to decision-making?
  • Motivate and influence others?
  • Appear capable of evolving into a strategic leader?
  • Express interest in developing or improving upon leadership and management skills?
  • Seem eager to take on more responsibility?
  • (Most importantly) Communicate clearly and concisely?


Your goal in asking these questions is to select as candidates for leadership development those individuals most likely to deliver results.

In the course of conducting your talent search, keep in mind that no rule requires you to only consider employees under the age of 40.  You’ll find great potential leaders among the ranks of your Millennial employees, yes. But you’ll also find worthy candidates among the gray-haired set. Always remember that the older employee who is intimately familiar with your processes, procedures, structure, culture, and perhaps even your customers may turn out to be an ideal individual to train for a leadership role.

Also, do not overlook the significance of America being a multicultural, multiethnic society—a fact duly acknowledged by federal and state Equal Opportunity laws which encourage you to strive for the most diverse workforce possible. So be sure to give female and minority employees careful consideration as potential leaders. They bring unique qualities and perspectives to the leadership table and, as well, enhance your ability to attract, hire, and retain top talent at all levels.


Beginning the Process of Leadership Development


Now that you have identified potential and emerging leaders among your employees, it is time to prepare them for positions at the top.

The process of developing a leader involves 10 steps. Happily, these steps are simple.


  1. Bring your emerging leaders together so that they can learn from one another. Invite them to jointly explore new ways of doing business, innovate better ways of conducting existing operations, cultivate stronger management/employee relationships, and strive to deliver highest quality service to customers, to the other members of the team, and to you. Challenge them to come up with approaches that can be adopted companywide to better support your sales team.


  1. Provide ongoing, repetitious training. The “one and done” approach to leadership training won’t cut it. The most effective way to provide training that continuously covers familiar ground (in order to hammer home the business concepts every effective leader must possess) is to offer instruction that has practical application to your leadership trainees’ day-to-day activities. The result of this training should be competency in each of these areas:


  • Strategic thinking
  • Effective decision-making
  • Managing and motivating employees
  • Change Management
  • Accountability
  • Culture transformation
  • Customer-service excellence
  • Conflict management
  • Execution
  • Communication Skills
  • Any additional training relevant to your company


  1. Send your leadership trainees to leadership events of your trade association.


  1. Send female leaders and emerging leaders to a “Women’s Leadership Event” or training program. You could also follow the example of smart companies that have benefitted greatly by implementing in-house women’s leadership development programs or, put together one of your own.


  1. Designate a seat at your executive meetings to be filled by an emerging leader. If you have more than one emerging leader in your stable, allow them to sit in on a rotating basis—welcome a different emerging leader each time the top executives meet.


  1. Request that each emerging leader’s supervisor monitors his or her progress, and update you on it at regular intervals. Make the same request to your HR department.


  1. Instruct your emerging leaders to communicate with one another often in order to share their challenges and be able to help each other.


  1. Assign to your emerging leader’s responsibility for devising viable solutions to one or more of the company’s most pressing problems. When you do, you will be amazed at the results.


  1. Set up shadowing. Have your emerging leaders spend a full day tagging along with an executive to see up close exactly what he or she does to contribute to company success. Have them shadow as well your sales manager, parts manager, and one of the sales associates.


  1. Welcome your emerging leaders into your meetings. Solicit their thoughts about the hits, runs, and misses of the previous week. Encourage them to offer their views about what they might have done differently during those last five business days to achieve greater success.


One final point. If your company is family owned and you’ll one day be passing the baton to a son, daughter, grandchild, or another relative, be sure to have in place a succession plan that includes the 10 leadership development steps listed above. Your heir apparent needs to be fully ready, willing, and able to step into your shoes and carry your legacy forward. Leadership development of family members is a matter you cannot ignore.

It has been argued that great leaders are born, not made. But that is incorrect. Because even natural-born leaders must be trained before they can successfully occupy the big office or be in front of a counter.  You owe it to your company—and to yourself—to properly and completely train individuals who are legitimately suited to become leaders. Otherwise, you may be doing nothing more than courting disaster.


© 2018, Christine Corelli & Associates, Inc. Christine Corelli has had a distinguished 25-year career as an international keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and business columnist. She has authored six books, including the best-selling, Wake Up and Smell the Competition – now in its fifth edition.  Corelli’s clients are characterized by Fortune 500 companies, major trade associations, and an abundance of mid-size and small companies. To learn more visit https://www.christinespeaks.com – To contact her for an upcoming meeting or event, call (847) 477-7376.



Strategies to Recharge Your Motivational Batteries

Most of us are aware that; for us to achieve anything in our private or business lives, we need to want change in order to move forward and improve our situation. Fighting change is like fighting time, it is an endless battle that can’t be won. In order to take the action needed to create real change, we need to have the motivation to succeed. Wishful thinking is nothing more than concentrating on what might be rather than what is.


Don’t Take Shortcuts Once You Start Seeing Results

Positive thinking and the desire to live to our true full potential should be an ongoing, continuous state of mind. In achieving this, it is important that we keep our motivational batteries fully charged and operational. It is all too easy to sit back and think that you are already at the destination so you can now relax. If your number one, you have to act like your still number two trying to get there. There is always someone ready to take your place.

To paraphrase Abe Lincoln: – when you think that you are at the end of your rope; do you tie a knot and hang on? Or, do you believe that the best way to predict your future is for you to create it?


Develop Strategies to Help You Create a Brighter Future

You need strategies to recharge your motivational batteries from time to time. This can be done through adopting life strategies like:

  1. Believe that change is easier when you embrace it. Adopt a mindset that is geared towards improvement through change. Related article: http://blog.dougdvorak.com/change-is-simple-when-you-change-your-mindset/
  2. Avoid negative thoughts and focus on the solutions rather than the problems.
  3. Think big. If you do not believe something is possible, you will attempt to accomplish it.
  4. Have a plan – possibly covering the next 10 years of your life and keep asking yourself – where will you be along life’s road at this time next year? Related article: http://blog.dougdvorak.com/what-will-your-life-be-like-in-1-year-personal-goal-setting/
  5. Be aware and learn to focus. Do not let random, irrelevant thoughts interfere with your progress.
  6. Live your life to the fullest by understanding your full potential and overcoming fear. It also helps to find your passion. When you are passionate about something you live that dream to the fullest naturally. Try not to force yourself to like something you don’t – you will burn out eventually.
  7. Learn to embrace failure. Every time you fail, you should learn something from it. If you experience extreme setbacks every time you fail, you really need to consider learning how to embrace failure so that you can become motivated quickly after you fail.
  8. Read motivational books. Knowledge of staying motivated and succeeding is critical to your success.

Unfortunately, very few have the mental ability to continuously follow such a regime. Most people end up digging themselves a deep hole that is nearly impossible to get out of. By starting today, you are making progress and progress is the cornerstone of sustained motivation and success.

For this reason, it pays to continue to read motivational books, attend seminars or adopt role models to emulate when recharging your motivational batteries. By sharing their experiences; motivational leadership speakers like Doug Dvorak can help us shape our lives for the better. Click here to know more about motivational speaking.


Learn How To Stay Motivated by Igniting Your Motivational Attitude

Whether you’ve decided to take on a new hobby, career or other lifestyle change, you must learn how to stay motivated. Most people find that the passion for starting is easy and comes freely, but after a while, it diminishes. It is important that you learn how to ignite your motivational attitude so that you can continue on your new path without getting discouraged.


Visualize Yourself Completing the Goal


visualizationVisualization of future success is a great way to get yourself mentally prepared for what you are going to have to do in order to succeed. When you tell yourself that you can’t do something, you often will not complete that task if you even begin the task in the first place. On the other hand, when you tell yourself you can do something, you often will complete the task.


Here is a great article from the Huffington Post that will give you some deeper insights into visualization and its connection to motivation and the ability to complete your goals.


Read a Motivational Book


I personally came across a great motivational book the other week by W. Clement Stone titled The Success System That Never Fails. Mr. Stone was said to be The Father of Positive Mental Attitude & Success. In his book, he listed 17 Principles of Success. Motivational books and articles like this can give you some great advice that you can put into practice.


The key here is that you take what you like out of the motivational book or article and leave what you don’t like. Once you have a list that you believe will work for you, start trying each of the suggested bullet points.


Watch a Motivational YouTube Video


Sitting down to watch a motivational YouTube video can improve your motivational levels almost immediately. There is so much to pick from, there is always something motivating for everyone. Try this YouTube video that showcases Motivational Quotes by Pitbull The Rapper. Motivational videos/audio clips are much easier and quicker to get through than motivational books and articles.


If you are short on time or if you are in need of motivation while performing a task than try putting a motivational YouTube video on. The video may just be an audio track of motivational and inspirational speakers, but it might just provide the motivational edge you were looking for.



Find Your Passion


find-your-passionMotivation is much easier when you do something you truly love. While not having passion won’t stop you from doing something, it can make it much harder to stay with. It’s also important to note that desire for something won’t necessarily make it easier to do. There could still be obstacles that you did not think of that arise along your journey that will set you back and extinguish your motivation. You may also notice that over time you may want to quit or do something different. However, passion for the change can help you push on and overlook the small (or large) challenges you face until things get easier and more interesting again.


A great way to help you improve your chances of succeeding at your next endeavor is to set goals. We have created a great article to help you understand how goal setting can improve your motivational levels and chances for succeeding in your next endeavor. Crossing the Motivational Chasm – How to Build A Bridge Between Motivation & Success With These Simple Goal Setting Tips.


Take a Break


take-a-break-relax-refresh-rechargeStraying from a project or lifestyle change for long periods can make it harder to pick it back up, but it is important that you learn how to take breaks. Allowing yourself a few moments to breathe is critical to generating new ideas, cultivating energy and fostering creativity. Forcing yourself to keep going when you’re emotionally or physically drained can cause you to lose sight of your passion and quit. Frustration can occur at any stage of any endeavor. It is wise to learn how to stop and work on something else until the frustration passes.


It is important that you take your breaks in the best possible way. This will vary from person to person. For example, walking away for five minutes may not be enough time, while a 15-minute jog might be just what your body and mind needed. Other people may find that starting a new project and working them both at different times helps them keep their mind sharp and fresh. You must practice different things while taking breaks to learn what works best for you.


Here are six different ways to take a 10-30-minute break!


  1. Take a break with a friend or make a phone call during your break
  2. Take a nap during your break
  3. Meditate during your break
  4. Eat/drink something during your break
  5. Play a game during your break
  6. Watch a video during your break


Find Others with Your Passion


Other people can help you build your passion even more and can help you when you need a break. If you are a chef and talk to others who have a passion for cooking and experimenting, you’ll awaken your motivational giant again, especially if you’re in a slump and can’t think of new dishes. The same is true of anything you take on in life, so search for others who love the same things as you. They can help you get through rough patches, but can also help provide additional motivation and creativity.


Learning how to stay motivated can be difficult, but it will be one of the most beneficial learning experiences of your life! Visit the website of Doug Dvorak now to learn more about motivational keynotes for your organization.


The 7 Characteristics of Principle-Centered Motivation & Leadership

Are you a leader that practices principle-centered leadership? Principle-centered leadership leads to long-lasting partnerships rooted in integrity between you and your staff. Through a principle-centered framework of leadership, employees will be self-motivated, teachable, and creative. Principled-centered leaders improve morale and the productivity of their staff. What makes a leader worth following? More importantly, what is Principle-Centered leadership?


True motives, effective communication, and relationships often fail when a leader lacks a deep sense of integrity and strength of personality. There are sometimes leaders who have the ability to manipulate their workers through a false sense of charisma. This method of leadership is coercive because it makes someone do what we want and utilizes power through absolute control. It breeds a working climate that could result in high employee turnover, low morale, and an environment of fear.


Principle-centered leadership motivates others by focusing on developing integrity through sound character. It is practiced by an individual’s ability to uphold their values honorably and being committed to the growth of your team. You are only as strong as your weakest link. A principle-centered leader will motivate others around him by working to transform his or her behavior first. If you want to be a principle-centered leader and motivate others around you effectively and honorably, then here are 7 characteristics of principle-centered leadership to keep in mind:


1.Never Stop Learninggirl-at-library

The place to begin is by strengthening your own sense of character. Greatness starts with yourself and spreads out to those you lead. Knowledge comes from understanding that you don’t know everything and that there will always be room for improvement. Continue to sharpen your tools by working to educate yourself and expanding your realm of experience. Read, seek training, take sales coaching classes, and listen to others with the intent of learning with both your ears and your eyes.


2. Seek to Improve the Lives of Others

Operating under the principle-centered leadership mentality means that you must be intentional and clear with your workers that you sincerely care about their professional growth and well-being. As a leader, you must learn to take responsibility for your team and build strong lines of communication crucial to sound leadership.

You can accomplish this by developing a rapport of trust and empathy through bonding. Ask how they are doing, make efforts to understand their passions and goals in life by being observant and asking meaningful questions. Praise them for the things they do well and communicate the value of their strengths.



3. Radiate a Positive Mental Attitude

quote-on-attitudePositivity begins from within and radiates outwards. Your team will appreciate your cheerfulness and pleasant attitude when you are approachable and happy. A positive mental attitude can help ground you during stressful moments. Think of your optimism and positivity as a shining beacon of light under trying times for your team when they need guidance. People gravitate towards positivity. Strive to be a peacemaker and diffuser of negative energy.  A positive mental attitude is crucial to being a principle-centered leader and an effective management tool.


Related Reading: 8 Powerful Habits To Help You Develop A Positive Mental Attitude.



4. Believe in Others

quote-on-believingPrinciple-centered leadership means having the ability to recognize the strengths of others and learning how to operate from these strengths. Principle-centered leaders are keen at recognizing the strengths of others and rather than keeping individuals from exercising the strengths within areas of weaknesses, principle-centered leaders will focus on celebrating those strengths and seek out changes to assist them in improving. Believing in the unseen potential of others creates a climate of growth and opportunity. This fosters cooperation and consistency.


stones-balancing5. Lead a Life of Balance

A principle-centered leader will understand the value of letting the pendulum swing both ways. They practice self-control and are masters of their emotions by learning to take praise without ego-tripping and accepting blame without losing one’s sense of proportion. They have a mastery of their own reactions. Principle-centered leaders understand that true failure is not learning from experiences. A true leader leads a life of balance so that he can lead effectively in any situation.


Infographic – 9 Areas of Focus to Improve Motivation Levels


6. Believe In Synergysynergy

Principle-centered leadership is grounded in strengthening the development of all members of the team. When the whole is greater than the sum of its parts you are operating synergistically. Teams will operate cohesively and more effectively when they understand why they are doing what they are doing. A principle-centered leader motivates by capitalizing on team endeavors. They are much more adept at delegating when they believe in the strengths and abilities of others.






7. Live A Life of Self Renewal

Goodness flows from the spirit we cultivate within ourselves. Principle-centered leaders understand the importance of rejuvenating and sharpening their physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being because they understand how crucial it is to the success of their personal and professional life. Stay healthy through some sort of cardiovascular activity. Exercise your mind through reading and writing. Strengthen your emotional capacity by being patient and listening to others with genuine empathy. Cultivate spirituality by focusing on meditation, prayer, and study. A principle-centered leader understands how to keep the mind and body sharp because it is crucial to operate and fire on all cylinders.



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4 Techniques to Help Manage Stress in Sales

Selling may seem like a walk in the park at first until you find yourself actually going through the task of having to get leads or close a deal. We all regulate stress every day. Stress is a natural and important part of life, but when left unmanaged, it can damper an individual’s productivity and ruin opportunities. Some people are better than others at dealing with negative emotions that come to fruition from the demanding environment of sales, which means that they are skills that can be taught.


Sales teams that don’t address workplace stress are at a huge disadvantage. It is in an organization’s best interest to teach stress management techniques because a sales team’s performance, productivity, and effectiveness are directly proportional to its success. Effective stress techniques have been proven to improve:


  • Concentration
  • Energy
  • Attitude
  • Memory
  • Patience towards frustration


The Benefits of Learning Proper Stress Management Skills


Learning and implementing stress management techniques to help regulate our physiological responses yields amazing benefits to an individual’s personal and professional life. It’s important to understand how these techniques impact our bodies.


Effective management of stress helps to:


  • Lower your heart rate
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Regulate and slow breathing
  • Decrease stress hormones
  • Increase blood flow
  • Ease muscle tension



These techniques are easy enough to learn and understand but should be practiced daily for the best results. Here are 5 smart techniques to help manage sales stress and increase performance.


Practice Tactical Breathing


Breath control is a time-honored technique. When you’re in the middle of a sales call and before your sales calls, it may not seem important, breathing-techniques-diagrambut you should make sure that you are breathing properly. Tactical breathing (box breathing or 4×4 breathing) is a technique used by personnel in the armed forces, firefighters, and police to help manage stress on the spot during high-risk situations.


While our everyday stress during sales calls and client meetings is probably not as dramatic, the weight of it is ours and ours alone to deal with. If you find yourself holding your breath or taking shallow breaths, it could be a sign that you’re too upset or nervous. Customers can likely hear that in your voice or may even hear the breathing, which may turn them off and cause them to hang up.


Regulate your breath by practicing the following technique:


  • Breathe in through your nose to the count of 4
  • Hold your breath to the count of 4
  • Breathe out through your mouth to the count of 4
  • Hold your breath to the count of 4
  • Repeat until you feel your mind and body relax


Vary this technique by breathing in to the count of 4 and out to the count of 7, or what feels comfortable for your situation. It’s important to breathe from your diaphragm and feel it contract and expand.

Repeat A Motivational Mantra


A mantra is a word, sound, slogan, or statement that is repeated out loud to help with concentration and other forms of meditation. It can be one of the quickest ways to calm down and clear your mind. A mantra can be a simple word like “breath”, repeating something you are grateful for, or a phrase such as “do your best”. Mantras work by helping to anchor your thoughts in the reality of the moment and increase your presence of mind.


Related Article: Get Motivated Through Motivational Mindfulness Meditation! Here’s How!



Managing sales stress through a motivational mantra will help you keep calm, remain inspired, and be ready to handle whatever the day throws your way. Whether it’s dealing with cold calls, negotiating with difficult clients or coworkers, use these examples or make up your own to help fill your mind with positivity and boost encouragement:


Common Mantras:quote-controlling-your-thoughts

  • “Show Up”
  • “This Too Shall Pass”
  • “Be Humble”
  • “With Change Comes Opportunity”
  • “Trust the Process”
  • “You Only Fail When You Stop Trying”
  • “No means not yet”
  • “Progress is a process”



Mantras are relative. Everyone has different issues that they deal with or goals they would like to achieve and the right mantra can reflect that. The best words, sounds, and phrases will help serve your specific situation and are relative to your experiences.


Take a Quick Walksteps-to-mindful-walking


Exercise is a timeless and proven method to ease tension and improve your mental attitude. If you’re looking to get a quick boost of energy, it might help to take a quick walk around the block during your lunch break, walk a few flights of stairs, or simply take time off from your desk to stand up, stretch, and roll your head around a few times. Studies have shown that nature walks have a profound effect on increasing overall well-being and ease bouts of depression.



Ease Your Mind Through Music


Calming music and sound therapy have been proven to ease minds and reduce tension. Choosing the right music has a profound effect on how your mind responds to the environment around it. In addition to calming your nerves, the right music can help you get into a momentum of productivity and focus that can help when you’re trying to get important spreadsheets finished or when you’re drafting plans or writing papers. In our hyper-connected, digital world music can help reduce stress and improve productivity. You can log on to Spotify and create your own playlist of 10 of the most soothing songs you know, or listen to a few of the below playlists to get you started.

Playlists to Help Manage Sales Stress




Stay Calm To Close Deals


While some stress is good and can even be motivating, it can also be extremely detrimental to closing sales deals and can have a damaging impact on your sales team if left unmanaged. The very nature of work that a salesperson does is typically in a high-stress environment. Coping with stress is a skill and should be practiced. Developing coping mechanisms is one of the most important life-skills. By learning to manage sales stress you will improve your sales numbers and meet your quotas.


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