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Leadership Lessons—You Never Know Where You Find Leaders

I’m writing this from the Dwyer Group’s 34nd Annual Reunion in Orlando, Fla. We are expecting 1,800 attendees this year, which is the largest attendance ever! This week’s blog is about finding leaders … you need to identify them in your own organization and your goal should be to recognize them.

This morning was the Reunion Golf Tournament. More than 90 golfers teed off. Two people are mainly responsible for the success of this year’s event. Augie works for Rosen Shingle Creek Resort and his job is putting together outings like ours. He isn’t good at it—he is great at it. We had so many say, “Hey can I still play … and I need golf clubs, too” (This is as they stand there with golf shoes in hand). Or we get the opposite “I can’t make it after all.” (We get the money up front and don’t have to deal with that comment often).

The other individual responsible for the success works with me. Shirley Witt, a Glass Doctor training coordinator, has been with us for 14 years. She isn’t a manager but she is a leader. For many years the golf outing has been Shirley’s event. She isn’t a golfer but she makes things happen.

Today, I heard someone say, laughingly, “You don’t have to listen to what Liston is saying but you better pay attention to what Shirley tells you!” That respect is earned. That is what leaders receive.

Who is the “Shirley” in your organization?

Over the last few years I have come to appreciate Shirley’s many talents. She sets up training at Glass Doctor University for franchise owners. She has handled all of our hotel contracts and events for our Glass Doctor Convention in New Orleans last year and is already in negotiations for the convention in San Antonio in March. Shirley is in charge of coordinating our Glass Doctor Reunion.

I’ve told Shirley she can’t ever leave or retire until I retire. She thinks I’m kidding. I’m not!

The trouble with some leaders is they believe that the only leaders in their organization are those with impressive titles. They aren’t. Looking back over my years in business there have been many “Shirleys” in places where I worked. The problem is I don’t think I told most of them just how appreciative I am of their contributions.

People like this tend to be leaders in everything they do. They accept responsibility and take charge. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t manage them. There will be times when you defer to their decisions. Sometimes, they’ll need your input and guidance. However, it is important to validate their decisions when you can to keep them challenged and motivated.

The world turns with the “Shirleys” out there. Your challenge this week is to identify your “Shirley” and put in place a plan to maximize her potential. I’m lucky—I already have mine, and I’m grooming another to keep the organization strong.

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