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Maxims from Mike - As the leader goes, so goes the organization.

Hello Leaders,

Welcome to Today. This week's Leadership and Personal Development tip embraces organizational growth.

Maxim: As the leader goes, so goes the organization.

Many organizations continue to thrive due to an outstanding leader at the helm. The leader has put an incredible team in place, has the right systems and processes, and is laser focused on the mission of the organization. As the leader continues to grow his or her capabilities, the organization continues to grow. So how can others do likewise? How can they get their organizations, groups, or teams growing? The leaders must grow by raising the lid on their potential. This is the Law of the Lid.

According to John Maxwell, "Leadership ability is the lid that determines a person's level of effectiveness. The lower an individual's ability to lead, the lower the lid on his potential. The higher an individual's ability to lead, the higher the lid on her potential." Further, a team will only rise to the level of effectiveness of its leader.

A few observations

I have seen many organizations where the top leader (CEO/Bishop/Superintendent) has clearly articulated a compelling vision and motivated the members (employees/congregations/teachers) to achieve its mission. Parts of the organization were thriving! But a certain group was stagnant at best or withering at worst. The thriving groups were healthy and upbeat. The withering group was toxic and downcast. What was the key difference? The leader of the group.

As the leader goes, so goes the organization, the group, or the team. If we want a healthy team, it is paramount we have a healthy leader leading us. Further, to have a growing team, it is imperative to have a growing leader. On a scale of 1 - 10, if my leadership effectiveness is a 5, my team will only grow to a 4. To grow beyond that level, I either need to raise my leadership potential or be replaced.

Many gifted salespeople have been promoted to sales managers. Some did extremely well while others failed miserably. Those who succeeded understood it would take a different skillset to lead a team versus being an individual contributor. Many who failed either tried to make replicas of themselves or simply told the team to do as they did as a salesperson. They did not grow as a leader. As a result, their teams languished.

"...the higher up you go in an organization, the more you need to make other people winners and not make it about winning yourself." This is an excerpt from Marshall Goldsmith's book What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful. They become more successful by raising the lid on their potential... their leadership potential. How do we do it?


1. Solicit feedback. Our opinion of ourselves may be greater than the opinions of others. Growing leaders seek feedback. They seek input from superiors, colleagues, subordinates, clients, communities, etc. They look for trends within the various data. If there are several things that continue to surface, they work on them. They also solicit feedback informally by asking questions in various settings. John Maxwell remarked, "Good leaders ask great questions." The feedback is sought in an effort to continuously improve. Margaret McKenzie, President of Cleveland Clinic South Pointe Hospital, recently commented, "Everywhere I go, I try to create a learning environment." As the staff continues to learn, they will continue to grow. As leaders, we grow our organizations by growing ourselves. Honest feedback is a key to knowing our areas of strengths and areas of weaknesses.

2. Invest in leadership training. Pay the price today to get the results you want tomorrow. Some may argue leaders are born, not made. Whereas there are many gifted leaders who have inherent traits, the rest of us can learn how to become great leaders, if we invest in ourselves and put in the work. President Harry S. Truman said, "In reading the lives of great men, I have found that the first victory they won was over themselves... Self-discipline with all of them came first." John Maxwell followed with, "That is true not just of great achievers, but also of effective leaders. Good leaders practice self-control before they try to engage others. Self-discipline comes before leadership success. It is the price tag of leadership." Great companies recognize the need and invest in select individuals by sending them to intensive leadership summits, executive education courses, etc. They understand the need for ongoing leadership education and giving leaders-and potential leaders-the opportunity to apply what they are learning. Invest in yourself and invest in your people. There is no fast track; and shortcuts do not work. Stay disciplined and continuously put in the work to raise your lid. Invest in good leadership training.

3. Get a coach. Mentors are great. If you need someone to emulate, a mentor is a great person to have. Sponsors have their place. They can open doors you cannot. They can vouch for your capabilities and/or potential. A coach is the person who will help bring out the best in you. She is the person who will help you develop and maximize the leadership traits you have. She will help, not so much by providing answers, but by helping you ask the right questions to derive the best answers. An article in Inc. Magazine reads, "The world's best leaders were simultaneously exceptionally talented, skilled, determined, and aware that they could be better. And they understood the value of a great coach to help them improve themselves. Great CEOs like Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, and Bill Gates all sought out great coaches to help them up their game.​" If these iconic leaders benefited from a coach, how much more can we benefit. It's worth the investment. Hire the right coach.

Wrap up

Raise your leadership lid so that your team can soar. If you are not a leader yet, start investing in yourself now so that others will recognize your potential and invest in you also. If your team is not performing optimally, there are some changes in order. It could be specific team members. Or it could be the need for you to raise your lid.

At Apogee, we work with entities to strengthen their pipeline of leaders. We specialize in strengthening the pipeline of diverse leaders. We can help you raise your lid as well as the lid of other leaders in the organization. We welcome the opportunity to help you grow your team by helping you blow the lid off of your leadership potential! Be the outstanding leader at the helm.

That's it for now. Until the next tip....

Mike Nwankwo

Founder & CEO


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