Willing to Lead/Willing to Succeed


By Brian Canning

Lead­ers, who are respon­si­ble for deliv­er­ing pos­i­tive results, carry the weight of the world on their shoul­ders and, work­ing through our employ­ees, over­see every aspect of our busi­ness. They are very lit­er­ally the ones who take our ideas and turn them into action, take our goals and turn them into dri­ven reality.

Lead­ers need to be focused, task dri­ven and nearly bul­let­proof. They do things that many of us would choose not to do and by step­ping out from the crowd and highly vis­i­ble, they are often con­ve­nient tar­gets, blamed and dis­cred­ited at every step. We would be lost and rud­der­less with­out them and in their abil­ity to move us and our agenda for­ward, despite their many imper­fec­tions and our reli­able resis­tance (kick­ing and scream­ing comes to mind); they find ways to make us extraordinary.

Look at your own oper­a­tion over the years and track your high­lights and low­lights. I would sug­gest to you that in the case of your com­pe­ti­tion it wasn’t great ideas alone, it was also lead­er­ship and thought­ful implementation.

It wasn’t mar­ket­ing — it was drive and moti­va­tion and the courage to imple­ment a great plan. Ideas and expo­sure by them­selves do not win us mar­ket share. The con­vic­tion that some­thing needs to change and the will and deter­mi­na­tion to see it through are what take a great plan and make it into a suc­cess. Look at your own oper­a­tion and look at your great­est suc­cesses. There were great ideas there but anger or a new deter­mi­na­tion or very real neces­sity made your ded­i­ca­tion more com­plete, your deter­mi­na­tion more urgent. Take an idea and make it a new real­ity. Great lead­er­ship is where it begins and where it ends.

An accep­tance of respon­si­bil­ity and a stub­born deter­mi­na­tion to suc­ceed and over­come, will serve you much bet­ter than any­thing else. I would sus­pect that even if you don’t love peo­ple, you at least have to respect them and have an appre­ci­a­tion for them.

You have to be will­ing to both lift them up and ask them for bet­ter. And this no mat­ter how tired or busy or over­whelmed you already are. By descrip­tion you are expected to have the answers even when they know you don’t, to show the way when you don’t have a map and are already lost, accept the blame even when it wasn’t your fault and refuse to quit or give up, even in the face of many doubts. You are the leader and this is what lead­ers do.

And don’t worry about mak­ing mis­takes or bad deci­sions; your loyal staff will be happy to note and expound upon and remind you of every one of these, ad-infinitum. They are your peo­ple and that is what peo­ple do.

Brian Can­ning is 30 year vet­eran of the auto­mo­tive repair indus­try who recently moved to the fed­eral sec­tor as a busi­ness ana­lyst, writ­ing for SearchAuoParts.com. Read the full arti­cle here.