By Jeb Blount, author of People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership

In leadership one principle stands above all: You need your people more than they need you. Another way of saying this is that you get paid for what your people do, not for what you do.

If you only internalize one lesson about leadership, make this the one. A basic understanding that you need your people more than they need you is the single most important leadership lesson you will ever learn. In our leadership seminars, we spend more time on this principle than any other concept. Why? Because until you get this—and I mean really make this principle part of your heart and soul—you cannot be a great leader. No exceptions. (more…)

By Jeb Blount, Author of People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership

Each week I travel the country speaking to groups of leaders at meeting and conferences.  No matter where I go I’m asked the same question time and again by leaders ranging from frontline managers to CEOs , “How can I motivate my employees?” I’ve heard this question repeated thousands of times. However, what the person asking usually means is “How can I manipulate my employees to do what I want them to do?” (more…)

By Jeb Blount, Author of People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership

Trust in the workplace is fragile. Companies and their leaders have added to the inherent suspicion people carry for their bosses by using the terms trust, teamwork, and transparency as buzz words. They hire consultants, hold special meetings, or do team-building and trust-building exercises. Then everyone goes right back to what they were doing before the feel-good exercise, nothing changes, and skepticism and distrust prevail. What is missing in these often empty exercises is that trust is personal. It is emotional. It is earned. It is a foundation that is built—one brick at a time. (more…)

By Jeb Blount, Author of People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership

Leaders have tough jobs. Why? Because in most cases they bear 100 percent of the responsibility for the performance of their team yet receive little glory for their efforts. The best leaders work longer hours, endure more stress, and have greater responsibility than the people they manage.

Each day leaders must deal with emotional, and often irrational, people who demand attention. Leaders are called upon to be coaches, mentors, mothers, fathers, and amateur psychologists in order to keep their troops motivated, focused, and delivering on goals. If this isn’t hard enough, leaders are often put in the position of shielding their people from corporate policy wonks, Peter Principle executives, and bureaucrats who erect roadblocks and cause chaos in the workplace. (more…)

By Jeb Blount, Author of People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership

During seminars when I teach leaders the principle that “People don’t do dumb things on purpose.” invariably some joker will say, “Looks like you haven’t met my people.”

You may be thinking the same thing because like me, you’ve observed people do some really dumb things. What is important to understand, though, is no one wakes up in the morning and looks into the bathroom mirror and says “You know, today I think I’m going to sabotage my job by doing something really stupid.” (more…)

By Jeb Blount, Author of People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership

As a leader you must never forget that you are the boss. You have power, and your decisions impact the lives and careers of the people on your team. Because you are the boss your people watch and analyze your every move—looking for meaning and clues to what you are thinking. What is most important to understand is that your people place meaning on your behaviors based on their own unique perspective.

Consider Colin, a sales manager in Burbank, California. One morning before work he had a heated argument with his wife. All the way into the office he stewed over the fight. Still upset when he got to the office Colin walked through the sales bullpen with an angry look on his face, and without saying a word to anyone, marched straight into the office and slammed his door. Once inside his office he took a moment to calm down and collect himself before starting his day. (more…)

By Jeb Blount, Author of People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership

We live in a society that thrives on 15-minutes-of-fame thrill rides. Reality shows like The Apprentice, where Donald Trump baits and then summarily fires contestants, dominate TV ratings. These shows frequently glorify the bad behavior that seems to be slowly, but surely, seeping into our society. The 24-hour news cycle is an endless stream of stories about leaders who have been caught doing bad things. In the midst of this barrage it is easy to lose faith that leaders can actually do good and serve others; that men and women of character still exist.  (more…)

By Jeb Blount, Author of People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership

Here is the question most often asked by leaders:

“How do I get my people to do what they are supposed to do?”

In other words, most leaders are interested in how they can move people. Leaders are constantly seeking ways to motivate their employees to do take the right actions, for the right reasons, at the right time.

It would easy to write a dissertation on the mechanics of getting people to do what they are supposed to do. Yet this would ignore the most fundamental, and important, aspect of leading people—developing, nurturing, and leveraging the interpersonal relationship between leader and follower. .  (more…)

By Jeb Blount, Author of People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership

Here is a fact: As a leader the more questions you ask, the more your people will develop and ultimately win. To help people develop, you must first help them become aware, on their own terms, of the need to change. To do that, you ask questions. Unfortunately most leaders do not ask enough questions.

You’ve likely been through some type of training program where you were taught about open-ended and closed-ended questions. In the training, you learned that open-ended questions are good and closed-ended questions are bad. From there a few general examples of open-ended questions and closed-ended questions were passed around the training room, and, unfortunately, the questioning module was then concluded. (more…)

By Jeb Blount, author of People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership

Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. – Vince Lombardi

Sales Managers have the hardest job in sales. Why? Sales Managers bear 100% of the responsibility for the performance of their sales team yet receive little glory for their efforts. In most cases sales managers earn less than their top salespeople. Yet, the best sales managers work longer hours, endure more stress, and have greater responsibility than the salespeople they manage. (more…)