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1. ‘Leaders are born’ is bullshit

I don’t consider myself a “born-great” anything especially ‘a leader’.  Nobody is looking at a 2-year-old for management advice because they’re “born with it.” Are you kidding me?

LIFE teaches you patience, resilience, and understanding which can help to lead effectively. I talk about smiling in the face of adversity or manufacturing adversity to not get soft.  I take a cold shower every morning so the rest of my day can only get better. My team takes the stairs to our 5th-floor offices every day instead of the elevator. We weren’t born with that ethic, we practice discipline every day and become stronger leaders together.

2.  Leaders are those with the highest title/position and best education

I want to make one thing blatantly clear: Your title has nothing to do with leadership ability. I never hire people with the most education from the top schools or based on their title or position. I almost tried to hire these workers at this Deli in New York … they were the best team unit and example of leadership to get shit done I’ve seen.  So don’t go through resume after resume to find good leaders with great titles or experiences.

I’ve seen entry-level employees show more leadership potential than managers. I’ve seen kids on the bench care more about their team than the starting point guard. Harry Kraemer, a clinical professor of strategy at Northwestern University, admits that there’s validity in “leading where you are.” It’s not about where you want to be, but about being present in the moment and giving your best.   

Who cares about a title if you don’t show up fully for your team?

3.  Leadership is easy

I’m not sitting on my ass while my team works to the bone. I inspire my team and lead by example. That means steps instead of elevators, stand at my desk,  burpee breaks, take every meeting and try to answer every email. I can’t expect my team to work 24/7 if I don’t.   

Leading a team is the hardest thing you’ll ever have to do so if you want to start a business or be the boss because you think it’s easy…think again!

4.  Leaders enjoy firing people

I know I’m a hard-ass, and there’s a handful of people who think I’m too rough with parenting, management, and fitness routines. But I’ll stand here confidently and tell you that I don’t enjoy having the tough conversations with those who “mess up.”

We all make mistakes and need guidance from time to time but we need to hold people accountable so they can learn and grow. If they don’t, then it’s time to have the hard conversation. I hate letting employees go, but if it’s for the benefit of the entire company, it needs to happen.

 What you may not realize is that firing an employee can cost a company money, time, productivity, relationships, and so on. Even Dick Grote, author of How to Be Good at Performance Appraisals, says that asking a leader to fire an employee is the “single most difficult thing” management consultants ask them to do. 

5.  Leaders are confident in their decisions

My motto is “fire, ready, aim” which sometimes means making the wrong decision. Sometimes we make the right one and create something called “the trifecta.” Either way, we take action and move on quickly.   

Leaders are human. We’re not put in leadership positions because we always know the right answer. We’re here because we know how to find it. Sometimes that means motivating an unproductive employee to start that new project. Sometimes it means asking investors for help or letting clients go when the relationship isn’t right.

I don’t always have 100 percent confidence in every decision, but I make it and move on to the next 1,000 I need to make that day.

Stop over-analyzing everything and Spartan Up…you’ll be a better leader just being a Spartan!

Joe

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