Listen to the Warning Signs

How do you know if your leadership is on track?

Summary
Transcript

Great leaders attract great followers; poor leaders often attract the “wrong” followers. Duane Cummings—author, entrepreneur, coach and consultant—says that he has had times when he’s been both kinds of leaders. “I got down in the trenches too deep to where I couldn't see the helicopter view. I was not looking out for the people that I should've been looking out for,” says Duane.

In this Leadercast NOW video, Duane shares lessons learned from his leadership journey and his book, The Sensational Salesman. He explains that much of his success today is from his early mistakes and failures. Looking back on his journey, he realizes now that the warning signs were there all along.

Duane relays the biggest sign: “The minute you have to second-guess something, you're offtrack. That should be a huge indicator. Because your purpose or your mission, your goal, your vision should be so clear, as a company, as an individual, that you don't even have to think about it.”

Are you attracting the right kind of followers? If not, spend some time evaluating your gut instincts or any area in which you might be second-guessing yourself. We must first lead ourselves to truly be a leader worth following.

Want to know more about achieving a sensational life? Dive into Duane’s Leadercast NOW channel for more of his sensational leadership insights!

Well, I have written a blog recently about leaders and how one day they could be in tune and the next day they could be out of sorts. And that was a story about me because a couple of decades ago, I got off track as a leader and I lost my audience or my followers. And I lost them because I forgot what I had started walking or going or moving towards. I took my eye off the ball, if you want to use that phrase, and I just got in the minutiae of life. I got down in the trenches too deep to where I couldn't see the helicopter view. I was not looking out for the people that I should've been looking out for.

Because that's what leadership is, leadership is saying, "This is where I'm going, this is why I'm going there and it will benefit those that go with me." And then they believe in you and they follow you and I lost track of that. I was going somewhere for all the wrong reasons and for the wrong purpose. So then people question your intent and then they stop following and then you have to start all over again because you can't just stop in midstream and recover. You're going to lose some people, you're going to gain some people that are coming onto your team because they are coming on for what they think is something that you're really not supposed to be doing. They come in at the wrong time, they see the wrong type of leadership and so you get the wrong followers. So I had to start from scratch and go back.

The first thing I had to do is be honest with myself and then I had to apologize to the world and then I had to go build that house, one brick at a time, all over again. My life is so different now because of the mistakes I made early on. And I again say I didn't fail at anything, I just didn't get the results I wanted. And fortunately, I don't have to put my hand in the stove more than once to figure out it's hot. So when I would learn a lesson, I truly took it in and I don't make mistakes very often twice. Once in a while, it would jump up and bite me. But if I learned a lesson 20 years ago, I'm not only staying away from that lesson now, but I'm improving upon things. I'm looking further forward. I'm seeing indicators that would say, "Hey, you're going in the wrong direction. You might need to get back on path." So it keeps me from getting in those dark areas. And as a leader, I use those examples to help others stay away from the mistakes I made.

You do the same thing as a parent. You hope that your children don't make the same errors that you made. And some of the indicators that pop up, either for me or that I see in other people when life might be getting out of control a little bit, they're there all the time, we just suppress them. So what I always say is we need to filter in what most people are filtering out. And that typically begins with "listen to your gut" because our instincts, our DNA, it's all there to tell us, "Hey, something's going on, you should be fearful, you should be worried." Your body starts responding differently. But we ignore those, we get a little fatigued, we get grumpy, we're not paying attention. There's something wrong either with diet or exercise or the time we're spending in our social life. And then we catch ourselves thinking twice about decisions and why we're making a decision. And the minute you have to second-guess something, you're offtrack. That should be a huge indicator. Because your purpose or your mission, your goal, your vision should be so clear, as a company, as an individual, that you don't even have to think.

It's kind of like a golfer when they step up to take a swing. They're not thinking about the mechanics of the swing, they're thinking about the shot they're going to make. The minute you start thinking about why you're making a decision or if is this the right decision, that's an indicator that you may be off-base. If you can reflect on yourself and see an indicator or saw a flag popping up for you that says, "Oh, my life's a little out of whack," then just like going to a doctor, then you should get someone in your life, whether it's a mentor, another leader, a peer, a colleague, somebody that will help you through that process. It's always best to have somebody that might've been there before that's going to give you honest and candid feedback. But if you had a sore foot or if you knew something just didn't feel right in your ankle, you'd go to the doctor and you'd have it diagnosed. So maybe it's a coach.

There are a lot of people that have executive coaches or coaches for different aspects of their life. Every athlete that I know of, for the most part, grew up with a coach. So there's nothing wrong with saying, "I need someone else to give me a different perspective and tell me what they're seeing." And actually, the people that are making the most impact in my life are people that hold a mirror up for me and they just keep asking questions until I see myself clearly and I can usually figure out what's going on and correct it.
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Duane Cummings

Duane Cummings lives life with a single purpose, “To Aid Others, Act on Ideas, and Achieve Sensational Results.” He is a trusted advisor to organizations and individuals around the world regarding professional and personal development...

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