What’s the “it factor” in leadership? As sales managers and coaches, how do we extract, lift up, and teach “it?”

Let’s start with what the “it factor” is in leadership.  That’s easy. It’s the common and most important factor in GREAT leaders – great leaders being defined as someone having a positive and lasting impact on the welfare and direction of others over a long period of time.  Who meets these conditions … Captain Abrashoff of the USS Benfold (book: It’s My Ship), Coach Wooden (10 national championships, UCLA), Billy Graham (evangelist to millions), Martin Luther King (revolutionary for equality), Frances Hesselbein (CEO of Girl Scouts: quoted by Peter Drucker as “the greatest leader he had ever met”).

The common “it” factor in every one of these extraordinary people was …

“They possessed a large measure of love for people seated in their hearts, and with it they focused their lives on serving others with humility.” …

They lead others toward important responsibilities – ones that provided for a better life of service and its end results (goals) … and, each of these people believed success to be in the day-to-day process.  It was a process of giving the best of one’s gifts in the effort to make a difference in the lives of others through present circumstances.

Captain Abrashoff inspired his crew into turning one of the worst ships in the Navy into the best for the protection of the crew and the American People.  Coach Wooden, who never talked about winning, focused on improvement and helped his young men win championships for each other, the university, and the fans.  Billy Graham improved the spirituality of a nation.  Martin Luther lived out the practical implications of Graham’s faith.  Frances Hesselbein’s motivation always came from “the inside and for her love of service – not for money or outside motivators.”

Now, for the second question.  How do leadership educators extract “it”, lift “it” up, and teach it.  Well, I believe they do this understanding that “it” is not an “it,” and that we do not teach “it.”  We live it – a life of service.

To work everyday at leading people in service to others is a quality of a person’s character.  It is deeply embedded into the fabric of their being.

And, how do people receive this factor – one that positively explodes their work into greatness?

A love for service is received through the influence of others who have this trait of authentic service sewn into THEIR hearts.


Perhaps, parents.  Perhaps, a great middle school teacher.  Perhaps, a person who loved God.  Perhaps, a consultant.  Perhaps, a janitor.  Perhaps, a homeless person.  You catch “it,” – this serving heart.  You always have a choice to receive it or not.  And, when you do, you can give it to others for the rest of your life – even as YOU continue to GROW in this quality.  Now, let’s go make things better.  Lance

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