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Colin Powell’s 6 Steps to Being a Great Leader

I had the great pleasure to see Colin Powell live at the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum in Georgia recently. Below are his six steps to being a great leader. I have chosen one of my favorite quotes to emphasize each point.

1. Have a Sense of Purpose

“In times of adversity, leaders can energize people and give them a sense of mission and purpose to defeat the adversity they are facing. They create an esprit de corps that keeps people going, to get through tough times.” – Harbir Singh

2. Be Passionate

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” – John Maxwell

3. Inspire, Don’t Motivate

“If you want to build a boat, do not instruct your team to saw wood, stitch the sales, prepare the tools and organize the work. Instead, make them long for setting sail and traveling to distant lands.” – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum

4. Recognize True Achievements

“Ironically, by trying not to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally ‘nicely’ regardless of their contributions, you’ll simply ensure that the only people you’ll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization.” – General Powell himself

5. Prune Constantly

“There are so many people who think they want to be matadors, only to find themselves in the ring with two thousand pounds of bull bearing down on them. They then discover that what they really wanted was to wear tight pants and hear the crowd roar.” – Terry Pearce

6. Be a Problem Solver

“A leader must be the person people come to in times of crisis. When they get there, they must never see fear or fatigue.” – General Powell himself

What are your thoughts on leadership in the real estate industry today?
I’d love to hear them.

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6 replies
  1. Bernda
    Bernda says:

    I always enjoy meeting people, and learning about them–their life, their goals, their achievements. If I think of 5 people I would like to meet and learn more about, Colin Powell is on the top of my list! Thank you for the reading….I am inspired.

  2. Chris Read
    Chris Read says:

    I would add a 7th factor for every leader: Trust is “the one thing that changes everything” says Stephen Covey in his book “The Speed of Trust.” According to Covey there are four core values that make up trust: Integrity, Intent, Capabilities and Results. To me trust should be the basic building block of any and all good leadership. Agents want to ‘trust’ their Manager’s advice…Independent Contractors want to ‘trust’ their Broker/Owner’s company direction….Clients want to ‘trust’ their Agent’s suggestions…..Co workers want to ‘trust’ each other. Strong leaders of our future must exemplify the best of qualities in all four of the Core categories.

  3. Gail Carillo
    Gail Carillo says:

    …And the person to trust most is yourself!Confidence is key. It is imperative to give “true” and accurate information to prospective clients and not paint the picture you “think” they want painted. Good agents can deliver good news but Great agents can deliver difficult news. Preparing a client upfront for what is to be expected creates a safe island in the future. I find that over delivery as opposed to over rating is the better approach. I subscribe to this concept not only in business but in life in general. Trust yourself and the rest will follow…

  4. Steve Harney
    Steve Harney says:

    WOW!! What great posts!

    You bought the discussion to another level.

    You helped us realize it is more than just business. As we say at KCM ‘Tell them the truth and trust their intelligence.’ Or as Albert Einstein said: “A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be.”

    Absolutely great stuff!!


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