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We’ve all had experiences of working with great leaders; a parent or a teacher or a CEO. Isn’t it funny how we can easily recognize great and poor leadership, but when it comes to becoming a great leader or building great leadership in an organization — it’s been a case of easier said than done.
Tom Reid, attorney, consultant and the author of Sustained Leadership WBS: A Disciplined Project Approach to Building You and Your Team into Better Leaders believes it’s important to put a well-defined process in place to develop leaders for our teams and our organizations.
Sustained Leadership looks more like a textbook than a small business book. The good news for you, as a business owner, is that you don’t HAVE to read the whole thing front to back (although some have done just that). In fact, Tom Reid recommends that you simply crack the book and where you land is what you should be reading that day.
So, let’s take him up on this offer. I did a bit of a digital crack of the book in a conversation I had with Tom during our weekly #BizapaloozaChat.
What Does it Mean to be a Leader?
Too often, we simply don’t know what it means to be a leader – we know how a great leader makes us feel or we can, after the fact, reflect on experiences that didn’t seem very pleasant at the start, yet turned out to be defining moments in our lives and careers.
At the core, there is only one thing you need to be a leader — followers.
To be a good leader, you’ll need much more than that.
While you can volunteer for a leadership position – creating sustained leadership is the true definition of a leader. To not only enroll a group of people to your vision or cause but to have them “choose to follow you.” This is the real essence of sustained leadership.
How is Leadership Different from Power?
When you’re in a negotiation situation, always remember that you are at the table because you have some level of power. “Don’t ever believe that you come to any situation with no power”.
We are most familiar with position power. This is the most obvious type of power, and the weakest kind. the kind you get from having a title.
A really powerful and interesting way to find out who really has the power is to go around the organization and ask people who they take their problems to. You’ll find after talking to a few folks that this is where the real leaders will emerge from.
Leadership of Teams
The book emphasizes that you need leaders at every level of the organization. If you’re the head janitor, you are a leader because these are important functions.
Can Leadership and Character be Learned?
We had a lively discussion about not just leadership, but character and if it could be taught. Admittedly, I was dubious, but Reid was adamant that elements of good character could be taught — it wouldn’t be easy, but it could absolutely be done.
In fact, inside the 600+ pages of Sustained Leadership, you’re going to find a step-by-step process for doing exactly that. The character section of the book is actually the longest. You can’t take big chunks of character and develop them all at once. You can improve what’s going on in your world and improve your character.
A Few Words About WBS – Work Breakdown Structure
If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering “What is WBS?” WBS stands for Work Breakdown Structure. It’s a project management concept that means taking a large piece of a project and breaking it down into smaller, more manageable parts. This is a really unique and innovative way to look at leadership. Leadership has always been viewed as a soft skill. And while many experts touted the idea that leadership was a skill that could be taught, most of the teaching of leadership has been relatively esoteric in nature.
With this idea of breaking leadership down into smaller, more manageable components and treating it as a project rather than a soft skill, people who are in leadership positions can finally see all the elements of leadership inside of this work breakdown structure, they can select which areas to work on and ultimately create a structure in which to operate.
You can see Tom Reid’s Sustained Leadership Work Breakdown Structure online and download a free PDF for yourself.
Sustained Leadership WBS is for Leaders at Every Level
Don’t be freaked out by the overall size, weight, and content of Sustained Leadership WBS, think of it as an encyclopedia of leadership. Regardless of whether you’re a small business owner, consultant or manager, you will get a step-by-step process that will help you develop your leadership skills.