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Welcome to the world’s first SMALL BIZ Alphabet Series of blog posts!



So much has been written on this subject, here and elsewhere (and no where as meaningfully, in my opinion , as Rudy Giuliani’s book, LEADERSHIP), yet it cannot be ignored here as the “L” topic. Without it, there is no business –yours or anyone’s. With it, even when it’s as pathetic as that which we see (and don’t see) from the White House, there’s always at least a remote chance of success hovering above the clouds of follower discontent.

The problem we face as entrepreneurs and small business owners and managers is that –unlike some careers in science, accounting, programming, and assembly line manufacturing– small business startup and development success is determined as much by effective leadership as by the central ideas, products, and services represented.

And leadership doesn’t spill out of a cereal box, a webinar, an MBA program, Fortune magazine, or a fortune cookie. Leadership comes from inside you. It is, more than anything, an attitude. It is responsiveness. It is a show of good faith and respect for others. It is having exceptional communication and motivational skills.

But–above all elseit is having a personal foundation cornerstoned by authenticity, integrity, and trust. The closest thing to spontaneous rise-to-the-occasion leadership comes from the military when opportunities to plan and prepare may not always exist. It is otherwise a role most of us grow into of necessity and develop accidentally.

I’ve worked with and written about leaders being most effective when they pull instead of push, when they solicit input instead of quash it, when they reward failures for the effort and inspire others to top performance rather than berate others for failures and constantly prod to produce productivity.

Truly effective leaders are truly transparent in both words and deeds.


Having a “take charge” attitude is a great asset for leadership when it’s exercised quietly, but having a take charge behavior –acting out internal convictions often results in a non-productive fearsome or obnoxious reputation that diminishes responsiveness and commitment by others. Instead, challenge others to take risks.

It’s a thin line, leadership. And walking the walk counts for substance and achievement. Talking the talk is for shallow minds and empty suits. Your business counts for something important to you. Working at continuous improvement of your leadership skills will move that “something Important” closer to reality.

And you have that new opportunity to be the best leader you can be for your business every hour of every day. Look for ways to measure how you’re coming across to others. Practice what you preach. Ask for feedback, Encourage innovative thinking (taking creative ideas all the way to implementation). Reward with praise.

Be sincere. Be honest. Be an example, Be the leadership you seek to inspire. Watch your business grow.

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