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Leadership in the New Year: 10 Lessons from the Best

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Terry Moore

The 19-year-old second lieutenant arrived in the trenches inhabited by battle hardened veterans. He didn't know squat. They all understood that. Yet in spite of his inexperience he found ways to lead and saved them all from the single biggest cause of being removed from the front. It wasn't the enemy army that took the biggest toll.

Warren Bennis, the world's leading expert on leadership, passed recently. Bennis created modern leadership study. His book On Becoming a Leader organized the insights gained from extensive interviews with 29 high impact people in a variety of fields. Still Surprised was his volume of reflections after 60+ adult years of leadership study. If you aspire to better leadership or to greater wealth, consider the following ideas Bennis articulated in those two works.

1. Leaders learn to lead by leading. Practice is better than preaching. Taking action trumps the paralysis of analysis. Bennis was that young Army officer. He sought to model the best officers.

2. Leaders face the truth. Writer and CEO Max DePree maintains, "The first responsibility of the leader is to define reality. The last is to say ‘Thank you.' In between, the leader is servant." Bennis knew that trench foot hurt men unnecessarily and weakened the army. In WWII Bennis hounded all his men every night to wash and dry their feet and put on dry socks. Trench foot sent 45,000 infantrymen back from front. Being the "sock cop" was not glamourous, but that role served their cause. None of Bennis' men were lost to trench foot.

3. Leaders and rental owners don't follow the crowd. Leaders decide for themselves who and how they want to be. They consider the options and find a way to achieve their goals. Personal finance expert, Dave Ramsey writes, "Live like no else, so you can live like no else!"

4. Impactful people seek growing experiences. Machiavelli said fortune favors the bold. A prepared mind makes one bold. Leaders try. Take risks, knowing that some failure is inevitable. If you haven't failed you haven't tried very hard. Leaders know that mistakes and adversity are necessary and can be sources of understanding. Brooks Knapp, record breaking aviator, CEO of Jetways, claims there are two types of people: "those who are paralyzed by fear and those who are afraid and go ahead anyway. Life is not about limitations; it's about opportunities."

5. Leaders reflect. That may be the key idea of On Becoming a Leader. We learn more from our failures than from our successes. Warren Buffet also analyzes errors and then vows to avoid those mistakes again. Leaders also live in expanding worlds. They learn from surprises. They reflect on experiences, and new realities enable them to synthesize ideas. Learners gain more opportunities and grow past their contemporaries.

6. Leaders and investors have vision and are passionate about their game. They communicate the dream. If you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong. Leaders tend to be innovators. The 29 leaders that Bennis interviewed believe in change and equate change with growth. A leader's life work is change. The most successful rental owners are those who implement change. Aim to solve problems with big impact.

7. Leaders have superior perspective. Mountain climbers don't start climbing from the bottom of the mountain. Before the ascent, they consider alternate routes and various team members. They analyze potential pitfalls. They eliminate or change the weak spots and plan for contingencies. Only after prudent planning, does the team begin the climb. Know what you want, what drives you and what gaps there are between you and what is needed to accomplish the vision. Achievers find a way to overcome those differences.

8. Leaders see the long view; they are patient. Einstein was amazed by the power of compounding. Real estate investors harness that power to build legacy wealth.

9. Leaders, like wise investors, use leverage. Investors lever wealth. Leaders leverage others' capacity.

10. Leaders create strategic alliances and partnerships. Wise investors are known by the team they assemble. In both cases those networks often bring the best opportunities.

It is a new year, a fresh start, an opportunity to focus on what really matters. You are creating a legacy so make it a great one. Leaders do the right thing; managers do things right. Be a leader.

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Terry Moore, CCIM, part owner of ACI, has studied leadership for 40+ years. His clients have made beneficial changes for 20,000+ renters… while building legacy wealth. Contact him at 619-889-1031, tmoore1031@gmail.com or SanDiegoApartmentBroker.com

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