The Question of Leadership

Welcome to The Dish where Drew DeMaree & guests serve up a healthy dose of reality each week. This blog is about keeping it real ~ real challenges, real distractions, real-life getting in the way of, well…virtually everything. How we view our realities depends on individual mindset, and we want to discuss WHY MINDSET MATTERS. We are continuing our blog series with MG from Coaching Corner in Real Producers Magazine.


What exactly is it that makes someone a Leader? What do Leaders do that makes them different from others who are managers, CEOs, vice-presidents, executive vice- presidents…. people with titles and positions of authority?

Leadership is not easy, nor should it be. As Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr said “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” Leaders lead other people and with that comes great reward and responsibility. Leadership is a journey to be taken with respect for not only one’s self, but also for those who will travel the journey too.

The notion that anyone is “born” a Leader a leader is an absurd fallacy.The good news is that Leadership can be learned and developed. It begins with a decision in response to with some pretty basic and challenging questions. These questions require brutally honest thought to answer.

#1 Motivation Question: Why do I desire this vision? What difference will it make for me and for others?

Why do you want to do this?

Will it make a difference and is it worth it?

If your “why” isn’t powerful and you are not passionate about it, you are dead in the water already. How will your “why” benefit others and will it even translate to them? It must be compelling enough to keep everyone going and engaged, especially when things get tough. It must be able to pull you through like a powerful magnet. The vision must resonate with others.

#2 Vision Question: Where is it I want to go? Where do I start?

Can you describe with clarity and in detail what the world looks like with this vision? Do you have a vivid picture of how this journey benefits the travelers? You must be able to communicate your vision so others connect and be drawn to it. Where you start is vital. A Leader first defines reality. Then you acknowledge where others are. Leaders do NOT meet people halfway. Meeting in the middle means everyone has lost. That is not the way to start. Leaders go to where people are and bring them along to where they need to be. Then you can begin successfully.

#3 Character Question: What kind of person do I intend to be? Am I willing to do what it takes to become that person?

“Would I follow this person?” This is a question we should be visiting constantly. It directs our responses to situations. The human tendency to react under pressure often results in undesirable behaviors. Being intentional and purposeful about who we are merges our actions with our beliefs. Our WALK matches our TALK!

#4 Trust Question: How does this goal/ dream align with my values and priorities? What will it change for me and for others?

This question is tightly connected to #3, the Character Question. We must know our values and what is important. As Brian Buffini says “When your values are clear, your decisions are easy”. There is tremendous pressure to succeed. We like to “Win” and we like recognition, so what happens when the path to “Win” requires us to push aside our values. What does the journey do for others? There must be a big “Win”, a big opportunity for them.

#5 Talent Question: Who do I need on this journey? Who can I share the dream and journey with? Am I the “Who” to Lead?

No matter how great the mind or talent, no one succeeds alone. Who do you know that you trust and that shares your core values? Trust is paramount. It is also important to gather a team with diverse gifts and not people who are just like you!

One of the greatest teams I have ever developed was a business partnership over a decade ago and it continues to thrive today. Almost everyone was younger than I was and they all brought gifts and talents we needed and were not my strength zones. We had a tech guru, a commercial real estate expert, and attorney/ broker, a successful business person, and a financial/ tax wiz. We all viewed money the same way and had complete trust and respect for one another even though we did not socialize much outside of business. I also knew that each of them had been key to my success and I wanted them to have the opportunity of the journey, to have more.

The success each of my partners has achieved is one of my greatest joys. Our journey and business venture has rewarded us all and has created a ripple effect larger than we probably thought possible. Lives have been dramatically changed and each follower has continued to “pay it forward” in their careers and as Leaders.

When we decide and commit with intent and purpose, we act to create and support massive and positive change for ourselves and for others. In the words of John Maxwell – “A leader knows the way, Goes the way, and Shows the way.”