Leadership Tips From My Dad...A Real Wise Guy10 Jan, 2006 By: Nicki Weiss imageSource
Leadership Tips From My Dad...A Real Wise Guy
My father, L.B., was a man who
had great instincts. He had an uncanny sense about new products that wouldn't
fly, a process that was too complicated, people who were a little too full of
themselves, or a wheel that didn't need reinvention.
Additionally, he seemingly had a saying for almost any situation. There was
simply something about his approach that made these sayings stick—perhaps it was
a combination of his humor, timing, and innate common sense.
My mother compiled these snippets of wisdom and after reading them I realized
how much my dad had taught me about sales, coaching and leadership. I call these
"There are more horses’ asses in this world than there are horses.”
This saying works for me on many levels, especially in work relationships. If I
am dealing with someone who is either being rude, inconsiderate or demanding, I
try not to stay in their vicinity. Following my dad's advice, I choose to only
deal with people I enjoy and respect. Of course, you’re always going to have to
make some exceptions in the business world.
is easy. Being good is hard.”
My father was a stickler for quality and competence. Although he was a corporate
accountant, he always had a business on the side. One was a Baskin-Robbins ice
cream parlor where he was constantly schooling teenagers on the correct way to
not only scoop ice cream precisely two ounces, but how to treat customers well
and work hard.
Regularly at the dinner table he talked about what constituted good work and
what incompetence looked like. He taught me that there are no short cuts to
being good at what you do. Instead, he explained, the only route to success is
through repeated practice.
"I wish she had the courtesy to treat me like a stranger."
My father would say this about his problematic mother-in-law, who, apparently,
wasn't always so nice to him. This is a leadership principle that is so
amazingly simple. If you don't like someone you can be indifferent to them, but
being unkind is unacceptable.
I notice a fair amount of malice in the workplace that takes the form of passive
aggression. We've all seen it in the form of gossip, withholding or not fully
sharing information, criticizing management, and not supporting colleagues. We
wouldn't treat strangers like this.
"The best things in life aren't things."
This saying taught me to value my relationships above everything else, to depend
on myself, to be accountable to others, to be decent, and to have fun.
I was conditioned from a very young age to believe that the world didn't owe me
a living. I was given a serious work ethic that I will always carry with me. If
I want something, I go after it. I won't step on people to get whatever it is,
and I won't cheat or steal, but I will work until I get it or don't want it
So, what does all this have to do with sales, leadership and coaching? I'm
hoping that you see some value in my dad's teachings and sayings, and that when
you work, sell, manage, coach, and lead, you are a good example to those around
My dad lived with a spring in his step, integrity in his heart, and his own
brand of humor. Your living example will be what ultimately makes you great as a
sales manager, a coach and a leader.