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GUEST POST: Be Like Mike – 3 Quick Guidelines For Future Business Champions

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GUEST POST: Be Like Mike – 3 Quick Guidelines For Future Business Champions

 

Guest Post Author is Benjamin Matson, Graduate Student at GORE Business School, Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah


 

Shortly after Michael Jordan won his first title with the Chicago Bulls in 1991, Gatorade launched an ad campaign that would forever remain in the minds of basketball fans across the nation. “Be Like Mike” became a common household saying for years to come. He led a nation to admire him, other teams to respect him, and the Chicago Bulls to win six championships.

Another leader who shares a common name, yet lacks the nationwide fame of the aforementioned basketball star, is Michael Malmrose. Mike is the VP of marketing for MedQuest Pharmacy, and successfully supports the company’s marketing communications, contributing to it being in the top 1% of pharmacies in its category (out of 7,500 nationwide). Mike’s leadership examples will be used throughout this quick, 3 step guide to help you begin practicing what it takes to become an effective business leader.

Get Emotional
Business leaders ought to lack emotion in order to avoid coming across as “weak” to their subordinates, right?. On the contrary, modern studies tell us that great leaders score high on the emotional intelligence scoreboard. Dr. Daniel Goleman has determined a breakdown of E.I. skills shared by exceptional leaders. The most notable is empathy; the act of considering others’ feelings, particularly when making a decision.
Be Like Mike- Take-away one: Mike started out in customer service. He quickly climbed the ranks by gaining the trust of colleagues through effective communication. For example, our company underwent layoffs because of a decision made by the executive team to no longer service one of its clients. This decision had the potential to create insecurity amongst the staff. However, Mike was an advocate for the leaders who made the decision by sharing the reasoning behind it and also listened to staff members’ questions. Mike often asked, “How does this make you feel?” and “Do you have any other concerns or questions that I can help with?” After all was said and done, our team remained in confident support of our organization and understood they had to do what was necessary to maintain a healthy level of business and consistent employment for years to come.

Expect Greatness
In addition to emotional intelligence, Mike engages the concept of professional will, a subject studied heavily by Jim Collins. In the HBR classic article, Level 5 Leadership, it is defined as “an unwavering resolve to do whatever must be done to produce the best long-term results, no matter how difficult.”

Be Like Mike- Take-away 2: Our team was producing a print ad project in 2012. While brainstorming, Mike offhandedly told us to create an award winning ad. We were shocked by Mike’s remark and wondered if he was actually serious. He noticed our confused body language and said, “That’s right. You can do it.”

Never did we allocate the time and energy it takes to win an award from a third party. With the expectation set high, we spent days re-working the creative elements of the ad before spending countless hours on graphic design and writing copy. Sure enough, the ad achieved a Platinum Award from the Hermes Creative Awards in 2012. Our team went on to win multiple awards from a variety of organizations. No matter how difficult the task, it was Mike’s unwavering resolve that led us to victory.

Be the Expert
Be Like Mike (but not like in baseball)- Take-away 3: Understand where your power is. John R.P. French and Bertram Raven exemplified this in the Five Power Bases, which identifies 5 categories of power that managers use to achieve goals through a team. Expert power, the strongest of the power bases, is a form of leadership that Mike uses to gain followers and develop reliability amongst co-workers. Junior web developers look up to him to fix lines of html code in a website project, graphic designers improve their artistic work based on his feedback, and executives make company wide marketing decisions as a result of his council. No matter how broad the knowledge base, Mike has the the know how to improve the final product and inspire those who listen. Being Like Mike is simple… for him. It’s not just about staying motivated, but extending that energy to a team that wins.

Let’s face it- in one way or another, we all want to “Be Like Mike” in terms of of leadership and mastery. Getting emotional, expecting greatness and becoming the expert are just 3 ways you can find leadership stardom within yourself. Do you have other leadership skills in mind? Please share.


Guest Post Author is Benjamin Matson, Graduate Student at GORE Business School, Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah

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About the Author:

Professor and award winning author, world traveler, Mom, thought leader, mentor, friend, and advocate Vicki Whiting, Ph.D. is dedicated to the facilitation of learning and the development of leaders in all walks of life.

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