I started working in my father’s moving business when I was very young. One of my first jobs was folding the pads used to protect furniture and the like during cross-town (and cross-country) moves.
I took pride in the task and tried to fold every pad with excellence. In fact, the moving crews used to call me the “automatic pad folder”.
Little did I know, but my early years working on the trucks and in the warehouse were my first steps on the road of entrepreneurship.
The Road of Entrepreneurship
When I was 20 and a recent university graduate, my father unexpectedly died, and I was left with the debt-laden family business with five employees and little income.
Although the whole experience was overwhelming, I knew how to run the day-to-day “ins and outs” of a moving business. And I was confident, like any Texan, that I could “get ‘er done”!
I was on the same road traveled by most entrepreneurs; we start out being “doers” – the ones involved in actually making a product or providing a service.
And in those early stages of business, we are active in every aspect of the business, because there is no one else to delegate any work to! This is the Road of Entrepreneurship – taking an idea and mixing in a lot of hard work to create the company that we envision.
Working hard is important, but as your team grows, you realize that being an entrepreneur is not enough. I was beginning to understand there were other roads that l must travel to be an effective leader.
The Road of Leadership
As I progressed and matured, I learned more and more about the business.
I was also very appreciative of the team around me. Often, I would take time to praise them and speak encouraging words to them. It was common for me to shake their hand or pat them on the back when I encountered them.
Like most business owners at this stage, we know we can’t do everything alone. Therefore, motivating, encouraging, and guiding those around us becomes very important. We’re traveling what I call The Road of Leadership.
At this stage, everything was going pretty well for me. I always leaned toward leadership, and I had plenty of opportunity to lead in our growing organization.
Our company was expanding, people enjoyed working there, and we were successfully profitable. Of course, since there was more to do, and more people to lead, I didn’t find much time to interact with the people on the front line of our business.
A Wakeup Call
I guess I would have kept slogging along with our business, doing well, but not great. Fortunately, I had a wakeup call.
During a three-day leadership workshop, I realized that my effectiveness as a leader, and the performance of my company, was being limited by two common problems.
In fact, this realization helped me move from the common road of leadership to the lightly traveled, and very rewarding, Road of Effective Leadership!
An Onramp to the Road of Effective Leadership
My wakeup call was really a jolt to me. But I’ve discovered a gentler way to reach the Road of Effective Leadership. It starts with a simple survey about motivation.
Don’t be alarmed! This is a survey, not a test.
Your answers should reflect your beliefs and feelings – and they can’t be judged as right or wrong. How you feel is how you feel.
So… here is the survey below. Consider downloading the FREE Motivation Survey so that you can print it and easily record your own answers.
As you read each one you might want to mark it with a “Y” for “yes, agree, or probably true” or an “N” for “no, disagree, or unlikely”.
___ 1. I would rather be living in 1850, and I wish that I were an indentured servant.
___ 2. I enjoy achieving goals and having recognition for my achievements.
___ 3. I would rather be asked to do something instead of being ordered to do it.
___ 4. I enjoy having someone ask me for my opinion or advice, and I feel good when others listen to me. I also appreciate not being interrupted.
___ 5. I can get frustrated trying to explain something to someone who has already made up his or her mind, and who won’t even try to understand the additional information or point of view I am presenting.
___ 6. I am likely to feel better (more interested, less frustrated, etc.) if I have at least some input and influence about matters concerning me.
___ 7. Time goes faster for me when I am busy, and I tend to get turned on by a sense of achievement or recognition for achievement.
___ 8. I would prefer to have 10% more income even if, to receive it, I had to work on a different job where the work was of no apparent value or importance.
___ 9. When I make a mistake, it helps me become more motivated and effective if people point out how stupid or ineffective I am – particularly in front of others.
___ 10. If I ask my subordinates for their ideas or advice, they most certainly will think I am weak, and as a consequence, respect me less as a manager.
Did you download the FREE printable survey? You can download it for your own use by clicking the following link:
Well, how did you do? What road are you traveling on? Have you learned something about yourself? Please share your thoughts <here> and share this blog post with a friend or co-worker.