We’re Doing Leadership Wrong

we've got to change our mindset

Learning From History

During the mid to late 1800s, the US changed dramatically during the Industrial Revolution. One man who changed America the most was Andrew Carnegie. At the time, Carnegie was one of the wealthiest men in America. In today’s money, Carnegie’s wealth would be valued at nearly $310,000,000,000 (yes, billion).. To put that in perspective, Bill Gates (Microsoft), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and Larry Ellison (Oracle) are the five richest Americans today. Their combined net-worth is $318 Billion. Even with that much wealth, Carnegie was mining for a different type of gold.

We're Doing Leadership Wrong - Mining for Gold

Mining for Gold

Born in Scotland, Carnegie was a hard worker who built an empire in the US. At one point in time, Carnegie had forty-three millionaires (at least $20 million in today’s money) working under him. This was the first time that some many wealthy men worked for one man. When a reporter asked Carnegie how he was able to attract and retain that many millionaires, his response gave us a teaching moment.

Carnegie responded to the reporter explaining that when the men started working for him, they were not millionaires. He went on to say that men are developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold; but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt; one goes in looking for the gold.

When looking at your people, remember that what you focus on is what you will find. Don’t look for the negatives in people, look for the gold. The more good we look for, the more good we are going to find.

Focus On Person Strengths

It’s Not About You

In the last 18 years of his life, Andrew Carnegie donated over 90% of his wealth to causes that were important to him. He believed that serving others was far more important that any amount of money or level of power. It’s not about you when you accept the role of a leader.

When you are walking around your team, look for things they are doing right and praise them. What you reward people for, others will copy. It’s time to drive employee engagement up, but we must change the way we interact with employees to do so. Build a tribe and allow everyone to contribute to the group.

It’s All About You

Okay, I just told you it’s not about you, but it is about you. As the leader, you are influencing people. You have to invest in yourself to be able to invest in others. Personal development is as important as looking for gold. We all have to remove dirt from ourselves, as a leader, it is our duty to remove the our dirt before we can help others find their gold.

When you do find the gold within, share it with others, because it’s not about you.


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