Retail Observer

November 2019

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM NOVEMBER 2019 64 A t the Chicago NASC Conference that just ended I noticed that while so many were busy with their classes both learning and presenting, a good deal of leadership was also being acquired and developed. Why do I focus on leadership? Leadership is the ability to acquire followers. Leadership is not a position. Rank and title do not make a leader. Leaders are long-term thinkers. Leaders put heavy emphasis on vision, values and motivation. Leaders do not accept the status quo, and I have had the pleasure of seeing many leadership skills being acquired and developed at this conference. Not many of us are born leaders. I heard a story of a tourist who visited Philadelphia and asked a townsman if any important leaders were born there? The townsmen said, "No, just babies." The truth of the matter is that most of our leadership qualities are acquired over time. They are learned skills. It is vitally important for all of us to continually work on developing our leadership skills because they determine our ability to influence others — and if we are to gain followers we must be believable, we must be credible. There is a difference between managing people and leading people. Most people do not want to be managed. In my experience most people want to be led by credible influences. Everyone influences someone. It is well-documented that even the most introverted individual will influence ten thousand other people during his or her lifetime. Each of us is influencing and being influenced at the same time. That means that all of us are leading in some areas, while in others areas we are being led. Where you stand in this equation, what level of influence you project, depends on the level of leadership you have acquired. So if it is true that we are all influencing others and at the same time being influenced, it stands to reason that it is not whether you influence someone but what type of influencer you are. Leadership is the ability to gain followers. Followers look for honesty, competence, vision and inspiration. In order to be a credible leader you must have integrity. Integrity establishes credibility. Credibility is the difference between integrity and cleverness. If you are to lead then you must be believed. If you are believed then you will gain followers and that is how we accomplish our goals. We all know that businesses rise and fall on leadership. Just like our communities and our country, leadership is what influences and drives our future. Your employees have a boss, but do they have a leader? I have never heard anyone complain about a leader, but every day someone somewhere complains about his or her boss. Believe it or not, that is what the PSA convention is all about. If you attended, you learned how to plan, how to focus, how to network and how to think outside the box. No matter which track you took, technical or business, you were given the gift of confidence that what you are doing is right and sensible and that you have begun to learn to be leaders. After spending four days together I know that all of you are or will be credible leaders. As leaders you are expected to be the visionaries, the motivators and humble doers within your family, work environment and your community. You are the best of the best. You all inspire and influence me, so I know you can inspire and influence others. My message to you today: Never stop learning and growing. Take your newly learned skills back to your company with the express intent of growing your business, hiring more employees and building a stronger community where we all can live with respect and prosperity. Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. We are all stronger leaders now as a result of the PSA conference. Now it is time to grow your business and help others grow with you. Never forget the value of the PSA conventions and the relationships you have forged there. Be totally aware of your own self-worth and the amount of good you are capable of doing. Remember that as a growing business you have a responsibility to give back and to help make your community and our world just a little bit better. So I go back to my original question: can a good manager be a good leader and can a good leader be a good manager? Well, I will let you decide. CAN A GOOD MANAGER BE A GOOD LEADER? S E R V I C E D E P A R T M E N T RO Ralph Wolff, Industry Relations, PSA Certified Service Center

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