Many people are involved in leadership, whether it is in a corporation, a team, or a family, and great leaders are always learning and seeking wisdom. This week, I had the privilege of talking with Charlton Scullard about leadership. Charlton has spent many years in leadership, and has achieved notable success with multiple organizations. In our dialogue, we discussed leadership in today’s culture. For the entire conversation with Charlton, listen to DAVE MARTIN’S PODCAST: SUCCESS MADE SIMPLE.

Dr. Dave: Leadership is used a lot in conversation. It is praised; it is blamed; it is cited as the reason for both success and failure. Do you think leadership is all that?

Charlton: Yes, everything rises and falls on leadership. The reality is that you have good, strong leaders and sometimes you have selfish, weak leaders that love to blame others and say it’s someone else’s fault. I believe strong leaders take responsibility and they are accountable. Strong leaders are always up front.

I believe the best leaders are the servant leaders. They have the heart to serve the team. It’s always about the team, and not about them. As the team rises, they rise.

Dr. Dave: Can an organization be restricted by its leadership?

Charlton: Oh yes, there are so many different ways. Insecure leadership is one that immediately comes to mind. A leader that is threatened by the people that are excelling under them is intimidated by those people. Secure leaders have a heart to say, “I want the team to be better than me. I want people underneath me to excel and to soar.” In the end, that brings joy, and helping people become better is success.

Dr. Dave: So an organization can be restricted by bad leadership. On the other hand, how far can an outstanding leader take a group of apathetic and indifferent people?

Charlton: There is the reality of evaluating your team and of seeing who is on your team. Every leader has to ask that question, but I believe good leaders have the ability to see the potential in people. If they can have the mentality of wanting to discover the possibilities in their team, of setting them up to win, of growing and developing them, and of discovering what is needed to bring them to the forefront, then the best will rise to the top.

If there is someone on your team that cannot run with you, there comes a time when you have to be honest with that person. Good leaders are not afraid to have tough conversations, and they are not afraid of conflict. Sometimes you have to transition a person out, but when a good leader has the attitude in their heart that they want to see the potential in a person and they want to invest in them and develop them, the whole team is lifted.

Dr. Dave: Over the last few weeks we have discussed pruning, and sometimes I think we hold on to people too long. I always tell people to ask yourself, “If you knew then what you know now about this person, would you hire them again?”

Charlton: I think the word is ‘conflict’. Good leaders know how to address conflict. Conflict is not a bad word; rather it’s a powerful word. When a team can see that you as a leader are not afraid to engage someone on the team that you have to prune or let go, they respect you more. They all know who is the weakest link. They are waiting for you as the leader to make that tough decision.

Dr. Dave: I think a lot of times we get emotionally attached to people. If you would not hire them again, then you need to let them go immediately. If you are not sure, then give it 90 days. If, at the end of 90 days, you are still not sure, it is probably an emotional attachment, and you need to let them go.

Charlton: John Maxwell says there is 20% that you bring to an organization that only you can do. There is 80% that others can do. The problem occurs when you do not have the right people and you are unwilling to let them go, you start doing the 80% that they should be doing. It will take you away from your value, your true 20% that only you can bring. If you are starting to carry people that you should not carry, it will keep you as a leader from being effective and productive. It will limit your vision. Although you may feel compassion and sorrow, it is affecting your leadership.

Dr. Dave: As a leader, you often hire, promote, and decide which of your team members to place in positions of authority. What does a valuable team member look like, and what do you look for – or avoid – when you are selecting people?

Charlton: The first word that jumps out to me immediately is ‘flexibility’. As organizations are stretched and grow and go through transition, things can get messy, but flexible people know how to keep going. In times of turmoil, they keep moving forward. Sometimes we look for people who are very skilled in certain areas, but I think we need to look for people who are skilled over all, so they can adjust and can pick up and jump in when needed. I always say to choose heart over talent. You can learn talent, but heart is hard to learn. I always look for people who have the right heart, who are teachable, flexible, who are willing to jump in, willing to grow, and willing to learn. When you have a person of that mentality, you will have a great team player.

Dr. Dave: Sometimes you will have to change positions or sometimes you need to move to a different place to stay on the team. And anyone who says, ‘That’s not my job description,’ doesn’t have a place on the team.

Charlton: Being a part of the team is an honor, and being willing to play where you are needed is invaluable. That attitude will keep you on the team. Flexibility is key.

Dr. Dave: If you want to get a raise on your job, tell your boss that you want to be the number one problem solver. Money is not a mystery; money is a reward for solving problems. Solving problems and being flexible will cause you to rise.

Charlton: You also want people who see what they are doing as more than just a job. It affects your attitude and passion. When people know their work is more than just a job, they see the value in what they bring, they recognize their purpose, they have excitement, and they have a heart of excellence.

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