I like to use the words capital and resources interchangeably.  So, from my perspective, there are three kinds of capital and/or resources available to us all the time.  Those three kinds of capital or resources are basically:  People; Time; and Money.

Let’s put people first, so we will begin with building the value of human capital.  There are probably several varieties available, but the more recognizable forms include Leadership Capital, Family Capital, and Culture Capital.

If we want to build the value of our Leadership Capital, we have to have raving fans as followers.  Those who lack followers are like a voice crying in the wilderness – they can talk a good game, but there is reason to believe they cannot deliver the promise of their message.  If you want to grow your leadership capital, you’re going to have to deliver what people want and need.

Here are a few simple steps that will help you build your leadership capital. 

  • Know what is important to the people you lead.  In most cases, four out of five people are motivated differently than the person who leads them.  If you don’t recognize and satisfy their individual motivators, you are pushing the rock uphill at best; and you will be seen as manipulative at worst.

  • Totally commit to the cause, whatever it is.  Live it.  Breathe it.  Walk it.  A healthy percentage of the general population has the Missouri Syndrome – show me – when it comes to commitment.  When they are satisfied you believe in something, they will follow.

  • Focus on the result.  Be flexible enough to allow people to have some to total control over how the work is accomplished.  As long as the result is what you wanted, only insist on how it is accomplished if that is important to the final outcome.

  • Praise publicly and correct privately.  If you must correct someone publicly because of unusual circumstances and potentially harmful consequences, then do it with as much tact and respect for the dignity of the individual as possible. 

  • Like any other asset, leadership capital can get away from you when you take people for granted.  It happens a lot like bankruptcy:  slowly at first, and then all at once.  

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