Great Leadership Comes From Within, Here’s My Proof

Since 2013 I’ve had the pleasure of being part of a wonderful organization, Bizcatalyst 360 led by Dennis Pitocco, where I am also a Featured Contributor and member of their “Thought Leadership” Panel. I get to interact and share ideas with a vast array of top leaders in their chosen field. There is no price that can be put on opportunities like these.

Leadership Comes From Within

Recently, Dennis asked the group to contribute our thoughts by answering 10 questions on leadership and how our leadership skills and mindset were formed. Below are my answers that I am happy to share with you.

How Do You Become a Better Leader?

1. Did anyone have a tremendous impact on your leadership journey and if so, how?

An old respected boss always told me “make it the best you can at all times”. Seems simple enough but too few follow this advice. Customers will notice and appreciate your efforts to provide the best products and services.

2. What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of an organization?

We must understand that:  A good leader brings out the best in others so they may one day be a leader too. Click To TweetEach of us possesses skills that, if allowed to be used, will benefit all. The difficult part is recognizing the specific methods that work best when motivating others.

3. How do you encourage people to take control and responsibility?

I train my employees to “put yourself in the customer’s shoes”. If we wouldn’t be happy with the product or service we provide, how can we expect others to be happy with it? We are aware of our shortcomings and still “sell our product”. But, if the customer knew about it, would they be happy?

4. How do you help a new employee understand the culture of your organization?

I believe that, regardless of what we teach/share during the orientation process and initial training, an employee will learn the “true” culture of an organization from their coworkers.

The culture is often masked behind a series of statements, posters and platitudes that may not reflect the actual culture or mindset of employees. We must first create a foundation of excellence with existing employees so that all future employees will join a successful team.

5. When faced with two equally qualified candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?

I look for passion. The candidate that can properly explain why they like their job and the feeling they get when they see others succeed will always get my vote. No matter what business you are in you are always in the “people business”. Those with passion AND compassion will usually do the best.

6. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Humility. A leader doesn’t know it all, even if he/she thinks they do. Click To Tweet

7. What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?

Ego. Too many leaders believe their own hype and think leadership comes from the position/rank.

Leadership comes from the ability to motivate others Click To Tweet

…and carry on the same level of professionalism and quality when the leader is not present.

8. What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?

Forgetting that the customer is king. We wish to lead so we may earn a bigger paycheck or have more power and prestige within an organization. With leadership comes a certain removal from the day-to-day machinations of the business. Spending too much time focusing on budgets, payroll or market share, when the focus must continually be on the customer, is the surest way to failure.

9. What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time?

Be humble, support and ask questions of your team and realize that you are only as good as those around you. Treat your employees with the respect they deserve and you will be well rewarded. Click To Tweet

10. How do you define leadership success?

When you develop other leaders who can take your place and carry on the great work you started.


I hope you enjoyed this little peak into my leadership mindset and what I try to instill in others. Thanks!

This post was originally featured on Bizcatalyst 360 and is republished here with permission.

Copyright © 2018 Steve DiGioia

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6 thoughts on “Great Leadership Comes From Within, Here’s My Proof

  1. All I can say is that you and I see eye to eye on what leadership is all about. If one can’t come down out of the “ivory tower” and realize that even leaders need help, encouragement, support and fresh ideas from their peers and employees (team members, actually!), then one should spend a day in the field as a reminder of how it was to be in a non-leadership role. This might be the best way to re-gain perspective on where your business is going and how to enhance the journey forward. If you have ever seen the television program ‘Undercover Boss’, it is amazing (if true, that is!) what these bosses discover and learn from their team members (can’t come to call them ’employees’ for some reason!). Maybe leaders should take their own voyages of discovery – whether out in the field, just downstairs, or down the hall. I think everyone would benefit!

    • As I wrote in the article Lisa, humility is a big part of leadership. Employees quickly loose faith in a “leader” that is pompous, self righteous and unwilling to listen to the people that actually do the work.

      Just because someone has the title doesn’t mean he/she knows it all. We have all worked under someone that we continually ask ourselves about; “how did he get to be the boss?”

      Yes, respect is expected because of position but not earned until proven worthy. Leadership is the same.

  2. Leadership is definitely about knowing how to motivate others. You can learn a lot through Mentors/Coaches, observing/watching others. It s also another way of determining what you see as positive in moving forward with your customers and declination of the negatives which you will not carry through with your customers.
    I have always felt that with customer service, particularly in sales your skillset is hugely transferable into other areas of business. We all have customers and are customers in life therefore this needs to be KEY in whatever we do. Forget the customer at your peril.

    • Too many think leadership is “being the boss” and others will follow you no matter what. They forget that they follow because of the position instead of because they believe in you and what you stand for.

      Thanks Lynn.

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