Archive for December, 2008


Monday, December 1st, 2008

Jim’s Post on the National Association of Realtors Leadership Lab Blog:

Volunteerism Builds Leadership Skills
Jim Hirshfield, author of Fortune & Freedom: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Success and the now-retired founder of cable company Summit Communications, shares his ideas on how to become a better leader.

Q. What makes a good leader?
Hirshfield: I define leadership as the ability to accomplish things through others. Those others can be employees, or they can also be peers or vendors. Getting vendors to cooperate is a better indicator of leadership than getting employees to do so. If people work for you, they’re supposed to do what you say, but getting vendors to go out of their way to help you, I think that demonstrates leadership.
Q. Can you learn to be a leader?
Hirshfield: I believe leadership is a skill you develop. And you should start at an early age. You don’t want to start to open a business when you’re 45 years old and have never worked on your leadership skills.
Q. How can you practice your skills?
Hirshfield: If you want to hone your leadership skills, my advice is work on getting a group of people who aren’t always that motivated to get a job done. You might want to managing a shift at a fast food restaurant, or volunteer to lead a committee at a charity or an association. All these positions give you a chance to try out and improve your leadership abilities.
Q. What does it take to lead others in a volunteer situation?
Hirshfield: To lead and motivate volunteers, you have to give them a well-defined task and set a time limit on both the number of hours of work you expect and when that work has to be completed. People want control of their lives, but they’ll give you a little piece of those lives if you define specifically what’s expected. What doesn’t work is just calling a meeting and then asking for ideas and input. Volunteers know then that they are going to be sucked in. You have to give them a specific timetable.

See the posting at