: Developing in a manner analogous to the natural growth and evolution characteristic of living organisms; arising as a natural outgrowth.
My personal coach, Mary Duwe, once used the expression ‘organic leader’ in our weekly coaching session. When I asked her what she meant, Mary replied, "There are leaders who have a title (CEO, President, Manager, Supervisor etc.) and are recognized as men and women in charge. However, there are also leaders who are not ‘official’ that lead naturally by example. These people are very attractive."
The concept intrigued me as I began to think of people in my life who were natural born leaders:
Josine McGreevey was my English teacher forty-five plus years ago in high school. She warned me not to go into teaching because the pay was lousy and an English teacher spends many long hours reading papers long into the evening. I ignored Mrs. McGreevey’s advice because her actions spoke louder than her words. She loved what she did and had a tremendous influence on at least two generations of students. I taught for ten years. When I heard of her death a few years ago the sense of loss was palpable.
Bob Jamieson was my senior partner when I became a full-time life insurance salesman in 1977. He taught me more about setting priorities, salesmanship and perseverance than anyone I’ve ever met. Although Bob has been retired for many years and is facing some serious health challenges, in my mind he is ever-present as a mentor reminding me to keep my focus and not major in the minors.
Tom Sheridan is the middle of my three sons. I witnessed Tommie departing from Iowa to Florida with all of his belongings packed into an old used Chevy at age twenty saying, "I’m going to make my living in golf, Pops." Within a week of arriving in Orange Park, a suburb of Jacksonville, armed with an Associates of Arts Degree from North Iowa Area Community College and a big dream–he had a job at a the newly opened Orange Park Country Club. Starting out as a cart boy 1,500 miles from home, thirteen years later he had worked his way up to the position of Head Professional. He has since obtained his Bachelors Degree and currently works for the PGA Nationwide Tour traveling around the country "earning his living in golf."
Angela Cox-Weston is an entrepreneur who began running a speakers’ bureau out of her Des Moines home office about a decade ago. She has quietly turned it into a thriving business hiring presenters on behalf of corporations and organizations who desire to have a celebrity or subject-matter expert come to their events. Angela displays creativity and passion in her work on a daily basis.
Roger Higgins served for twenty years as the head trainer at the former Central Life Assurance Company (American Mutual>AmerUs Life>Aviva). He befriended me when I was first an agent and then sales manager at their Des Moines Agency. Roger consistently gave me tips about training and encouraged me to follow in his footsteps when he retired. Although I took a slight three-year career detour back into sales between his final day and the time I actually accepted the job when it opened up a second time—his influence was always with me.
These are just a very few of many who have had a profound effect on my life.
As an entrepreneur you may have an official leadership title at work or possibly in an organization to which you belong. If not—you still have the capability of becoming an organic leader. Someone who evolves into a position where people are willing to follow your example. To emulate you. To be led.
The people I profiled above were not making a conscious effort to influence me. They did, however, leave their mark on me with their integrity, courage and determination. You, too, may be having the same impact on others without even knowing it—by being an organic leader.
Bill Sheridan—"Sheridan Writes" See my bio under Guest Authors
Bill Sheridan—"Sheridan Writes"
See my bio under Guest Authors
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