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Hit From Behind


A few years ago I witnessed a general manager lose his job. I was watching this from a distance. The GM did not report to me, but another VP in a different region. I had always thought the guy was pretty good. His numbers werent award-winning, but they werent bad. I was curious as to why he didnt make it.

A few months later, the company did another shuffling of market assignments and his market was assigned to me. As I made market visits and got to know the people there, I was amazed at the quality of the team he left behind. They were bright, hard-working, and starving for leadership. It was a dream team to me. So, where did he go wrong? What happened?

After some time, I began to see the answer. I saw the assassin that took him out and I realized that this was an enemy that could get any of us if we werent aware of its cunning presence. This GM was HIT FROM BEHIND; hit from behind by his own people. When people are starving to grow, improve and learn more, as their leader you had better be teacher enough and coach enough to take them to the mountaintop they want to reach. If not, they could just figure out how to get there without you and, in time, your own people can run over you and youll be hit from behind.

There is little in management and leadership more important than growing your team and the only way to grow your team is to grow yourself! Ive spent decades, an entire career, reading and studying business and leadership. After 41 years in this business, I find Im as hungry today to learn and improve as Ive ever been. I remember there were several years I had managers in my region read a book I assigned every quarter. Then, wed have conference calls to discuss what wed learned and how we were going to apply it. Having an atmosphere of continual growth is critical for any successful organization. But if the leader isnt growing, then they cant grow the team. Sometimes, if the team is hungry enough for improvement, theyll figure out a way to get the job done without the leader and then the leader can suddenly be HIT FROM BEHIND.

As a leader of people, you had better be growing yourself all the time. You should be a voracious reader. You should conduct regular training on subjects that make your people better; not just better sellers, but better business people. Nothing is more sad than to see a manager hit from behind. Be certain this downfall doesnt happen to you.

Rob Adair is the President of Pinnacle Solving. His company provides revenue growth solutions, branding and differentiation strategies to radio and other industries. Adair is a former radio industry COO and Sr. VP overseeing 25+ stations and multiple major markets. He can be reached at 405-641-0458 or by e-mail

(2/15/2013 12:28:57 PM)
To this I say AMEN. Unfortunately great leaders are grown not just born. Learning to get out of your own immature ego and into the soul of the community takes real study and practice. It is real work. The results make it really worthy of the effort.

- Daniel P. Mitchell

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