Characteristics of a Leader by Mary Jane Humes

Mary Jane Humes

The first network marketing company I became involved with had a founder and CEO who made it a point by both his words and by his actions that he was NOT the CEO of the company, rather he was “the CS” – Chief Servant.

He insisted on this title because of the words Jesus spoke in the Bible in Matthew 20:27 “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” I had the opportunity to see this man’s corporate office and he had this verse displayed prominently in his workplace. This very successful CEO taught his network marketers to serve people, in a similar manner — as a servant.

In my years and involvement in several different network marketing companies, this CEO’s advice echoed in my mind at various times whenever I found myself looking for a leader to follow, or when I was in a position of leadership.

Network marketing leadership is a symbiotic relationship between you and your people, designed to benefit both parties. However, it is the leader’s privilege and responsibility to set the tone of this relationship. Leaders are made, not born. No matter where you are in your network marketing business, you can learn to be a good leader. Here are some traits of good leaders.

They lead.

Now, this may seem to be fundamental, if not obvious, but it’s not. As a leader, you know where you are going, where you want to be, and you have a plan to get there. In network marketing, your plan will involve others. When you find someone who wants to follow your lead and develop their own organization, you become their leader. You are not their boss, you are not their manager, and you not their mother — you are their leader. You set the example on how to lead for them; not how to do their work. Your people have a will of their own, and you need to respect that as they grow, both professionally and personally — at their own pace and in their own way.

They serve.

A leader has all of the resources that their team needs. When someone on their team needs a script, a form, a book, an app, whatever, the leader has that information ready. Their people know that they always have someone to reach out to, to cheer them on, and to support and direct them.

They care.

When you have a team, the people in your organization are just that — people — not robots, and neither are they walking, talking dollar signs. A leader takes time out of his or her business schedule to get to know their team members as people and hear about their family, their dreams, and their struggles.  A good leader is also a good listener. A leader knows the “why” of the people on his or her team, and they strive to help them accomplish their goals by caring about them outside of the business. 

They are humble.

Someone once said that a leader is first among equals. Your people are intelligent, talented, and gifted. They are different from you, but they all contribute something good to your organization. A leader recognizes this and is thankful for their varied ideas, personalities, and work styles. A good leader knows that they cannot get to the top of their profession without the help of their team, and makes it a point to thank them for their contribution.

They see ‘WIIFM’ on the forehead of team members.

WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) is the question that everyone on your team is asking (Even if they don’t say it!). They joined you, and your organization, and accepted you as their leader, now they want your help. Your people are in your organization for themselves, not to help you get to the top. As a leader, you must realize this and strive to help them reach their personal goals. In one of the network marketing companies I worked for, my leader was all about herself. At every training, and in every single presentation she had, she would show us paystubs of her previous earnings. Now although this was, I guess, meant to encourage us, it had a negative effect on me. I didn’t earn anywhere near the money she made, and in my extreme discouragement, I felt that I was only working to make her money. I eventually left that company, and partly it was because her leadership was focused solely on her; she did not seem to be focused on her people.  

They are learners –

Good leaders will learn from other leaders, both good and bad, so that they may become better in both their professional and personal lives. A good leader is always trying to improve himself or herself. They fear becoming stagnant, but rather, they continually seek to grow, while passing on their newfound knowledge and wisdom to their team members.

Invest in the lives of your people. Seek to build relationships. In so doing, you will reap both the benefits of a large organization and an even larger group of friends.  

Mary Jane Humes
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  2. AvatarArthurTugman

    I enjoyed reading your column I can tell by your article that you are a true leader. I can remember those days myself in one of the first marketing company said I was in watching the organization March the top earners across the stage displaying their personal income checks. Sad to say a handful of these companies I have been into in the past have gone out of business. It is a pleasure to leave you a comment

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