Respect — Will you follow someone that doesn’t care about you and doesn’t treat you well?

We are living in the Renaissance of Work. Just like great artists know that an empty canvas can become anything, great leaders know that an entire organization — and the people inside it — can become anything, too. Master Artists and Mastering the Art of Leadership draw from the same source: creation. In this series, we’ll meet masters who are creating the future of work and painting a portrait of lasting leadership. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Ed McManus [Eddie Mac].

Ed McManus is a retired law enforcement administrator and recent author and online training course creator of Relationship Leadership: How New Leaders Harness the Power of Leading with Strong Relationships! He spent most of his career training others and has brought his skill and Leadership expertise forward to help others succeed in their Leadership role.

Thank you for joining us. Our readers would enjoy discovering something interesting about you. What are you in the middle of right now that you’re excited about personally or professionally?

I am in the middle of launching the online training course stemming from my recently published book: Relationship Leadership: How New Leaders Harness the Power of Leading with Strong Relationships! It’s an exciting new style of Leadership that is diverse, inclusive, and is not specific to any industry. Additionally, it is unlike most other online training courses in that it is animated with whiteboard technology. It’s awesome and I’m really excited to share it with our current and next generation of leaders.

We all get by with a little help from our friends. Who is the leader that has influenced you the most, and how?

I would be remiss if I didn’t say that rather than one person, several have influenced me. Both good and bad. I have always tried to look at both sides of everything and Leadership is no different. Many have influenced and taught me the right way to lead others, and many have taught me the wrong way to lead others. So often we only look at the best way to lead others and fall short on evaluating the wrong way. If we take the time to understand the wrong way as well as the right way, we become a stronger leader. This gives us the clearest picture possible when making Leadership decisions.

Sometimes our biggest mistakes lead to our biggest discoveries. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a leader, and what did you discover as a result?

Well, I have certainly made more than one big mistake. This is how we learn and become better. I would have to say I eventually learned that even when I know the solution or best course of action, I need to step back and let the other party explore and/or implement their best decision. As a leader this is sometimes tough to do when you know the other party is going to fail, because you have already “been there and done that.” However, if their solution doesn’t violate company policy nor put them or the company at risk, the best course is to step back and let it happen. From here, they will learn from their failure. Giving them the opportunity to act on their solution (idea) provides a platform for their self esteem to remain intact and strengthen. In turn, by getting out of their way and letting them fail, your Relationship with them will strengthen because you will be viewed as a leader that listens, rather than directs. It sends the message that you believe in them and are willing to invest in their success.

How has your definition of leadership changed or evolved over time? What does it mean to be a leader now?

Evolution is apparent in everything. There are so many facets to Leadership, but the one thing that has evolved for me is the fact that regardless of the level of Leadership, you can’t be successful if you don’t understand Relationships. Pick any profession and pick any Leadership level, you won’t find a successful leader without successful Relationships.

Success is as often as much about what we stop as what we start. What is one legacy leadership behavior you stopped because you discovered it was no longer valuable or relevant?

Autocratic. We live and work in such a democracy that I believe input at all levels is paramount. Many don’t understand that Leadership is a role. No more and no less. A successful leader shows up for work as a coworker just like everyone else, but with a different role. Autocratic Leadership is a dying style that was cultured and expected in previous generations. It was viewed as a “title” and a “position” to operate from. This is simply not where we are today.

What is one lasting leadership behavior you started or are cultivating because you believe it is valuable or relevant?

I have to drift back to my previous answer, Relationships. When used properly, Relationships will stand the test of time, span all generations, and always be inclusive of the diverse workforce we have today and tomorrow.

What advice would you offer to other leaders who are stuck in past playbooks and patterns and may be having a hard time letting go of what made them successful in the past?

It’s time to take a long look into the mirror and re-evaluate. As the old saying goes, “you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been.” Leadership is a never-ending journey that requires walking on shifting sands. Failure to stay current on Leadership and communication trends is a failure of Leadership.

Many of our readers can relate to the challenge of leading people for the first time. What advice would you offer to new and emerging leaders?

Taking from my previous answer, rather than look where you’ve been to see where you’re going, create the vision of where you want your Leadership journey to travel. Understand that Leadership is a constant learning process and never lose focus of the type of leader you want to “always” be. Stay focused, stay committed, and you will have a rewarding career in your Leadership role.

Based on your experience or research, what are the top five traits effective leaders exemplify now? Please share a story or an example for each.

My research and experience have identified what I believe to be the 4 core principles of Leadership from a Relationship perspective. This is my area of expertise, and they are:

Communication — Will you follow someone that can’t get the message across and won’t listen to you?

Respect — Will you follow someone that doesn’t care about you and doesn’t treat you well?

Integrity — Will you follow someone that you can’t trust, isn’t fair, and doesn’t always do the right thing?

Camaraderie — Will you follow someone that you have no bond with and don’t like?

Effective leaders exemplify these 4 core principles and together they encompass the 5th and most important Leadership trait, Relationships. The leaders that master these 4 core principles assemble a strong position of Leadership through Relationships. Once this “cornerstone” is set, their Leadership foundation is solid and their journey successful.

American Basketball Coach John Wooden said, “Make each day your masterpiece.” How do you embody that quote? We welcome a story or example.

Well, since we’re talking about sports, always look for the win. However, Leadership is not a competition. The win here is if you can always find a way to lead where others trust you, respect you, and want to be a player on your team. The win here is with Relationships!

What is the legacy you aspire to leave as a leader?

I helped others be awesome leaders by teaching them that “Leadership is always a matter of Relationships.”

How can our readers connect with you to continue the conversation?


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Thank you for a meaningful conversation. We wish you continued success with your mission.