This weekend I had the privilege to pick up National Speakers Association (NSA) President, Ruby Newell- Legner (on the right) from the airport in Columbus to speak at our Ohio Chapter meeting. Ruby is an incredible woman. In additional to being the National Speakers Association (NSA) President this year she also runs a very successful training organization that works with some of the top sports teams in the country from Major League Baseball, the NBA, the NFL including the Steelers and the NHL including the Pens and Lightning. Ruby’s firm has even been involved in the Olympics.
Ruby is a true leader. NSA has several thousand members. Other than a handful of staff people in Tempe, Arizona the NSA is an all- volunteer organization. Ruby can’t give raises or bonuses. She can’t use fear, threats or intimidation to get things done or the volunteers would quit. The NSA is also a very successful organization. They are financially strong and growing. Some of the top business, sports and media people in the United States are members as well as many of the thought leaders you see on TV. Ruby leads by influence. She has a vision for the organization and has earned the respect of the members and staff. If she needs something done people are happy to do whatever they can.
Ruby starts everything by truly caring about people. During our trip from the airport to the hotel we discussed the oil and gas business as well as fracking. We also talked about the high school soccer team I coach. Ruby started these conversations because she cared enough to take the time to Goggle me and check my Linked- In Profile. How many managers know nothing else about their employees except what they do at work? Ruby is a good listener. Her presentations are focused on the audience and making sure they get what they need.
Ruby also knows that a leader is a servant and a giver first. The late Zig Zigler said, “If you first help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” In her presentation to our NSA Chapter Ruby shared her knowledge freely including some of her customer handouts and how she sells and markets her organization.
What about you? Are you a leader or a manager? Do you influence your people or do you command them? Do you treat people with respect and dignity? Do you care about your people? What do you really know about them? Do you ask your people to get important tasks done and do they do them, or do you have to demand and threaten? Are your people happy to help out because they are part of your team or do you need to use fear, intimidation and threats to get things done? Have you earned the respect of your people or do you need to invoke your title and position? Do you have a vision? Have you shared it with your people? Have you built a Team where people are focused on the success of the Team and will do more than what is required? Do you give and serve your people first or do you demand to be served? Most important, are you a POSITIVE example they can follow? Great leaders won’t ask their people to do anything they haven’t done or wouldn’t do.
Leadership works! As a Regional Manager for a large organization I found that people were happier, more creative and productive when they were led. We were also much more successful. The principals that Ruby uses to lead NSA and her company work in any organization. Sadly I see many organizations that haven’t figured that out. I see people in leadership positions that choose to be the commander rather than the leader.
It all starts with caring about people. Ruby is a fun person to be around. She is happy, caring, giving and knows where she wants her organizations to go. She has integrity. She sets an example to follow. Ruby is successful. People prefer to be led rather than commanded. Leadership works in any organization. I challenge you to learn from Ruby Newell- Legner, NSA President, and choose to be a leader. Thoughts to ponder.