Why Leaders Need to Show Their Competitive Fire

Don’t be afraid to tell your team how badly you want to win and how much you hate to lose.

I started LaSalle Network 20 years ago. We have grown for 19 straight years, making the Inc. 5000 list 11 consecutive years and have been recognized for being a “Best Place to Work” almost 100 times over the past decade. I thought everyone knew what got us here.

Our company has terrific people: 90 percent are Millennials who are smart and hard-working. Great teammates. We are up 5 percent year-over-year through February 28; however, I have higher expectations, and we will hit those expectations.

I know most everyone’s name of our almost-300 people, and I am in the office practically every day. I participate in staff meetings, I call and meet clients, and I interview potential hires. I am in our business as well as leading it because I love it. I thought that was enough. I assumed people knew the fire that exists inside of me.

The other day at a staff meeting I realized we were motivated, hard-working people but the fire was starting to dampen. I took over an all-company meeting. I cheered. I lectured. I yelled. I was passionate and excited.

Like a town or city or country, the company of today was built on the backs of those who had the fire. Like an athlete or musician, great business people are competitive. They want to win. They want to crush their competitors. Like McDonald’s co-founder Ray Kroc said, “If any of my competitors were drowning, I’d stick a hose in their mouth and turn on the water.”

Now, I have more compassion than that, and I wish everyone success, but not at my company’s expense. I’m OK if they make money, but I want to win. Every time. I want to beat them. I hate to lose.

I forgot that people need to hear that message from me. Hard work is necessary. Your company’s mission is extremely important. Being subject matter experts is key. However, your people also need to hear the passion. The fire.

Don’t be afraid to tell your team how badly you want to win. How much you hate to lose. Lead your people. Talk to them straight. I’ll see you in the trenches.


Article originally posted at Inc

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