Most people are like wheel barrows, if you don't push them, they won't go anywhere

Many of the visitors to my blog probably aren’t familiar with Jerry Acuff.  He has done a lot of work through the years with our sales force at Johnson & Johnson.  He just has great insights on the sales process in Pharma as well as great leadership pearls.  I love his series of concise videos on YouTube.  I have outlined the 5 concepts that people want in a leader and added some of my thoughts from experience on each of the concepts below.

Here are his 5 concepts of what people want in a leader:

  • Competent Job Instruction
    • It takes one to know one…in pharma, we call it “carrying the bag”.  If you have had that experience of carrying that bag in and out of offices, you have a credible start to coaching your team.  It’s not instant failure if you don’t, but you’d better have some experience to pull from if you are to have an appearance of competence with your team
    • This is the most basic task of a leader…we are here to help our teams get better at their craft…if we can’t or more importantly aren’t doing this, we are failing miserably as a leader!
  • Independence
    • Coach them, Trust them, Correct them, Watch them succeed
    • One of the first traps I fell into as a manager was trying to turn my team into a group of “mini me’s”…I’ve learned over the years, and through sessions like “Lead With Your Strengths” that you’ll have more success tapping into their natural abilities and maximizing them to drive success rather than trying to “develop” skills that don’t come naturally to them.
  • Information
    • Treat your team as professionals.  For some reason, in Corporate America, the thought is that information must be distilled or even with held from the front line worker because they might “mis-handle” it.  I live by the thought that, at least for me, I strive to hire good people, pay them well, and expect them to be professional, so I try to treat them as such.
    • Share insights with your team…they appreciate it and whether you realize it or not, as a leader, you have way more insight than your team about what is happening “inside the walls” of the company…they are desperate to know what direction things are heading!
  • Praise for a Job Well Done
    • “Praise” can come in many different forms, and there are thousands of books on acknowledging performance of your team.  This is NOT a strength of mine, but after partnering with a leader who is definitely strong in this arena, I have taken my ability to praise my team to a new level…and I’m astounded at the results!
  • Work for a Leader, not a BOSS…Boss backwards is Double SOB!!
    • This isn’t just semantics…if you add up the first 4 characteristics, you will be viewed as a leader, not a boss.  A boss says “get the job done”…a leader says “let’s get the job done, and here is WHY it is important to you, me, and our company”
    • To me, it’s all about gaining “committment” from my team instead of just simply gaining “compliance” from my direct reports

I hope you enjoy the video…and if you are a leader, or an aspiring leader, take these suggestions to heart.  I promise it will impact your team, their performance, and your relationship with them in ways you couldn’t even imagine!


Remember your three to do’s today (and everyday):  

  1. Learn something you didn’t already know
  2. Make someone smile you come into contact with
  3. Check a box…get something done today