Developing Leadership Effectiveness

What advice would you offer others who are trying to develop their leadership effectiveness?

It’s reasonably simple: Develop a core philosophy. Ours is you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. The success of our people is fairly well assured. I say that because they have great faith, tremendous work ethic, great family support, marvelous philosophy of life, and when you put all of those things together we think our company is preparing for the future.

My own family is deeply involved. My son is our President and CEO; my son-in-law is our Chief Operating Officer; my youngest daughter is the editor of my books. I’m convinced each of them would have their jobs were there no kinship involved-—they are good at what they do. Recently, one of our granddaughters graduated from college and within six weeks of starting with our company she has already moved up a notch, based on her performance. It is a beautiful thing to watch your family grow, develop and mature in their chosen field.

Incidentally, our entire family is within easy driving range of Dallas. That includes our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. We are so thrilled they have stayed close to home because we believe leadership at home is key to leadership on the job, and that leadership always includes genuine respect and love for those you are working with.

Leaders understand that their people need to have the “home court” advantage. I’m talking about the home life because what happens at home affects what happens on the job, and what happens on the job affects what happens at home. In my own life my home field advantage has proven to be tremendously important in every phase of my career. When I go home, regardless of what’s happened “outside,” I know that the door is open; my wife of 57 years has open arms and she is on my side. We do a lot of talking because research also shows that the intelligence of a man is different from the intelligence of a woman. No man or no woman has ever been as smart separately as they are as a team. The husband might come home with a brilliant idea, explain it carefully to his wife, and she’ll say, “Well, I don’t agree with that.” He asks, “Why not?” She says, “Just because.” For a woman, “just because” is a legitimate answer; for a man it can be ridiculous. Here’s why. A woman instinctively-—and yes, she listens to her instincts-—knows that something is not right about what her husband is saying, and although she cannot articulate it at the moment, later she will be able to express it quite freely and easily. That’s why conversation is so important. We learn from each other, and when we take each other seriously our creativity goes up, our effectiveness increases, and our leadership is more balanced and certain.

Finally, I must emphasize that leaders need to be constant students. They need to stay ahead of the curve. They need balance in their lives. The research I’ve done clearly shows that if standard of living is your number one objective, quality of life almost never improves; but if quality of life is your number one objective, invariably standard of living follows.

. . . Zig was asked to participate in an Executive Leadership Study for an MBA Class at Southern Methodist University. Above is one of the questions he was asked, along with his answer.


A talented author and speaker, Zig Ziglar has an appeal that transcends barriers of age, culture, and occupation. Since 1970, he has traveled over five million miles across the world delivering powerful life improvement messages, cultivating the energy of change. Since 1970, an extensive array of Ziglar audio, video, books, and training manuals have been utilized by small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, U.S. Government agencies, churches, school districts, prisons, and non-profit associations...

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