I believe that I could be a walking book of old sayings.  As a matter of fact, at my advanced level of chronological wisdom (55 years old) – everything that comes out of my mouth could be an old saying.  I remember countless conversations with my Granny West in which she would impart these nuggets of gold to me:

  • You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
  • Actions speak louder than words.
  • Don’t be like the cat who wanted to fish – but didn’t want to get her paws wet.
  • We were so poor, we couldn’t even pay attention.
  • That dog won’t hunt.
  • I’m busier than a one-legged woman in a tail-kicking contest.

I did a quick internet search in an attempt to discern the author of those old sayings.  Unfortunately, most are either too old or too well used to give full attribution.  And I’m reasonably certain that my grandmother was not the originator.  But know that in my heart, I acknowledge and extend my gratitude to each of the keen-minded people who first uttered any of those phrases.

One of my favorite old sayings was, “You can’t push a rope!”

Think about that for a minute.  That makes perfect sense!  You really can’t push a rope, can you?   I am sure that at some young age, I wondered “What in the world is Granny talking about?”  I probably even got out in the back yard and gave it a valiant effort.  But as I became a sales leader, the meaning of that particular saying became very clear to me.

You can’t push a rope.

And…

You can’t push a sales team… well, at least not as effectively as you can lead them.

I have worked for sales managers whom I assume would disagree with me – based on their leadership style.  But I will stand firm on this ground.

“To develop an outstanding sales team, you can’t trade artificial pressure for true leadership skills. “

– Jeff C. West

Managers push.  Leaders pull.

  • Leaders pull by working side by side with their team.
  • Leaders pull by giving ownership of the goals to their team.
  • Leaders pull by keeping their focus on helping their team members achieve their personal goals and dreams.
  • Leaders pull by taking personal responsibility when the team comes up short, and immediately giving the credit away to their team members when the team excels.

True leaders aren’t pushy.  They’re “pull-y.” 

I know that no such word exists – but Granny would be so proud of me making a new word.  🙂

QUESTION: What is your favorite leadership quote?

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