For good or bad, I consider myself fortunate to have missed the Vietnam experience. But I’ve talked to enough vets to know that “fragging” was much more common than the public knew; meaning, grunts shooting their leader in the back.
This demonstrates that rank doesn’t necessarily guarantee respect. The same thing is true in less deadly situations. Just because you’re the boss no longer means anybody will do as you ask.
Fortunately, this has a very positive flip side.
When I first read this, I was also reading Ringer’s stuff, and I realized that you can take control, assume leadership and be the boss in situations where you have no rank. This is a very liberating idea. It frees you from structure, from intimidation and from a whole lot of very limiting past programming.
You can become the leader in a defined marketplace in under a year, even if there are companies competing there with 100 years’ tenure. You can lead a meeting, a group’s thinking or the direction of a project even if you are the newest, smallest puppy in the kennel.
As a consultant, I often find myself leading in situations and environments where I have no rank.
Where Does The Confidence To Lead Come From?
I think all leadership confidence is based on a disdain for the other contenders and for the troops. This is a controversial idea, very offensive to many, and I understand that. Military and political leaders will vehemently deny it.
But the truth is, most leaders gain the confidence it takes to lead by looking around and arriving at the conclusion that everybody else around them is inept, inarticulate, lazy or otherwise woefully unqualified.
This is the best reason of all to enter a new business or a new market, by the way: the conviction (not just arrogant opinion) that those already there are idiots.
I’ll never forget how my confidence about being in the speaking business soared after attending my first National Speakers Association event – sure, I saw a number of people there who were better speakers than I was, but I met nobody with their head screwed on straight about the business. I also saw a group of professionals obsessed with the illusion of “rank” that was meaningful to them out meaningless in the marketplace.
Whenever you spot such conditions, you can count on having found enormous opportunity.
DAN S. KENNEDY is a serial, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; highly paid and sought after marketing and business strategist; advisor to countless first-generation, from-scratch multi-millionaire and 7-figure income entrepreneurs and professionals; and, in his personal practice, one of the very highest paid direct-response copywriters in America. As a speaker, he has delivered over 2,000 compensated presentations, appearing repeatedly on programs with the likes of Donald Trump, Gene Simmons (KISS), Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies), and many other celebrity entrepreneurs, for former U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, and other leading business speakers like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins, often addressing audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 and up. His popular books have been favorably recognized by Forbes, Business Week, Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine. His NO B.S. MARKETING LETTER, one of the business newsletters published for Members of Glazer-Kennedy Insider’s Circle, is the largest paid subscription newsletter in its genre in the world.
* Originally published as Issue #204 on June 4, 2013