In the age of globalization, many companies recognize the importance of diversity among the team. Welcoming diversity, global-minded businesses are making room for greater creativity and productivity, encouraging new ideas and skill sets, language proficiencies and efficiencies to achieve overall unity. Despite growing diversity in the workplace, there is one thing that has been left unchanged, leadership. When leadership styles and leadership programs remain stagnant, we fail to honor the treasure trove of diversity we are now finding in global business.
Frustrated with the lack of direction and impact in modern leadership, Andrew LeMasters decided to do something about it. Founding leadership training program, Spearhead Development Group, he began his pursuit of revolutionizing the way leaders are developed. For LeMasters, leaders have a lasting impact on the communities they are a part of. Fulfilling their highest purpose, leaders are capable of turning their houses into joyful homes and their workplace into a space where dreams and communities may thrive. Although, this often is not the story. With todays tired approach to leadership, employee turnover, restructuring and dissatisfaction become news headlines, without ever addressing the why. Fortunately, LeMasters is reshaping leadership by pointing out the problems, the reasons behind them, and how to fix them. “Employers need to realize that there is a huge difference between leaders and managers. They may have the same titles and roles, but their mindsets and abilities are completely different,” he says.
So, what exactly is the difference? “A manager can go through the decision-making process, budget, tell people what to do, and make sure timelines are adhered to. Their existence is based on command and control and that’s pretty much the scope of their abilities. They are 100% an Autocratic leader and that’s it.” He continues, “Leaders do everything a manager can and so much more. They can create environments that breed innovation. They understand different personality types and how to communicate with each one and in return welcome diversity. Leaders can flex their styles to fit the environment as often as they have to. They take the time to know their employees personally and care about them on a deeper level. But most importantly they always place others before themselves.”
The difference is not so straightforward, perhaps because it is not something we were ever encouraged to stop and think about. Serving active duty in the military and Special Forces, Andrew LeMasters was inspired to ask the hard questions throughout his life and he is here to share his insight.
At age 18, he enlisted to join the Military Police. Setting his sights on the Special Forces, he then went on to earn his green beret and settle in Florida where he joined the team that ultimately informed his entire life’s path. “Despite all of the advanced leadership schools I had been too, nothing compared to what I took away from my time with them. Rather they knew it or not, they provided me with invaluable life lessons of how to lead and treat people.”
Into his third deployment, LeMasters became ill, later to begin rounds of chemotherapy and become medically discharged from the Army. Returning home, he felt incredibly lost, although he eventually uncovered the reason behind it all. He was meant to lead. “At the end of the day, my mind always came back to leadership. I loved people. I loved pushing them to be better. I loved diversity and I loved getting a group of people from point A to point B as efficiently as possible,” he says. As the founder of Spearhead Development Group, LeMasters hopes to reach as many people as possible, spreading the knowledge that took three deployments and a decade in the military and Special Forces to learn.
The program ensures long-term retention with short daily videos, interactive quizzes and real-life scenarios that challenge users to think like a leader. Ultimately, it empowers leadership over management, putting other employees first to enhance their own experience and personal success. This is what true leadership means. In order to improve your leadership approach, LeMasters provides two pieces of advice.
There are so many people that have gone before you. It doesn’t matter what it is you choose to do, someone has been there and done that and had talked about their trials and errors. All of that knowledge is at your fingertips. Learn from the mistakes that they have made, avoid them, learn what they did right, and use it. The wheel has been working since the day it was invented. Don’t spend your time and effort trying to reinvent it.
Know Your “Why”
You have to know the “why” behind everything you do because, without it, you will just quit when things get hard. The reason for doing something has to be strong enough to carry you through the storms. If you can’t answer the question, “why do I want to reach my goals” you won’t get there.