Last week we talked about leadership as practiced by George Washington, a model of thoughtfulness, self restraint, and forceful action. Today let’s talk about the other side of leadership as practiced by Holly Chen who with her husband has grown her Amway business to include 300,000 salespeople. You read that correctly, 300,000.
She’s the opposite of Washington, she’s a five foot tall emotional powerhouse. Her idea of leadership is that “ the most powerful weapon is to move someone emotionally.”
In an intriguing article in the Wall Street Journal, Inside the Amway Sales Machine, Daniel K. Berman describes the incredible success story of Chen. Her philosophy for success is simple, make friends everywhere and believe absolutely in what you’re doing. “Change your mindset, change your attitude, and your outcome will definitely change with it.”
She leads her team with simple stories that wander from tales of the pyramids and other times past right up to ideas from today’s news. It’s all interspersed with personal anecdotes and such ideas as how when in a line for the bathroom “talk to the people behind you, not in front.”
Most importantly, “you have to know the inside of people, rather than the outside of people. You’ve got to know their hearts.”
So here we have the two sides of leadership, George Washington in all his silence and thoughtfulness and Holly Chen enthusiastically connecting with everyone she encounters. Each wound up in a place where their style worked well and led to much success. Each would probably have been unknown to us if they tried to use the other’s style, unnatural that it would be.
And the message? Great leaders can come from different directions but they share some basic traits. They are focused, they are consistent, they are great observers of people and so know them well, they absolutely believe in what they say, and they know how to be themselves with confidence and strength.