LeaderSHIP – From Good To Great

By Mark Hampton

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

So how do you go from good to great? As John Maxwell states, “Everything rises and falls with leadership.” That means boosting your leadership skills is a great place to start.

Leadership is real, it’s vital, it’s powerful, it’s regarded. But most importantly, it’s experienced, whether good or bad.

As a leader, it’s critical for you to understand just how important your leadership skills are.

Good to Great

You mean more to the success of your company than perhaps you know. Understanding your worth and value is not arrogant; it’s necessary! Companies like having great leaders, but they need exceptional leaders.

We are all traveling down the road from “good to great” that has been paved for us by the genius and generosity of others who have gone before us. They escalated our thinking and challenged us to new levels. And for that, we are all eternally grateful.

However, since leadership is never a destination but always a responsibility, let me ask you: When was the last time you sat down and thought about the job you were doing, the leadership you were providing, and how effective and valuable it is to the company and its organizational objectives?

The Driving Force

This is a common challenge for most leaders, so you’re not alone. I don’t think we give enough thought to the value of our leadership. I think we kind of do what we have to do because we are the leader, right? We juggle a lot of balls. We typically have more balls in the air than most. Often, those balls have us so occupied that we rarely get a chance to focus on our own development because we’re too busy making sure we don’t drop the ball.

Whether you’re a Pastor, CEO, department manager, supervisor, team leader, restaurant owner, pizza shop owner, mother, or father, your leadership is the driving force behind the success or failure of the business.

Before we go further, I don’t want to make any assumptions about our discussion. So, I’d like to define what I mean by leadership. In the word leadership, there are three words: Lead, Leader, and Ship.

To provide as much clarity as possible, let’s take a close look at each of these three words, define them, and combine them for maximum understanding.

Innate Ability as a Leader


At the core, the word lead simply means “to guide someone or to guide others.”

If we think about a guide, we think of a person who has been where we are all trying to get to or a person who knows the way by experience or direction.

Now, the degree to that we follow the guide depends largely on how much we trust and believe in the guide’s ability to get us to the destination, the guide’s ability to communicate effectively, the guide’s ability to handle the unexpected, and the guide’s decision-making ability when we are all faced with uncertainty.

Additionally, a guide usually takes us where we want to go, not where they want us to go.

The Situation

I’m reminded of a situation I faced years ago as the new supervisor of Organizational Development for The American Red Cross. I started out with the organization as a trainer. Within a few months of being there, the position of Supervisor O.D. became available.

Initially, I did not apply for the position because I felt I needed more time to learn the organization, build deeper relationships with key personnel, and become a trusted source, e.g., earn influence.

Frequently, I was asked by my peers and by department managers if I was going to apply for the position. After about two weeks of that, I had enough. I was tired of the question, so I asked my direct manager, should I apply? She said, “YES!”

Note to self: If your direct boss tells you to apply for a position, that’s usually a darn good idea. So, I applied!

Listening to colleague

Good News Depends on The Listener

However, there was one of my peers who weren’t very happy about my decision because she was also applying. She began a series of competitive moves to attempt to position herself for the job. I, on the other hand, did not engage in the game with her because I knew they were in pursuit of a leader, not necessarily a follower.

You Must Plan For Influence

During this time, I began to think and plan for my response to getting or not getting the job. If my peer got the job, it was going to be business as usual for me. If I got the job, I knew there was going to be trouble. She was trying so hard to make herself look good, and I looked bad.

What’s important here is the new team that one of us would inherit was observing the whole thing and making assessments that would affect leadership.

Before we become leaders, people assess us. So make sure you don’t negatively affect the relational capital you need later to lead effectively.

The Announcement

Well, I got the job; as predicted, she was not happy. She went to HR, stating that she would not work with me. HR suggested that I consider letting her go – I flatly refused!

Two reasons:

  1. She was very good at her job.
  2. I did not want to do her job and mine while I was learning a new role which could have possibly affected my influence later.

So I met with her. And let’s just say it wasn’t pretty, but I retained her because of her value and because I knew that the other team members were watching how I’d handle my first leadership crisis.

I guided her through that process and indirectly guided the rest of the team as well.  Remember, “LEAD” means to guide.

Accountable Team Leader


At the core, the word “LEADER” means “one who has influence.”

Influence is best when earned through a series of positive interactions. For example, communications in person or electronically start earning influence.

Other ways of earning influence include, but are certainly not limited to: timely meetings, keeping your word, likability, thoughtfulness, thoroughness, humility, confidence, character, integrity, sincerity, and even toughness.

Influence is most definitely earned. But it can be lost in one wrong move. So guard your influence with exceptional responses because it’s your relational capital that fuels your leadership.


At the core, the word “SHIP” references quality.

Your leadership must be a ship of quality. Remember, you are a guide, and you are leading with influence. And it all must be cloaked in quality.

Tools to take on board your LEADER-SHIP

1. Understanding your worth and value is not arrogant; it’s necessary!

2. Companies like having great leaders, but they need exceptional leaders!

3. Don’t forget to focus on our own development.

4. Your leadership is the driving force behind the success or failure of the business.

Bonus Take-Aways

  • Remember that you are a guide for the people you lead.
  • Plan for influence – every interaction counts, especially with peers.
  • Influence is best when earned through a series of quality interactions.
  • Your leadership must be a ship of quality.

What’s Your Plan to Go Fron Good to Great?

If you have ideas about going from good to great that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

Would you like to contribute a post?

Mark Hampton
Mark Hampton
Mark founded FTL Leadership Group in 2005 when he wrote his second book “Follow the Leader” a leadership book that improves personal leadership ability with a focus on high quality people interactions.
  • Very well written. A great leader is one who is authentic and possess integrity and lead all the way by walking the talk.

  • F. E. Starks says:

    Hi there Mark! I enjoyed reading the article. You offer valid tips for seasoned and transitioning leaders. It is true that people makes assessment (and assumptions) about an individual prior to transition into a variety of leadership and other influencial roles within an organization. For this reason, people must demonstrate skills that are consistent with short/mid/long term career goals rather than make these adjustments when they land the job! I would love to hear more about the steps in the process taken to influence the dissappointed employee as well as the rest of your team. Nice read!…fes

  • Mark hampton says:

    Thanks J Li, integrity is critical to leadership and the Authenticity of walking the talk is a must. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment

  • Mark hampton says:

    F.E. Starks, thanks for the comment! Great follow-up question. Here’s what I did; First, I let her vent — that was difficult but necessary because I knew she simply had an emotional injury and once it healed she’d be fine.

    Second, I authentically affirm her value and worth to the team because she was honestly valuable!

    Third, I reminded myself that it was not critical for us to be friends — so if did something out of sorts, I never took personal becaused I realised it was the new dynamic. This kept me from developing a negative attitude toward her and focued on our teams collective objective.

    Fourth, I gave her some space (two weeks worth) before I gave her a directive.

    Fifth, I never a made a big deal about it to the rest of the team. Sometimes we give life to things that would other wise be dead. She may have not been totally happy with me(leaders need to be okay with that)but she was fully engaged with her job and the rest of the team and in the end I’d call that a win.

  • F. E. Starks says:

    Thanks for sharing Mark. It is good to hear about a positive outcome! Thanks for sharing 🙂


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