How to Spot a Counterfeit Leader

December 1, 2015

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I'm Deb- CEO, worldwide executive coach, mentor, consultant and speaker. I'm here to help you take your leadership and impact to the next level!

Meet Deb



In my business, I work with people at all levels of business – from CEO’s to startup entrepreneurs. I see those I know will make it, and those I know will not if they do not make major changes in principle and practice.

How do I know this?

It is similar to being a banker. If you deal with enough “real” money on a daily basis, you’ll be able to spot a counterfeit right away. You will know it doesn’t have the right look and feel to be genuine. You will know it holds no true value.

How do you spot a counterfeit leader? And more importantly, how can you ensure you are not one?

To spot a counterfeit leader, you study the attributes of a real leader – and then you make sure you have those attributes.

Here are 5 Attributes of a Genuine Leader. How do you measure up?



Real leaders connect. They connect with the needs of others. They connect with market and business trends. They connect with other leaders. They connect with mentors. They connect with employees. They connect with those in their community. And they connect with family and friends.

If you are a leader who connects with just one small segment of your company (the “old boys or old girls club”, so to speak), your employees will sense that you are out of touch. They will begin to see you as a counterfeit leader.

If you are working all the time as an entrepreneur and neglecting your family and other facets of your life, you are not fully connecting. This makes you a counterfeit leader as well. The fact is, there will always be more work than time, and it is easy to get tunnel vision as a leader; but you must intentionally take time on a regular basis to step back and look at each area of your life to ensure that you are connecting in each one.



In layman’s terms, a catalyst is something or someone that makes change happen. A genuine leader does not sit idly by, waiting for the next client to walk in the door or the next order to come through. A genuine leader takes action – and motivates his or her team to act as well. To be a catalyst, you must know where you are and where you want to go. And you are responsible for taking the action to get there. A leader who will not take responsibility is as phony as a $3.00 bill.



A genuine leader is a contributor, a giver of themselves and their resources to help others. There are some who believe that being a leader means others will follow and do things for them, almost to the point of entitlement. These are counterfeit leaders.

As a leader, one of your most important duties is not to get…but to give.



What comes to mind when you hear the term, “Great Communicator”?

Chances are, you just envisioned a speaker on a stage.

The fact is, a truly great communicator is one who not only speaks, but also one who listens. “Com” means “with”.

There are thousands of speakers out there, but few of them are true communicators. Few have taken the time to listen to their people enough to know what message they need to deliver.

As a leader, you must be able to speak well. That is a given. But you must also know how to listen well.



Whereas communication is about conversation – talking together – collaboration is about working together. It is about working with individuals and groups throughout an organization to accomplish a goal. It is about knowing the strengths of your individual players and putting them into positions that will allow them to do their best, thus creating a cohesive team.

If you spend more time in your office than amongst your people, you are not collaborating. You are not leading. You are hiding.

Yes, there are times you need focus. Shut the door and focus. But be sure to balance that with time for getting to know your people…and collaboration. Good leaders know that you can get exponentially more done with a collaborative team than you could possibly accomplish on your own.

I invite you to join Mike Harbour and me for a complimentary webinar on December 8. We will help you become a REAL leader for your team and in your business. Click here for details.