Four Fundamental Leadership Considerations You Can’t Afford to Ignore

August 4, 2014

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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!

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I have some pretty smart friends who will be sharing a slice of their leadership message on my blog. This week it is my friend Rob Wainner. Enjoy Rob’s insightful post! – Deb


Four Fundamental Leadership Considerations You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Guest Post by Rob Wainner

Image Courtesy of 123 Images

We are about to enter the season where America’s most popular sport is about to kick-off and on fields everywhere across the nation, football coaches and players will be drilling on fundamentals. Even (especially) professionals.
Mastery of the “fundamentals” is rightfully thought of by most as an ongoing pursuit versus something to be attained. Those who think otherwise and rest on their laurels often find themselves rudely aroused from a blissful ignorance to feeling the full weight of ineffectiveness, failure or worse. Like professional players who have been reviewing and practicing fundamentals since the day they started playing the game, so should accomplished leaders.


Leaders who don’t continually pursue the fundamentals of leadership are at best less effective and at worst can lead themselves and their followers to failure. Unlike a game however, the stakes involved here are much higher and the consequences of failure more grave. On the other hand, continual pursuit of leadership fundamentals can maximize effectiveness and the potential for positive outcomes. With that in mind, you can’t afford to ignore the following four pairs of fundamental leadership considerations.


Listening and Learning- You can’t learn unless you listen to your people.


Deep listening involves not only hearing what your people are saying, but what isn’t being said as well. To do so requires practice as well as higher levels of EI/SI. What is your EQ or EI/SI? If you don’t know then finding out  is a start and HBR has an excellent 1-stop-shop primer for building your EI/SI muscle.


Noble or Nefarious-  There are excellent and terrible leaders.


The list of both is long. Since leaders are rarely at the extremes on this scale, the best question is to ask where along the continuum do your followers rate you?  For sure, a Leadership 360 or similar tool can provide you with insight to this question. However, as Marshall Goldsmith points out, simply asking your followers “What can I do better?” can provide invaluable insight.


Serving or Siphoning- Its all about your motive.


Are you more of a giver than taker? It’s clear that even the greatest leaders are not immune from temptation or even succumbing to greed.  Again, extremes are the exception so where do you…or more importantly your followers…rank you in this area along a continuum? In addition to making the ask, self-reflection here is critical.


Leading and Following- To be a leader you must have followers.


While that seems obvious, the reality is that leaders often mistakenly think their most important priority is to be the most skilled or recognized at whatever it is they do. Not so. The best leaders prioritize getting as many of their people to follow them as whole-heartedly as possible, in particular those whose skill and leadership capabilities exceed their own. These are Leaders of leaders and represent John Maxwell’s “Level 5” Leadership.  Leadership is not about you, its about those that who follow you.


Leadership, like America’s favorite game, is a contact sport. How are your fundamentals and what next steps do you need to take?



Dr. Wainner earned his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000 and is currently completing his Executive/Professional Coaching certificate program at the UT Dallas Jindal School of Business. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT) and an Associate Professor at Texas State University Program in Physical Therapy, where he directs and teaches the Orthopeadic Curriculum.  He is also founder and President of Coach 4 Leadership, LLC, an executive & professional Coaching business as well as founding Partner and VP of Clinical Excellence of Texas Physical Therapy Specialists, P.C. a multi-location private practice, partner in Fit for Work, an occupational health practice specializing in injury prevention, onsite services and consultation, and co-founder and Partner in Evidence-In-Motion. Dr. Wainner is a frequent research presenter at state, national, and international meetings, has authored numerous educational CD-ROMs, e-books, on-line courses and has published over 40 manuscripts in leading peer-reviewed journals. He has been an author and investigator on projects that have received some of the professions most prestigious research awards, including the Steven J. Rose Excellence in Research Award, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT) Excellence in Research Award, the International Federation of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (IFOMPT) Excellence in Research Award and the 2013 APTA Stanford Award for innovation in educational excellence.  Dr. Wainner received the Texas Physical Therapy Association’s 2004 Texas Physical Therapy Researcher of the Year Award, was inducted into the Military Order of Medical Merit, is a two-time recipient of the Air Force Physical Therapist of the Year Award and received the 2009 Practice Award of the APTA Private Practice Section.  He is currently an Editorial Review Board Member for the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy



On the personal side: I am my parent’s son (thanks mom and dad), husband of 31yrs to Diane, father of 6 adult kids, grandfather of 2 (and 1 on the way), and friend and mentor to many.  Hunting, fishing and gardening are pursuits I love but haven’t done much of over the years due to other priorities.  However, I have managed to still pursue my passions of reading, thinking, writing and exercising.  Above all, I am follower of Jesus Christ (but avoid religion like the plague).



My wife Diane and I have been wonderfully and happily married for over 30yrs. Our interests include gardening, home improvement, serving others along with entertaining and relaxing with family in our home in Bergheim, Texas.