Have you ever heard of a business toolkit that includes chocolate, a binder clip and a yo-yo? What if you threw in a rock, a sponge and some salt?
Those are some of the dozen items that are in the ‘leadership toolkit’ created by Candace Matthews, Americas Region President for Amway. But what do those items signify and how does it measure her success as a business leader?
Salt represents integrity and values. Coming from a large family, Candace knew her parents stressed over two things. Education and faith.
“Their goal was to educate their children and instill in them the values and faith needed to succeed in life. Whatever values you espouse, hold fast to them because uncompromising values are critical for a great leader to be worth her salt.”
Great leaders never give up. They believe where there’s a will, there’s a way. “In other words, anything you put your mind to and efforts behind, you can achieve. You must believe in yourself and your God-given abilities so strongly, that nothing or no one can deter you. That doesn’t mean you won’t face challenges and obstacles in life, because you will… and true leaders persevere through them and emerge even stronger than before. They are the rock of their organisation.”
Great leaders continually evolve, observing others whether it’s a boss, a peer or a subordinate. They are always looking for ways to improve themselves.
“Being a leader doesn’t mean you are perfect, but you are continually honing your leadership style and skills – continually striving for excellence. So watch others whom you consider leaders in your field; observe what they do well and what they don’t do well…be a sponge and soak it up.”
Anyone can be good at their job, but if they don’t project a good image and expose their talents to the right people, they won’t get far toward their goals. This doesn’t mean sucking up to those who are influential. It does mean continuously learning new things, finding new passions, sharing new ideas and exploring new cultures.
Learn everything you need to know and do the same. Pay it forward.
“Leaders must give of themselves to others; the reward is far greater than you could ever imagine.”
What’s a wiffle ball, you may ask? Well, it’s used in a sport that closely follows the basic principles of playing baseball – throw the ball, hit the ball and catch the ball! In Candace’s bag, the ball signifies staying grounded to your principles.
“Learn how to stand up for yourself because growing a backbone will eventually become a turning point in becoming a strong leader.”
Learn how to be flexible. Hone that skill.
“And guess what, you are marketable, you have skills and as soon as you are ready, God will open another door. You’ll be surprised at how much you can stretch.”
Building a business is important but there needs to be more to life apart from gaining business perspectives. Do what is needed to build your business. But, take the time to develop a personal life too.
Great leaders have a strong personal support system. “For me that is my husband, Bruce, who sacrificed so much of himself for me to fulfill my dream.”
“Balance and a strong, loving support system are essential to a great, well-rounded leader.”
Leaders surround themselves with the best and the brightest individuals who possess complementary skills.
“As a matter of fact, true leaders are continually grooming others to take their place…bind yourself to your squad, people that bring out the best and drive each other to greatness.
Great leaders give and receive direct, constructive and honest feedback, and that’s not always easy. “They must have both thick and Teflon skin, because there will be times when both are needed.”
The final item in Candace’s toolbox is a dollar bill, representing the fact that great leaders are rewarded well, reward others well and give back to their community. Give your time, talent and treasure—and don’t give until it hurts, give until it feels really good!