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Lead Your Team Leadership

Leadership Lessons: Encourage Your Team to Be Great for Themselves

Leadership Lessons: Encourage Your Team to Be Great for Themselves

There's no one "right" way to lead a business. Today's leaders have a lot of wisdom to impart about managing the modern workforce, because each one approaches leadership in his or her own unique way. Every week, Business News Daily will share a leadership lesson from a successful business owner or executive.

  • The leader: Chris Gero, founder & vice president of Yamaha Entertainment Group
  • Time in current position: 25 years
  • Chris's philosophy: "Encourage the team to realize there's always a higher mountain climb, and they can become great because of it. If employees do well for themselves first, the company will do well as a byproduct."

I'm a believer in being great for yourself. Everything trickles down from there. 

Even though Yamaha is a very large corporation, my division is run from an entrepreneurial standpoint. Over the past 25 years at the company, I've realized the value of likeminded, trustworthy employees who want to better their lives through the challenges and opportunities we're presented with every day.

Because it's a very driven environment and we're constantly being pushed to do exceptional work, people have to believe in themselves and work for their own betterment. When they understand who they are and their goals outside of the company, they will ultimately benefit the organization even more.

Ironically, one of my most influential mentors, George Lieb, laid me off! I was an artist, and I'd gotten burnt out on music. So, I decided I would work for a company entirely outside of the industry during the early '90s.That company was GTE Telecommunications (now a part of Verizon), and George was the president. I became very close friends with him.

When George realized who I was and the scope of the work I had done prior, I got a call that I was on a layoff list. I asked George what was happening here, and he replied, "The truth of the matter is you don't belong in our world. You belong in your world. The best thing I can do for you is get you back in your world."

I was mad for a minute. Two days later, another opportunity popped up and set me off on the path towards where I am today. In this weird way, George was responsible for putting me back on track. I needed to be great for myself, and I couldn't do so in that position.

I always keep this in mind every day as I work with the team. If I can be cognizant of their goals and who they are and ultimately encourage that, the company will grow and thrive.

Edited for length and clarity by Nicole Taylor.