LEADERtips™ – It Took Me Being Fired to Become a Leader!

March 11, 2014, by , Posted in Blog,Leadership,RICH Tips, 0 Comment

I have been managing, and what I thought was leading, people since I was born.  Being a middle child of 12, I wasn’t only being managed from above; I was managing those younger than me (and often the older ones as well:))

However, it was when I was fired from my 25 year corporate career, I learned what true leadership is; and more so, what it is not:

  • It is not the title one has.
  • The number of people who report to you, or
  • The weight one throws around; causing others to be intimidated, envious or fearful.
  • It doesn’t have anything to do with the results achieved. This is a hard one to believe for many, but I am here to tell you, it doesn’t.
  • It has nothing to do with the power-up or person who sponsors or guides you up the ladder. 

What I learned on that fateful day in November, 2007, is that it had everything to do with ME – the person, or lack of person I was when leading. Ouch, right?

In the days and weeks that followed, many expected me to be bitter, revengeful, or at the least, emotional over it. After all; for years, my title, salary and power was my entire identity.  But I wasn’t. I was focused on understanding my part in it, to ensure my future ambitions didn’t have the same fate. Even though I knew I wasn’t alone in the undoing, the #1 lesson learned: I couldn’t control or change in anyone else, I could only change me. So, I had to take full responsibility and accountability for my actions, decisions and contributions; and to do that I had to become very self-aware!


  • Your title, salary and power mean nothing, if you are not ‘serving’ the people following you. My father’s favorite lesson to his 12 kids was; “Leave a place and the people within it, better than how you found it.”
    • Leaders are there to serve! Give your team (and company) the communication, transparency, engagement, motivation, and support they need to be the best contributor they can be.
  • Be humble and grateful to those around you, as no great leader goes about it or achieves it alone.
    • Recognize achievement as often as the disappointments.
    • Thank You’s are FREE, but worth gold when stated genuinely!
  • Provide them a clear vision, mission and road map for why and what they are working so hard to achieve for you; whether as a team, division or entire company.
  • Give them the real you; not a manufactured copy of what you or your company considers a leader to be.
    • People don’t join companies to work for robots. They want to be led by people with heart and soul; who connect with them on more than a black and white metrics level, while still providing structure and discipline. Think of your parents, or you, if you are a parent. Your kids may challenge your authority, but they thrive on discipline and structure.
  • Build relationships within your team, company and industry that stretch yourself and the company in thoughts, ideas and opportunities.
  • Establish measurable goals that focus on the development, growth and advancement of your team members.
    • Leaders are not threatened, intimidated or insecure over the betterment of others. Great leaders surround themselves with people smarter than themselves. Be that leader.
    • Be accountable to your effectiveness and productivity as a leader. Ask around; especially those you trust to be upfront and candid. Self awareness is vital to your ultimate success.
  • Be a lifetime student of your personal, professional and leadership development.
    • In business today, people move from one company and position to another, more regularly than ever. This requires you to master the above so your leadership style can be effective in a variety of company cultures.
    • Keep up with the changing demands of employees, customers and stakeholders – educate yourself on the skills, traits, and qualities that ensure successful leadership. You owe it to yourself and every single individual and company you work with.

There is always a silver lining in every difficult situation – even in being fired. For me, my silver, even platinum lining from that fateful day was learning and instilling the above lessons into my own leadership style. They have saved me from being far less of a leader and person I am capable of – no matter the title, power or salary, and my team, clients and I have realized the benefits of it.

How about you? Which of the above LEADERtips™ could you benefit from focusing on?

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Bernadette Boas is the ball of fire behind Ball of Fire Consulting, a strategy and leadership consulting practice, and Ball of Fire Inc. (media/publishing). Bernadette is a business growth and leadership consultant, trainer, speaker, radio personality of Shedding the Bitch Radio, and author of her first book Shedding the Corporate Bitch, Shifting Bitches to Riches in Life and Business. Her focus is on igniting leadership in individuals, businesses and their company cultures to one of RICHness and profit.

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