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Position Doesn’t Make You a Leader, Leadership Conference Presenter Tells CU Audience
Friday, September 5, 2014 7:00 AM

Opening General Session

Are you a real leader? That is a question motivational speaker Steven Foster asked a credit union audience yesterday at the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Leadership Conference & Expo in San Antonio, Texas.

According to Foster, leadership is never about the leader.

“If you are a leader who thinks ‘it’s all about me,’ you are sure to fail,” he told the crowd. “There is no place for ‘my’ in leadership.”

“And position doesn’t make you a leader – action does,” he added.

As Foster explains it, full-throttle leaders are simply, “REAL.” They focus on solving three key leadership challenges:

  • Capability
  • Responsibility
  • Influence

Great leadership capability, he says, helps the team perform fast, tight and in unison. And responsible leaders understand that leadership isn’t about them. They listen and then lead.

Foster says we can learn a great deal about what responsibility really means from marines.

“Marines are great leaders,” he told the credit union audience. “They know how to share the load and the lead.”

For many years, Foster told the audience that he had planned a motorcycle ride around the perimeter of the U.S. The trip had been sitting atop his personal Biker Bucket List for a long time, but kept getting postponed. Then, a Navy SEAL and five inspired women set off a chain of influence in his life that continues to this day.  “Lone Survivor” by Marcus Luttrell led Foster to the Boot Campaign; a grassroots initiative started by five women from Texas known as the Boot Girls, who also read the book and were moved to action. Their influence, he said, made all the difference.

“A real leader knows the way, goes the way and shows the way,” Foster said.

He encouraged the credit union audience to practice leadership lessons every day.