Employees trust and follow proven leaders — those that motivate, communicate, and know what they’re talking about.

As a tribute to my HR mentor who recently retired after a long and successful career in organizational development and HR (congrats Debra), I have to tip my hat (if I wore hats) to her for being 100% correct – success begins and ends with leadership.

Undoubtedly, my successful clients can have mediocre strategies, plans and even people; however, if they have great leaders, I guarantee they will be more successful than the reverse. The most talented and dedicated employees will become frustrated and leave if saddled with lousy leaders. Some might stay if particularly loyal; however, they will eventually “give up” temporarily – until a new leader arrives.

To the exceptional leaders out there, THANK YOU! It is much appreciated. I heard about one of these leaders tonight from a former colleague at a key client. She said this leader is so respected that if he said, “trust me” even if his plan didn’t seem solid, everyone would follow – without exception. Even as a VP, she mentioned the value he created by seeing his employees as valuable assets, regardless of position. He would talk with “the little people” and see how they were doing and ask for ideas. Not surprisingly, they will follow him but not the current leaders who seem to care solely about their personal career paths.