Telling Business Tales from the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’

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4 Minutes
  • In the recent Hollywood flick, beneath Jordan Belfort’s corruption, there are a number of key lessons that leaders need to learn from his success.
  • Leaders need to attract, engage and tantalize the imaginations of their team members, to get the best out of them.
  • They need to give their team members a compelling reason to take consistent action, through incentives and performance management techniques
  • Big dreams with a strong base of ethics is the right mix for being a strong and successful leader.
Martin Scorseses’ most recent Hollywood blockbuster has the business world talking and a few financial guys on Wall Street ducking for cover. The film unveils a brash lifestyle that claims to depict the real life escapades of Jordan Belfort and along with members of his company selling financial services and wealth management products.
Of course, for those who may not have read the book or seen the movie, expect a few spoilers in this article as it would make no sense at all otherwise.
Here are the 3 things that Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street) did right as a leader:

1. Getting your team engaged in a powerful compelling vision: 

Leaders who are able to attract, engage and tantalize the imaginations of their fellow team members will build a fire of enthusiasm that will power their individual producers forward and spur others using the momentum.

Jordan set examples, led his team, was fearless in engaging in personal performance himself. He effectively got his team to buy into his dream of the future and these team members could begin to paint a picture of their new future with Belfort’s company in return.
This daily ritual of getting his team pumped and motivated could be emulated by leaders today provided that they engage in activities of an ethical nature that will provide win-win experiences for both the customer and the business.
 2. Creating amazing rewards for team members:
Giving them a compelling reason to take consistent action!
Leaders today who understand that success is a mix of both inspiration and perspiration can quickly take a page out of Jordan’s book. His leadership style, brazen and wild as depicted in the film, used incentives and performance management techniques that infected some of his team members with incredible drive.
As a result, and as preposterous and outlandish as it seemed, he rallied his team performance by creating an eco-system of rewards and incentives within his team that impacted his bottom line. (Pun unintended).
3. Dare to Dream Big:
The Wolf was not shy about dreaming big, in fact, few people of his age and background could have had the audacity to dream so big. Of course, if you consider that big dreams are not always ethical while considering the late Ronny Biggs of the Great Train Robbery, or Jordan Belfort’s tactics.
Ethical leaders who dare to dream big are contagious and will gather energy and enthusiasm just as a tornado gathers dust, becoming even more powerful at each new collection of souls who buy into the dream. Imagine Martin Luther King without a Big Dream, or Gandhi saying he was ready to give up, Mandela, or Steve Jobs, along with hundreds of other noteworthy examples in human history.
In the building of his company, Jordan used three leadership techniques and deployed them perfectly. The only problem was that he had forgotten where the line of ethical practices started and ended.
His short-lived rule of being the master of the universe could have been easily predicted by anyone who understands that success can never be measured in the short term trick, but the trick is to enjoy long term success ethically.
It is the mantle of the leader’s character that will sustain their attractiveness to others with their real inner enthusiasm, purpose, passion and integrity.
To know without question that your boss is honest, would support you, will always strive to do the right thing, to know that your boss does not engage or tolerate in unethical practices or behaviours helps team members sleep much better at night.
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