George is a leader. He cares, he listens, he is always there with an encouraging word, a provocative insight, a helping hand.

With every new challenge, people look to George. George runs the teleconference, handles his people's tougher objections. At his local meetings, people look to George for new inspiration, refresher tips, and always-useful insights brimming with how-to-do-it practicality.

George always seems to have his ego in check, too, truly leads from the heart, always with a spirit of giving. Oh, he's not perfect, and he's the first to admit it. But he is one heck of a guy, is George--and one heck of a network marketer, too, and he shares his expertise and experience generously. When George speaks, people listen--dozens, hundreds, even thousands of people.

George is a leader of leaders. There's just one thing wrong with this picture. There's a bit too much George in it.

What would happen if George disappeared for a few months? Or longer? (Mom suffers long illness...marriage in trouble...unexpected case of acrophobia, agoraphobia and ariphobia--fear of high places, open places, and dry places, especially Phoenix and Salt Lake City....)

His top people don't even want to think about it. Because the truth is, if George didn't do it--it probably wouldn't get done.

The sternest test of leadership might be this: How residual is it? What happens to leadership's results, if you take away the leader?

For networkers headed for the top of their plan, a syndrome sometimes occurs that I call the "Diamond Plateau." People reach the next-to-top achievement title (say, "Diamond")--and can't quite seem to make it to the top title (Blue, Double-, Royal Crown or Crystal Palace Diamond). "I just can't seem to make that last lap. I'm really clear on this goal--but my people just aren't keeping up."

Usually the best strategy at Diamond Plateau is this: let go. It's not you who's going to create the Crystal Palace Diamondhood--it's your co-stars who are taking you there.

It's a paradox. When you start building your business, you are the prime mover. It is you that generates all the action. If you don't do it, it doesn't get done. At a certain point, the balance shifts--from full-time starring role to Best Supporting Actor or Actress. It's no longer about you. Paul Newman in "The Road to Perdition": breathtaking star quality--in a true supporting role.

Getting the job done (the prospecting, enrolling, coaching) is the easy part. The harder part is finding co-stars, helping their star quality emerge, and then, without simply abandoning them, easing back and getting out their way.

Lao Tzu said that when a truly great leader is in charge, the people don't notice he's even there, and think they are doing it all by themselves. Jesus called it "washing the feet" of those you lead. We call it "residual leadership": a little less George--and a lot more of George's results.

John David Mann
is Editor of Networking Times.