I’ve been blessed with many wonderful mentors in my life, each of them appearing at the right time and place—family members to teachers to professional colleagues. Each of these people has helped me to become the person, and the leader, that I am today. This photo is of my dad and me, taken after I read the section about him in my book.
The most influential person in my life, who set my leadership style, was my maternal grandfather. His greatest gift to me was teaching me work ethic. To my Grandpa, the measure of a man was how hard he worked and it didn’t matter if you wore gloves to work or if you wore a tie. What mattered was that you gave it your all for as long as it took to get the job done.
The strongest mentor in my life has been my maternal grandmother. She’s a powerful prayer warrior and has held me accountable to myself and to God. She told me on her 80th birthday that she is finally beginning to see things as they are and how foolish she was in her 60s. I think about that a lot these days. The person who provided me with the greatest example was my father whose gift to me was showing how to take personal responsibility. He had struggled after his return from Vietnam and through all of our moves, from one job to another, and one school to the other while I was growing up, my dad never let his family know of his inner demons.
Personal responsibility lies at the foundation of my core values as without this there’d be no motivation to maintain these values. And, at the core of my being is the need to fix things. The bigger the mess, the more I like it! I like to solve problems by simply looking at them from a different perspective. You know the saying that you should call an expert if you want to find out how not to do something. That rings true with me! I want to go about quietly making things better. I’m inspired to make a positive difference and to leave things better than how I found them. My values of integrity, perseverance, courtesy, self-control, and indomitable spirit are my core values which I carry with me each and every day.
Expanding on my values, I am convinced that there are three No-Øs of Leadership that create fatal flaws. These are Ego, Libido, and Dinero. If you can be aware of these No-Øs and take personal responsibility for how you lead; you can avoid the carnage of leadership failures involving any one or a combination of the No-Øs. My book explains these fatal flaws in detail, along with ways to evade them, which include having self-awareness and empathy.
I invite you to join me in exploring lessons in leadership that have been learned over my life’s experiences and by attending the school of hard knocks. We can make the world a better place by doing our part and to make ourselves better leaders. If you have just one takeaway from my book—You CAN make a difference as you aspire to be a Leader Worth Following.