Here are my top five takeaways from The Leader’s Greatest Return panel:
- Conversations on leadership should be
inclusive. Yesterday’s panel was so much fun because it was composed of
such different people. My story was very different from Adrienne’s, hers was different
from Tom’s, who’s story was different from Dave’s and Gerard’s. By bringing that
wide range of experience, insight, and interest to the stage, our conversation
was able to go places no one could’ve imagined—and yielded so many great
thoughts I wanted to stop talking midway through so I could take notes!
- Only growing leaders can (or will) grow
leaders. Dave Hollis said it so brilliantly when he shared a story about how
he addressed his leadership team at the Hollis Co. Dave said that when he assembled
the team, he told them, “No one currently at this leadership table has the skills
needed to remain at this table five years from now. Including me. If we want to
stay, we must grow.” It’s no secret that I’m a huge believer in growth, but to
hear my fellow leaders affirm that their own personal growth precedes their
ability to grow other leaders did my heart good.
- Leaders must give their people what they
need. We had a spirited discussion about what the people on our teams need
from us. Adrienne made the point that restoring heart to leadership—kindness,
empathy, human connection—was what modern workers needed most, and Tom chimed
in, “Yeah, but a good salary and stock options aren’t so bad either!” While we
all laughed, I thought Dave did a wonderful job of tying it together by saying,
“The basic needs of an employee include a paycheck but go beyond it as well—our
people want to be seen and treated well.”
- Mentorship matters. One of the best
conversations of the day was around mentorship—who we mentor, who mentored us,
and what we learned by being mentored. Gerard said something so profound,
something I wish everyone would just write down and remember: “I wanted to be a
mentee who brought value to my mentor.” I love that statement, because it reminded
me of my relationship with Coach John Wooden—whenever I went to see Coach, I always
wanted to be prepared so he would see how much I valued his time and wanted to
make it valuable for him too. I didn’t meet with him for the chance to get a
picture or a signed basketball; I wanted to have a relationship with him that would
make a difference in both of our lives.
- Attitude is the difference maker. One of
the final things we discussed was what to look for in a leader, and Tom said
something I just loved: “When it comes to people, I hire for attitude and train
for skill every time.” The whole panel lit up over that idea, because that’s so
often what hinders a person’s opportunities in leadership. You can find people
whose skill sets complement and support one another; a small skill set isn’t a
deal breaker. But a person with a negative attitude is nearly impossible to overcome.
People with a healthy mindset, a positive outlook, and a willingness to grow are
exactly the kind of people who will learn a new skill if that’s what it takes
to help the team win.
There were a lot more takeaways that I could share, but it’s probably better for you to just click on the link and watch the video for yourself. And once you do, I’d love for you to post your favorite takeaway in the comments so I can learn from you as well!
John Maxwell Leadership Podcast