Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Some people say that I am a natural born leader but let me tell you what leadership means to me.
Leadership does not mean you have an Ivy League diploma. Attending an elite college is no guarantee of leadership, life success or earning potential. I like to believe that I have been successful in my career, I have good leadership skills and my earning potential warrants my two degrees, one in Business Administration and the other in Business Management in an environment that would teach me the challenges of depending upon a group of people. For those of you that did not go to the University of Phoenix you would not understand this statement and I want to keep it that way. What I can tell you is that it instilled values in me during that four and half years that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I do however have to give a shout out to Nick Johnson as he was my righthand man in school. We were both working full-time while attending the University of Phoenix and all I can say is that we carried our team across the finish line for most of our classes. For those of you out there that think you can do everything on your own and you are not replaceable, think again!
My leadership skills teach people to be as curious as you can. Put yourself in situations where you are not just yielding to what is familiar. When you see a problem, step in, and help solve it. And then teach them the willingness to step out and let somebody else take over and make room for someone else. Giving up power is a lesson I must continually remind myself to do, so if I can instill this in my employees it will make me and them a more well rounded leader.
“When you see a problem, step in, and help solve it.”
What is most important to me is that people are intellectually humble, willing to admit when they are wrong and care about the environment around them because this will instill the mindset of an owner, not an employee.
An Ivy League education is by no means the only way to climb the corporate ladder these days. In fact, most CEOs in America’s largest companies do not have a degree from an Ivy League school or equally prestigious school. I bring this up because I used to minimize my education and was at times embarrassed to mention where I went to college. When I realized that my education was not just a diploma, but a real world four and a half year business experiment to see if I had the guts to be a leader even when others would give up or not put forth the same effort. It made me want to inspire people to be better employees and hopefully leaders someday.
Let me get back to my employees who I admire. Why do I admire them? They are willing to follow me in the good and bad times. For those of you that worked for, owned or were the leaders of a financial institution of any sort during the Great Depression of our time you know what I am talking about. They stayed strong even when I was weak, they kept going when I wanted to stop, they would tell me everything was going to be alright when I knew otherwise. What they were doing was putting what I taught them back on me to keep me leading them down the path to a brighter tomorrow. I hope they know what a huge inspiration they were to me during some of the most difficult years of my life.
“What I like is the team environment of accomplishing what others think is not possible.”
I never dreamed of being “the boss”. I am not even sure I act like one. What I like is the team environment of accomplishing what others think is not possible. I think this is my true talent. I never sit still, I am always on to the next advancement. “There is always more to accomplish” motto is what makes superstars. Some would say that I am never satisfied, and they are correct because no one should settle for good. If it is not better than a four-letter word, then it is not worth my time. Make it a five-letter word or bigger and I am in.
I know that through my career I have been met with many challenges. Some good and some bad. I like to believe that I have been able to reflect on these challenges to become a more well-rounded, educated person.