Collective Wisdom: Leadership Mantras to Live By

by wpengine on June 17, 2014 in Culture, Outside-In®, Workforce


by Outside-In® Team Member, Kelly Hocutt

Last year, during our year of the Outside-In® Happiness project, I set out to grow my leadership skills. Last June, I applied to a mentor program, in which I would get the opportunity to meet with 10 regional executives throughout the year. From September through May, my class of 15 other mentees have met monthly with executives from various types of businesses to learn their story and interview them about what makes a successful leader. Tomorrow, my class will present what we learned.

I surveyed the class after each session to find out what their biggest takeaway was. While each leader offered their unique perspective (and each of us may have walked away with different learns), collectively their wisdom can be categorized into five major takeaways: Be yourself & follow your passion, Take risks & embrace change, Invest in people & relationships, Choose how to spend your time, and Work hard & be committed.  To pay it forward, below I’ve shared some direct quotes and the statements that left a lasting impression on us.

Be Yourself. Follow Your Passion.
Focus on yourself first. Get to know you. Be your authentic self.
You can’t take care of others, if you don’t take care of yourself.
Adopt traits from leaders that you admire, but always be authentic to you.
Alignment: make decisions true to yourself and your values.
Make sure the systems in your life reinforce your health across mind/body/spirit.
Know who you are and what you are good at and own it.
Then find an environment (industry, organization, location, culture, passion) that fits you.
Be positive & passionate about what you do.
Find out what you’re good at and pursue it.
Find your dance floor.
Figure out what your end game is.
It’s never too late to act on a personal passion or interest.
Be passionate and fill your life with things you are passionate about.
Go to bed tired. Passion persuades.
Know and love yourself.
Do what makes you happy.

Take risks. Go outside your comfort zone. Embrace Change.
Put yourself in uncomfortable situations regularly.
Take risks in areas you don’t know well to grow and learn.
Surround yourself with people who have opposing views.
Adapt to change quicker than your competition.
Stick to it, but don’t be afraid to change or improve your plan along the way.
It’s okay to take risks and make mistakes. Just do your homework on what you are leaping toward.
Change happens, get used to it.
Have “thinking partners” that think differently from you.
Be agile and ready to handle new situations when things don’t go as planned.
Take risks. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations.
Get in front of major mistakes. (Even when you’re not 100% confident in your solution)
Take risks and go for it.

Invest in People & Relationships
Treat everyone well.
Remember that everyone in the company is important and innovation can come from anywhere.
Love your people to death.
Your people list should be longer than your task list.
Take a genuine interest in people.
You are the sum of your relationships.
Your job as a manager is to support your people, listen to their ideas, and help them.
Networking is just asking questions, the skill of asking questions is listening.
You don’t need a “mentor”, just people you trust.
Make strong connections.
Go where you like the people.
Get involved in the community.
A healthy company leads to a healthy community.
Giving back to the community benefits more than just the community.
Put yourself in situations where people are different from you, this is where you learn the most.
Invest in people, not ideas, not work.

Choose how to spend your TIME.
Be mindful of how you spend your time.
Attack your free time with the passion you attack your work time.
Find time for family.
There is no substitute for time.
You can tell a lot about a person by how they spend their time.
People won’t remember the time you weren’t there for work,
but your family will remember the times you aren’t there for them.
Multi-tasking is bullshit.
Prioritize the 3 most important things to get done that day and let the other things go.
There’s no such thing as work life balance, only work life integration.

Work Hard. Be Committed.
Never give up.
There are no shortcuts to success.
It comes down to planning, executing, adapting, and a ton of hard work.
If you work your a$$ off and validate yourself within a company, you will have
the leverage and freedom to do whatever you want!
Be one step ahead of others.
Have intolerance for laziness.
Do as much as you can while you can.

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