Yesterday, my team joined me in New York City for the official release of my new book, The Leader’s Greatest Return. As part of the day’s events, we hosted a panel of other authors and leaders to talk about developing people, and it was a blast. We even broadcast it via Facebook, so if you missed it yesterday, you could go back and watch it today.
I was joined on the panel by Dave Hollis, CEO of The Hollis Co; Adrienne Bankert, National News Correspondent, ABC News; Tom Golisano, Founder and Chairman of the Board, Paychex; and Gerard Adams, The Millennial Mentor™. The panel was moderated by Kimberly Weisul, Editor-at-Large at Inc.com.
It was so much fun. I had a blast sitting there with friends old and new talking about leadership and what leaders need to do in order to develop other leaders. The conversation only lasted about an hour, but it could’ve gone much longer—but even within that hour, we packed in so much good stuff that I just had to share a few of my takeaways with you.
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!