Today’s executives know they need to continually develop and hone their management skills, so TB&P magazine editor Bill Paddack asked six business leaders to tell us about the single most impactful book, article or presentation that shaped their approach to leading people.
A great book is “Multipliers” by Liz Wiseman. Pound for pound it has more practical insights for leaders than perhaps any resource I’ve seen.
Through her study, Wiseman identifies five behavior patterns where leaders can multiply the talent and contribution of those around him or her, or can diminish those same people. As I read through the patterns and supporting examples, I was able to quickly identify leaders from my career who were multipliers and those that were diminishers – to the point I started writing names down in the margins.
What became convicting to me was, for the people I lead, where would they write my name? When am I a multiplier and when am I a diminisher, even if accidentally?
This is one of the books I can and have gone back to read again and again as a reminder of the type of leader I want to be.
Rosalind M. Mouser
Ramsay, Bridgforth, Robinson and Raley LLP
It’s the winter of 1968. A white police officer shoots and kills a young African-American man in Pine Bluff. I’m 10, standing in a crowd with my mother at an event to address the race situation. Why am I here? The African-American community requested one white person to speak, and it’s my father. I cannot see him, but I hear him, loud and clear.
This is the earliest presentation I recall that changed my life. I do not remember the exact words my father spoke, but the next 35 years of his life demonstrated what he said. That night, I determined I wanted to be a leader like my father. Genuine. A leader that brings people together in the midst of tragedy, anger and sorrow. A leader that “walks her talk.” A leader that will show up and take a stand, even when unpopular. A leader that will seek truth and justice for all – one that works tirelessly to bring her best to the challenges of life. My father’s speech that night has been the greatest influence on my approach to leadership.
Public Affairs Director
You may ask, “How do you feel this morning?” I say, “Terrific.” I say that no matter how I feel when I start out. Once I have said it two or three times, I do feel terrific.
The single most impactful book that helped shape me is “The Art of Winning” by Dennis Conner. It is a rather old book – late 1980s. It is chock full of techniques for motivation, teamwork and success in life.
Whether you are attempting to win the America’s Cup (as Conner did) or trying to help our world to be more sustainable, these need to be in your formula for success – strategy, attitude, performance, teamwork, competition and goals.
Love what you do. Learn to appreciate everyone you work with – even your adversaries. Be your own goalkeeper. Recognize outside insights and information, but set your own goals and your own pursuit timeline. Make a personal commitment to the commitment.
That’s a commitment you have to make for yourself.
CEO, Southern Bancorp Community Partners
EVP, Southern Bancorp, Inc.
Most recently, I was influenced by the book “Traction” by Gino Wickman. It emphasizes the importance of aligning all aspects of an organization.
Under the leadership of our holding company CEO Darrin Williams, we’ve started aligning our organization as outlined in the book whereby each of our team members will have short- and long-term goals that align with our 10-year organizational goals. Each team member will have both long-term direction and short-term milestones.
For example, one of my 90-day goals is to deploy all of our excess loan capital while staying aligned with our 10-year goals of homeownership, entrepreneurship and savings.
Leadership development is a key component of the process as it engages employees, communicates the long-term strategy and challenges them to align their efforts with the long-term goals – all while underscoring the principles of accountability, respect, integrity and transparency.
Director of Brand Management & Communications
One of my favorite quotes on leadership is, “You manage things; you lead people.” While I wear many hats within the agency, leading my team to reach their full potential is by far my main priority.
A few years ago, Stone Ward was introduced to the Process Communication Model, which identified individual personality traits for each staff member. The presentation on how those personality types act independently and interact with the other types completely changed the way I viewed leadership. The presentation gave examples on how to understand the traits of each personality type in order to motivate and communicate more effectively with those around you.
Based on what I learned that day, I now have the ability to focus on what drives each of my team members, what they need from me to succeed and the most effective way to interact with them. To me, knowing the best way to communicate to your employees is one of the most important assets in being a good leader and by doing this I’m able to live our agency’s philosophy of Building Good.
State Rep. Monte Hodges
Vice President of Commercial Lending
Southern Bancorp, Inc.
My single most motivating proverb didn’t come from a textbook, magazine or lecture. Neither did it come from any personal motivational material. But, my single most life-changing phrase came from one of the oldest, most relevant books in any society or culture: the Holy Bible.
In the book of Matthew, the 25th chapter, Jesus had to change the perception of what his disciples thought was leadership. They had true leadership misconstrued.
After reading this chapter, I was inspired go into public service. This book for me is always accurate, precise and to the point. I’ve been put here to serve others.
Matthew 25:28 says explicitly that the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.
From this perspective, I live in the fullness of who I am – “a servant leader.”