Food for Thought-3 Life and Leadership Lessons from Bill Withers


1.  Your family, friends, brothers, and sisters will sit down and try to influence your decision making process.  Whenever you’re involved in something big, whether it is a relationship or an important decision at work, others will try to influence the decisions you make.  In fact, it is only natural for you to seek the counsel of others.  It is wise to listen to what others say and offer.  Many people have wisdom in particular fields of study or life experience that may be valuable in given situations.  However, the decision must rest with the leader.  The course which the team, organization, or even the individual takes has to ultimately be that of the person who is responsible.  The leader has to decide how much of the advice to keep and disregard.

2.  How do you treat people in social situations?  You can’t talk down to people at high class parties, meetings, in class room settings, or in sermons and expect them to respect you as a leader.  It just doesn’t work.  You are in a position of leadership because of your knowledge, skills, and abilities.  People have faith in the job you can do.  There shouldn’t be a continual need to prove it to others in these kinds of social settings.  Humble leaders are confident enough in who they are, proving themselves in public should be the least of their worries.  It is the private proving grounds, the ones when few people are watching and the hard decisions must get made with you and your team that build the most respect among your peers.

3. Don’t use people or allow people to use you.  It seems if you’re not doing the first you’re probably going to be on guard against doing the second.  Leaders work with people.  We want people to want to work with us.  Leaders prefer for there to be a voluntary exchange to time, resources, and ideas among those in our organization.  If people are drawn together by a common purpose and belief to accomplish a common goal, it is very hard for people to use each other in any form.

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