Lessons from Father: Leadership


Sean McDowell interviews his father to help you define leadership, avoid mistakes, and make positive decisions.

Sean: Dad, how do you define leadership?

Josh: I see leadership as taking people where they need to go. A good leader takes people where they need to go, but a great leader takes them where they don’t think they need to go. Leadership involves the art of persuasion, which involves getting people to change their minds and their wills to achieve a goal.

Sean: What big mistakes do you see leaders make?

Josh: Probably the biggest mistake leaders make is when their lives are not authentic. The lack of integrity in the life of a leader, when his life does not match up with his message, probably weakens effectiveness more than anything else. Second, leaders who are unwilling to make sacrifices to achieve their goal. If people can see the sacrifice you make in your life as a leader, then they will follow.

Sean: What advice do you have for leaders, especially younger leaders?

Josh: Leadership without relationships leads to stagnation. The more the leader can establish a relationship with those who he’s leading the happier he will be, and the more willing others will be to follow. So, work hard at building relationships with those you lead. Once in a while leave your office and walk around and talk to people. Go into their office and ask personal questions about their life outside of work. And second, to build those relationships, get your top leaders together and ask them to give something positive about someone who works for him or her and something that person has achieved. Then take the list, and write each person a personal note saying something like, “[Insert name here] shared with me you did [insert accomplishment here]. Thank you because that made a big difference.” People respond to encouragement. If you build relationships, people will follow

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