Members of the PSA Leadership Committee were asked to reflect on the three most important and influential leadership lessons they have learned throughout their careers. In the following article the members of the PSA Leadership Committee were asked what are the three most important leadership lessons they have learned throughout their careers?
Bill Bozeman, CPP, CEO, PSA Security Network
I do not come from a wealthy family. Really good people – but I cannot claim any corporate or community leaders in my heritage. My dad, who was a great man and very hard worker, was making progress as a young up-and-coming leader in a union construction company; however, he passed away as a young man when I was a teen. My older sister broke the mold when she married a powerful and wealthy businessman while I was in college. When I graduated, I thought it made sense to seek advice from the one guy in our family who had made it big in business, my brother-in-law. I requested a formal meeting and asked him for advice on how I might become successful in business. I will never forget his response. I list his quote as #1 as I feel it has served me well over the years.
- “When you reach a certain level, everyone at the table is smart, educated, ambitious and competitive. All you need to do to stand out from your peers is to work harder than they do; it’s that simple.”
- Never ever, ever, give up.
- Deliver what you promise.
Nigel Waterton, Sr. Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Development, Aronson Security Group
Like the rest of you, I’ve read many different leadership books over the years. Each of them has been valuable in their own way, but not entirely tuned to me as an individual. This is something that over the years I’ve struggled with as I wanted to emulate certain leaders and their style, only to find I just needed to develop my own leadership style. Taking from all those books and experiences what worked for me and learning to recognize what didn’t work for me as a leader.
My leadership training started in the military, which for those of you that haven’t served, isn’t a democracy but rather a benevolent dictatorship. Questioning orders was for the most part discouraged at the lower ranks, and it wasn’t until one rose higher through the ranks that they earned the right to discuss the objective and operational tactics.
Why do I bring this up? Well, again, it’s been my experience that those that served in these types of roles had a hard time adjusting to a civilian mind set. All those little nuggets of when I tell you to jump, you say how high, Sir? flew out the window. We had to learn a new mind set!
Mind melding the military and civilian brain is not easy and would have given Star Trek’s Mr. Spock a brain aneurysm. In fact, you have to discard a huge portion of that mindset entirely. Taking away only the fundamentals of your core discipline and the ability to structure complex situations.
My leadership style has been formed over many years of simply learning what NOT to do. Leadership, per se, isn’t something you can just teach like the military taught us. Leadership is learned by listening to people and not talking at them!
I still read lots of different books on leadership about the great men and women that history has called great leaders, but I find myself reading short articles or homilies on a daily basis that reminds me to practice what I read. I don’t agree with everything that is written, but it does give me the perspective that I still have lots to learn.
Mike Kobelin, PSP, Tech Systems, Inc.
Like many (probably all) of you, I believe leadership includes leading by example. As leaders, we know people are always watching us and frequently discussing amongst themselves what we do or don’t do. In business, we are all obligated to help our companies earn a fair profit, but ‘fair’ is the key word. All of our employees and co-workers are constantly scrutinizing us to see how we handle “opportunities” and they know when we work with absolute integrity, and when we step over the line to make a quick buck.
I have multiple books on my shelf about leadership. Sometimes when I feel I am in a rut, I grab an old classic (maybe from John Maxwell) and remind myself of the basics. One of my favorites from him is “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”
- Just Do IT. Since high school, I’ve been a Nike fan. Nike started in Eugene in 1972, I graduated from high school in 1974. For the past 45+ years I’ve watched Nike grow to the dominent company they are, many of my college and neighborhood friends work (or have worked) for Nike, and for 25 years I worked closely with the Nike Security Group providing security solutions for many of their facilities. I’ve watched Nike mature into an incredible company, but my point is Just Do It is a mantra I try to follow. Don’t procrastinate, don’t hesitate, Just Do It.
- People who tell you not to worry about the little things have never tried sleeping in a room with a mosquito. Lesson learned: take care of the details.
- Win their loyalty with your service. We are definitely in a service industry. If our systems or our people do not perform, disasters happen. Going out of the way to deliver high quality pro-active service is always appreciated and never forgotten.
So now, in front of me in the center of my desk, I put a sticky tab with the words Just Do It.
Shaun Castillo, President, Preferred Technologies, LLC
- Know your job. I don’t believe a leader must know everything or have every answer; however, I do believe a leader must be competent and must never stop learning. People under your leadership respect and respond to your ability to coach, teach and mentor. You cannot coach, teach and mentor without knowledge, both theoretic and practical. Do the work required to learn.
- Love those you lead. When you love or deeply care for someone, you see them at their best. You propel people into what they can be. You sacrifice for their gain. When people feel genuine love, they respond with overwhelming energy and unbelievable productivity.
- Be vulnerable. True, secure relationship does not happen without vulnerability. Being vulnerable is hard, though, and not many will initiate a vulnerable conversation. The leader must courageously do so. Over time, the team will learn to know one another’s hearts. Each member will operate at their best in freedom, security, and mercy.
We in the PSA Leadership Committee come from diverse backgrounds and have learned to lead in our own ways through our experiences and from the experiences of the leaders who have guided us. It is our hope that the perspective and lessons shared here may help to guide you as well.