Lessons in Leadership…
Last week I got some lessons in leadership. Not from a client, but from a chance meeting with the mayor of a small city in Indiana.
In town to teach an engineering class, I decided to stay at a Bed and Breakfast. A history buff, it was great fun to stay in a historic mansion built in 1859. That alone would have been enough, but the host was also an avid fan of history. And he was the mayor.
The mayor has now been in office five years. Like me, he has a background in small business. When elected, the city had their share of challenges. But thanks to his leadership, planning, and hard work, things are much improved.
Last year I was elected to an HOA (Home Owner’s Association) board. The community is aging and has numerous challenges. As such, I’ve been involved in politics at a very local level, calling on my business and consulting skills.
The two common area of interest — history and politics — led to some interesting discussions and sharing of ideas. The last night we stayed up to midnight. Kind of reminded me of my college days.
Here are some pearls of wisdom he shared. The first dealt with attitudes, and he coined a simple mantra:
- Leaders solve problems
- Leaders serve people
He even created a medallion that he passes out to his team and others to remind them of this underlying philosophy. He gave me one, which now occupies an honored place in my office.
He also shared a quote from St. Francis of Assisi:
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
As consultants, we are called to leadership — both advising leaders and providing our own leadership. I hope you find these simple lessons as inspiring and refreshing as I did.
P.S. If you are ever in or near Huntington, Indiana (20 miles from Fort Wayne) I heartily recommend the Purviance House. Brooks and Barb Fetters are gracious hosts. If you like history, you will love talking to Brooks. And you will surely enjoy Barb’s wonderful breakfasts!
I hope to make it back — next time with Mrs. JumpToConsulting.
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