For leadership to live beyond one person, it must be about empowering others and bringing up the next generation, pastor and author Andy Stanley said.
Stanley was one of nine speakers at Friday’s Leadercast, a one-day event broadcast live to 130,000 people in 750 locations around the world, including Tyler.
“Ultimately, the value of your leadership, the value of my leadership will be measured in terms of how much of it was given away,” Stanley said.
About 700 East Texans representing some 200 companies attended the Tyler area event at the CrossWalk Conference Center at Green Acres Baptist Church. They heard from religious leaders, business executives, writers and a former first lady about the topic of leadership and how to live beyond themselves.
The theme of the event was “Beyond You” and the goal was to communicate to attendees what it means to be a leader who gives to and invests in others.
DR. HENRY CLOUD
Author and psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud shared four principles of leadership. Cloud said leaders must first understand those they lead and make sure those people know they understand.
Second, a leader must have something beyond just work or themselves that motivates them because this can affect the culture of an organization.
“They need to feel what is in your heart about the big reason why you do what you do,” he said.
Leaders have to give up control and help people see what they can control. He told a story about former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy who joined the team after it lost 14 straight seasons. He spoke with those in the organization including the players about why they couldn’t win and received a variety of answers touching on poor facilities, the lack of a superstar and the weather.
But none of these things were in the players’ control, Cloud said. What Dungy did was show the players how what they had control of every day drove a result.
Finally, Cloud said those who follow a leader must feel that leader would do anything for them.
“You are going to ask your people to do stuff that it sounds great ’til you get into it and that’s where you’re going to have to literally suck it up … and show them that you are willing to jump out of a plane for a cause,” he said.
ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU
This year’s event featured a tribute of sorts to former South African President and anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela, who died on Dec. 5. A multimedia montage featured excerpts of Mandela speaking along with pictures. A separate tribute featured a man painting the face of Mandela as music played. Finally, Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke about leadership using Mandela’s life as an example.
Tutu said Mandela entered prison young and angry and came out more than 27 years later astonishingly accommodating.
“Those 27 years were absolutely crucial for him to evolve from that angry, relatively young person to the man who emerged from … prison displaying … no resentment, no spite,” Tutu said.
Mandela clearly understood what South Africa needed, and he deliberately charted a course of forgiveness and unity, Tutu said.
He “engaged in gigantic acts of symbolic reconciliation” such as inviting religious leaders from various faiths to events and having tea with the widows of former apartheid-era presidents.
Despite the power in his position, he was an incredibly humble man, Tutu said. He often frustrated his security detail by wanting to shake hands with everybody he could. He also always wanted to visit the kitchen at the end of a banquet to thank the staff.
Tutu said good leaders listen and consider the opinions of all. They are accountable. They have a vision for the future and they know when to retire.
In a pre-recorded interview with Leadercast Executive Director Jayson Teagle, former first lady Laura Bush spoke about leadership and her time in the White House.
Mrs. Bush said being in the White House with former President George W. Bush strengthened their marriage.
She said she worked hard to avoid advising Bush on matters while he was in office, and they enjoyed moments of normalcy, such as eating dinner together, working on jigsaw puzzles and watching sports on television.
She said those rituals of family life are important in times of crisis and high stress.
Bush was well-known for his early bed times, Mrs. Bush said, adding that “none of our state dinners lasted that long.”
She said when it comes to leadership, Bush’s example shows that it’s important “to have the principles and the ideals that you want to live up to and that you believe are important and try not to veer from those.”
Mrs. Bush said one of the most rewarding aspects of her time as first lady including using the platform that she had for good.
She became an advocate and champion for women in Afghanistan and launched the National Book Festival in partnership with the Library of Congress, an annual event that continues to this day.
She encouraged the next generation of leaders to treat people with respect and to be the example they want to set for those around them.
Other speakers included Laura Schroff, Malcolm Gladwell, Randall Wallace, Bill McDermott and Simon Sinek.
Tyler resident Fred Pate, 59, president of Summit Industrial Products, said one of the main points he took away from the event was “being more about someone else than yourself.” That other-centered living applies to all of life and is particularly helpful in the business world.
“I’ve discovered people that are kind and gracious to other people make your best customer-service people,” he said.
Diane Thomason, of Tyler, who is the development director at Bethesda Health Clinic, said the speaker lineup presented a good mix of practical information and inspiration.
She said one of the key messages that impressed her was from Ashley Kutach, training and development director at Core Insights in Tyler.
Ms. Kutach encouraged attendees to daily ask themselves, “What will I do today to lead beyond myself?”
“I think that was a really good takeaway because it’s something that you can do and potentially get in the habit of that and make a world of difference in how one relates to the people that you work with,” Ms. Thomason said.