Leadership Lessons from Frances Hesselbein

You may have seen from my Twitter and Facebook posts that I had the special privilege of serving as a leadership mentor at the Hesselbein Global Leadership Academy Summit this past week. The summit brings together 50 of the world’s best and brightest college students.  The mission of the Academy is “to inspire, develop, and reward accomplished student leaders to meet the challenges of tomorrow.” The hope and vision is that these inspired leaders will then go out and address critical issues around the world.

The 50 students who attended the Academy were selected out of 500 applicants. They were a very special group. They formed close friendships and pledged to apply their new skills to make the world a better place.

The students also got to hear from Frances Hesselbein, whose name the Academy bears.  Hesselbein is President and CEO of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute and former CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. She is a truly inspirational leader.  Ms. Hesselbein speaks with a sincerity and genuineness that is uncommon in this day and age.  She made every member of the audience feel like she was speaking directly to him or her.

I want to share with you two of Ms. Hesselbein’s favorite phrases.  One is “To Serve is to Live.”  The other is “Leadership is about how to be, not how to do.” Both give you an idea of the values and priority of Hesselbein and her teachings. She believes that leaders must serve both those they lead and the communities in which they are engaged.  Only when we serve others do we truly live.  The second phrase is a reminder that leadership is first about character, values, and beliefs. It is about who we are and how we behave. To be truly effective leaders we must have great character, high integrity, and be inclusive and respectful of all people.

This week, try to remember these two phrases and give them life. Serve your team every day and make an effort to do something for the good of your community.  And remember that leadership is how to be, not how to do.  So be a good person–kind to others and respectful of all. Your team will be stronger and the world will be a better place. As leaders, we can change the world.  Let’s start today!

Thanks for reading,
Jim

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