The Greatest Lessons Learned in Your Leadership

March 26, 2018

In the March Round Table meetings, we discussed the Greatest Lessons Learned in Your Leadership. Join us for our upcoming Leadership Events where we will dive deeper into what it takes to be an effective leader. Featured speakers include Patrick Colbeck (Senator, State of Michigan) and Mary Jane Mapes (President, Aligned Leader Institute).

Click here to register today!

We hope you enjoyed the meetings this month! We look forward to seeing you again in April. Below are the notes from some of the chapter meetings:



  • Knowing where you’ve been is critical to know where you’re going
  • Staying alert and adapting to business cycles
  • Talent: recruiting, hiring and management
  • Partnering with others on the leadership team to reach mutual goals
  • Defending the corporate culture
  • Focusing on (RFTTM) the relatively few things that matter


  • Be all that you can be within your capacity. Don’t pretend to be more
  • Involve everyone who is effected by change
  • Treat every employee with the same respect you give to your customers
  • Policies should be the result of best practices, so be flexible and examine what works
  • Be humble and considerate. Employees are people too.


  • There can be joy in sacrifice (Christ was the example when He went joyfully to the cross)
  • Be humble and honest which will set the tone for the corporate culture
  • Leadership is the creator and defender (by example) of the corporate culture (good or bad)
  • Pray always for wisdom on how to meet the needs of others and manage the corporate objectives at the same time.


Do you recall one particular Lesson you learned?

  • Now you are the boss: no one is your friend.
  • Expect what you expect; but push only so hard.
  • When you lead with fear/intimidation, no one trusts you, leave you eventually.
  • Put the right person in the right job which will take the pressure off of leadership

Who influenced you in learning leadership and what did they teach you?

  • Mixed signals – unclear objectives/rules are road to failure.
  • You cannot just tell people what they want to hear; be transparent and truthful.
  • Leadership requires an ability to make decisions; and quickly.
  • Can get more done with a team than by yourself. Don’t let diplomacy get in the way of action.

Do you have an example of how you use a lesson learned in leadership?

  • Be organized yourself.
  • Adapt your leadership to various individual’s behavior style (DiSC model helps communication).
  • Most important: demonstrate integrity and worthy of trust.
  • I was once told “Just Google It”. Lesson is that I need to figure it out for myself to really learn.


  • Should use Servant Leadership – Model of Jesus Christ
  • Leaders too often look down on their followers
  • Process of developing leaders – watch, then try-get feedback, then lead alone, then get ownership
  • Leaders should 80% listen, 20% talk. Scale back on the “Salesmanship”
  • Listening requires patience with awkward silence—this is when the “Spirit” is moving inside a person
  • Culture tends to define and confine the ability of leadership to achieve breakthroughs
  • Relinquish control; build up followers strengths, skills, confidence, trust
  • “Sit in your rest” as a leader to let details go and others to step up and solve the problems
  • Breathe life into followers, inspire, lift them up, give hope and love
  • Your demeanor, style (outward presence) telegraphs the inward feelings and state of mind – cannot hide it
  • Accept that as a leader you must grow in your vulnerability and willingness to accept/change


What are the greatest lessons learned in your leadership?

  • We have 2 ears and 1 mouth: listen more.
  • Make your team feel heard
  • Ask yourself/team if you are need to listen or to help.
  • Create a void/silence and see what your team fills it with.
  • Learn to be flexible: “Blessed are the flexible for they will not get bent out of shape.”
  • Don’t avoid confrontation, but be gentle and humble when it is necessary.
  • Red lights in life are a time to pause, reflect, and grow.
  • “When you fall on your face, fall on faith.”
  • Having a plan is valuable, even if it is a dumb one.
  • Watching others teaches valuable leadership lessons.
  • Robert Frost: “The Road Less Traveled”
    • Consider your options, observe, then choose.
    • We can sometimes get too comfortable with things we’ve done many time for many years. Remember: You’ve never been here before. Each day, each situation is new and has its own nuances.


  • You will experience failure. Have the tenacity to “fail forward”
  • Help your team find their way and find solutions on their own.
  • Book: The Multiplier
    • “Accidental Diminishers” – You are an accidental diminisher if you are intending to help someone, but end up helping too much. This ultimately weakens the one you’re helping by not allowing them to learn and grow.
    • Management is similar to parenting. Being too caring can enable of bad behavior. So, just like parents, we must discipline our team members so that they continue to grow.
  • How do you properly instill ethics in your team?
    • Mentoring
    • Shadowing – allow young leaders to follow you and observe you in a variety of situations.
  • Leaders must be servant minded
  • What is “healthy” for leadership?
    • Must not only be a good leader at work but also in personal life and family
    • Leadership teams should have healthy home lives (1 Timothy 3)
  • What is Integrity?
    • Consistent ethics across your life – professionally and personally.
  • Bucket Analogy: buckets made with planks – if one plank is too low, the water will spill out – regardless of where the plank it is. In the same way, your whole life needs to be aligned whether it is at home or at the office.
  • Young, passionate leaders
    • Help young leaders to develop in all areas of life
    • Express how certain actions are damaging
    • Teach them how to lose with grace
  • Help Unhappy/Immature Employees receive development. We’ll help you get where you want to go – even if it’s not with the current position/employer.
  • There is grace in holding up the mirror for others to see themselves/their faults
  • Vision Casting
    • Casting a vision for the organization, team, individual – where do they want to go?
    • Chick-fil-a career page clearly lays out the vision of work experience in their company.
    • Consistency


Do you learn from success or from failure?

  • Both – Comes down to how we view failure. If we have a positive view on failure, we learn more.
  • Failures – trying to understand the impact on the people around us and how they respond.
  • Challenge + Adversity: there are no failures – it’s the journey.

Greatest Lesson Learned:

  • Observation – learning from watching others.
  • Who is the greatest teacher? You? The circumstance? Someone else? We have to take ownership in learning the lesson. It doesn’t do any good to simply have a nice thought.
    • Being the best teacher is being the best student.
  • You have to be receptive to learning when you have adversity put in front of you.
  • Other people and situations matter as well. You have to align yourself with them.
  • We have to be teachable, honest, and vulnerable.

What is success?

  • Can be a combination of three things:
    • Learning from others
    • Circumstance from the economy
    • Learning more about yourself in each decade of your life
  • Is it learning or applying what we’ve learned.
  • We haven’t learned until we’ve applied – Learn from doing.
  • Can’t prove what you know until you demonstrate.
  • Human nature: learning is the driving force – continually learning and making things better.
  • Lifelong learners – if you don’t take time to apply it what good is it?
  • Human Capacity to learn
  • Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.
  • We can learn something after that “aha” moment.
  • Not everyone wants to learn. You have to be more purposeful and intentional today to learn and not waste time on useless info/emails.
  • Experiential learning is key.

Greatest Life Lessons:

  • We tend to forget what we’ve learned if we don’t practice it
  1. You can learn from everyone
  2. You can always learn one thing each day
  3. Incorporate it – apply it to continue to grow.
  4. You can get caught up playing roles in a business and can lose sight of who you are/your values and judgement.
  5. Learning from a lifetime and loss.

Recent lesson learned in leadership in the last month?

  1. We don’t have all the answers – ask questions.
  2. We become what we think about.
  3. Learning to listen better and thinking deeper about what’s in between the lines and not proving my perspective.
  4. Real strength comes from knowing our strengths and finding others to compliment them.
    • One of my biggest strengths is one of my biggest weaknesses.
    • Renewing of your mind:
  1. Mental health – Right thinking leads to right doing.
    • Garbage in, garbage out.
    • Have conviction in everything.
    • If you’re influenced by anyone other than Him, you’ll more than likely fall short.
  2. Be real. Meet people where they are at.


Most of our lessons learned had to do with people management.  The upshot of “how to avoid making the same mistake again” boiled down to one thing.  In every event where we learned a hard lesson, we had not adequately prayed about the issue and trusted God to lead us.  Thus, the way to avoid the same mistake (and others) in the future is to remember to pray about all decisions and trust God.