I consider myself a student to the subject of leadership and enjoy speaking in any capacity about it. What does it really mean, how impactful can it truly be, how does one become such a person, and what does this subject mean to others? I’m always seeking to improve my abilities and hopefully inspire others to challenge themselves and continue growing as well. I believe leadership is much more than the personality traits of a firm handshake, looking people in the eye while listening, acknowledging their name, saying thank you often, and so on. It goes far beyond personifying how you believe a leader should act, speak, or coach. These are the first steps on your way of becoming a good leader, by having good manners. Challenging ourselves to push beyond these outward traits, and shifting our focus to the core of what truly matters is the pathway to real and effective leadership. Leadership is more about a person’s Character than it is their Personality. There are countless books on the topic for what it means to be a Leader, the five levels of them, how leadership differs from management, and more. Throughout my studies, I’ve recognized common themes in some of the most effective and influential leaders the world has known. Beyond having the humility to acknowledge our own weaknesses, beyond having a clear vision of what is necessary to achieve success, and even beyond having the charisma that will motivate others, I wholly believe there are two fundamental behaviors we all must live by to become the type of leader, father, or friend others would boldly follow into war. And whether this leader is your boss, sergeant, mother, son, or anyone else you admire and respect, their ability to inspire you and to entrust them with your safety can be summarized with two very simple actions these leaders breathe, that take a life to master.

  1. Treat people like people.
  2. Mean it!

1. Treat everyone like the people they are. Never lose sight of this. Each of us is a son, daughter, father, mother, employee, boss or any number of different roles when we are at work or at home. We all have unique hopes, dreams, cares and fears, and we all do something as a means to an end with the desire of reaching some level of fulfillment when our days are done. In our work life, when you have people on your team who are passionate about their work and you treat them as the good people they are, grant them the authority and ability to be creative with what motivates them, and inspire them toward continuous improvement, what you have built is a regenerating win-win-win relationship that will forever fuel itself

2. And the most challenging part of this is to not simply treat people like the people they are… it is to be deeply sincere with all your thoughts and actions, and to mean it! It is one thing to personify the traits of a leader in any number of ways we may be taught, but when you are the least bit insincere in your effort's, there is no amount of flattery of preferred personality traits you can use that will truly win-back the trust of the people you share these relationships with. You must honestly mean what you say, truly care for and care about the people that you are responsible for. Here’s the difficult part of this message… If you don't do this or are incapable of doing this, you should not be a manager or have the authority to lead others.

Working as a construction manager on some of NYC’s more notable bridge rehabilitation projects for nearly 20 years, I aspire to continue improving and often reflect on past mistakes. Always thinking of new ways to grow and build the trust of those I work with on these projects, there’s a credo I believe is a succinct synopsis of all that I’ve studied on the subject. For me, this embodies what it means to truly be, and defines the path to becoming the type of leader others will boldly follow. No matter how good we think we're doing, know that there is always room for improvement and strive to do just that. This principle is a simple reminder for what is possible, and I hope this serves you well on your journey.

Remain involved. Be sincere. Give a damn.


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