Volume 2, Issue 3

March 2013

Blue Ridge Conference


Building Leaders through Connections

The importance of people in our lives simply cannot be overstated.  On a recent visit to my hometown of Augusta, Georgia, I had the opportunity to reconnect with a number of friends from my school days and visit with some cousins and other family members.  On the drive home, I thought how much they mean to me and how they have influenced my life.

This prompted me to think how successful leaders value all people – those from their past, present, or ones to be met in the future.  Every person we know can have an impact on our lives and the way we think.  Some may give us positive models of how to lead; while others may provide a model of how not to lead.  So in a sense, everyone we meet whether in the workplace or not can help us develop as leaders and as people.  All we have to do is look around, observe people, strive to value their contributions, and help them use their talents in the most productive way. 

In our current world economic situation, we often see a lack of trust and respect from employees and employers.  We have observed many firms downsize, causing long-term employees to search for work while suffering financial loss.  A major leadership challenge facing us as we work to come out of this recession, is learning how to rebuild the trust between employees and employers in a way that is mutually beneficial. To face this challenge, think of people and keep things simple.  Treat others as you would like to be treated.  Show respect to others and they will respect you.  Remember the Golden Rule!  Leadership, really, is not difficult. 

As Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, says “Every person passing through this life will unknowingly leave something and take something away. Most of this something cannot be seen or heard or numbered or scientifically detected or counted. It’s what we leave in the minds of other people and what they leave in ours. Memory. The census doesn’t count it. Nothing counts without it.”

The Blue Ridge Conference on Leadership is an experience where each of us can leave something behind and also take something away!

John Jahera

Colonial Bank Professor, Auburn University





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