Leadership Lessons: Paying it Forward
At a recent Advancement brown bag luncheon, Archie Griffin, president and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association, shared his views on leadership, and the people who helped him become an extraordinary leader, both on and off the field. Below are some of the insights Griffin shared.
The most important thing a leader can do is care about people. Coach Woody Hayes taught Griffin that, while you can never pay back the good things someone has done, you can always pay it forward. Griffin said Hayes helped the team live this point by creating opportunities to give back to the community, such as visiting patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and talking with high school students about attending college. These events were about helping others – Hayes kept them quiet rather than attracting attention from the media and general public.
Don't forget the three D's of leadership. Griffin's junior high school counselor, Oscar Gill, taught him the three D’s of leadership – Desire, Dedication, and Determination – to help him remain committed to doing his best. Griffin added Diversity to the list as a reminder to seek out those with different experiences and contributions.
For years, Griffin has carried with him these Ten Commandments of Leadership (author unknown):
- People are illogical, unreasonable and self centered. Love and trust them anyway.
- If you do well, people will accuse you of selfish and ulterior motives. Do well anyway.
- If you are successful, you will win some false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
- The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do well anyway.
- Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
- The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest ideas. Think big anyway.
- People favor underdogs but follow top dogs. Fight for the few underdogs anyway.
- What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
- People really need help, but may attack you if you do help. Help people anyway.
- Give the world the best you have and you may get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.