CTLS: some golden wisdom from a good leader

I was a decent way into my work career before I experienced a good leader. Up until that time I had supervisors, bosses, company owners and some shitty leaders. And since then, I’ve had many more examples of the same, with a few shining examples of leadership brightening the way. Usually, they weren’t my leader, or the leader of the company I was working for or with – in fact I can say that I’ve seen some shockingly BAD leadership. I could explain how and why they were bad, but that’s not the purpose of this blog. I want to share some wisdom from that first good leader, because it is gold – which is the color of wisdom!

My first good leader was in the wine industry. I was very fortunate to work for Robert Mondavi. He wasn’t a perfect human being, or even a perfect leader, but he was a very good leader. A colleague recently shared Robert’s 15 Points, which I’d forgotten about, and I thought I’d pick a few to share this week, because they are wise and they inspire me:

  •  First and foremost, you must have faith in yourself.
  • Establish a goal just beyond what you think you can do.  When you achieve that, establish another and another.  This will teach you to embrace risk.
  • Be completely honest and open.  I never had secrets.  I would share my knowledge with others if they would share with me.  I always had confidence that there was enough room for all of us.
  • Generosity pays.  So learn to initiate giving.  What you give will enrich your life and come back to you many times over.
  • Only make promises and commitments you know you can keep.  A broken promise can damage your credibility and reputation beyond repair.
  • You must understand that you cannot change people.  You might be able to influence them a little, but you can’t change anyone but yourself.  So accept people the way they are.  Accept their differences and try to work with them as they are.  I learned this late in life and it is amazing what peace of mind i found when i finally understood it.
  • To live and work in harmony with others, don’t be judgmental.  Instead, cultivate tolerance, empathy and compassion.  And never berate people, especially your children, in front of their cohorts.  This can be dispiriting and damaging to them, and it’s counter-productive for you.  As I’ve learned, if you want to teach someone to fly, you don’t start by clipping his wings.
  • Out of all the rigidities and mistakes of my past, I’ve learned one final lesson, and I’d like to see it engraved on the desk of every business leader, teacher and parent in America: The greatest leaders don’t rule.  They inspire.

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love, and light in the shadows,


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