Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Leadership is an Art – 2

A friend reminded me of the following, “Tom, there comes a time in everyone’s life when you become the one who gets to tell the history.”  With aging comes responsibility to pass to the next generation the stories that represent the values of the community.

Here are some additional thoughts on communication from Max DePree is his great leadership book, “Leadership is an Art.”

“Every family, every college, every corporation, every institution needs tribal storytellers.  The penalty for failing to listen is to lose one’s history, one’s historical context, one’s binding values.  …without the continuity brought by custom, any group of people will begin to forget who they are.

“We intend to make a contribution to society.  We wish to make that contribution through the products and services we offer, and through the manner in which we offer them.  In an era of high technology we wish to be a “high-touch” company that makes the environmental connection between persons and technology in the markets we choose to serve.  We intend to be socially responsible and responsive…

“Good communication is not simply sending and receiving.  Nor is good communication simply a mechanical exchange of data.  No matter how good the communication, if no one listens all is lost.  The best communication forces you to listen.

“The right to know is basic.  Moreover, it is better to err on the side of sharing too much information than risk leaving someone in the dark.  Information is power, but it is pointless power if hoarded.  Power must be shared for an organization or a relationship to work.

“Plato said that a society cultivates whatever is honored there.  Let us make no mistake about what we honor.

“An increasingly large part that communication plays in expanding cultures is to pass along values to new members and reaffirm those values to old hands.”

How’s your storytelling?  How’s your communication skill?  Are you intentional about the stories you tell that will reinforce key principles and values that you wish to pass to the next generation?  Are you self-aware when talking to others you are influencing about the principles and values you are communicating?

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