Earlier this year, while I was home in Chattanooga, Tennessee, I played golf with one of my favorite mentors, my friend, Dr. Bob Cutrer. Many of us simply call him “Doc.”

Every time I go home, Doc and I always find time on a Sunday afternoon to play nine holes at Brainerd Golf Course which I consider my “home” course. It’s a great time for Doc and me to catch up and talk about all sorts of things. On this very windy day (I apologize for the sound quality up front), while we waited on the 9th tee box, I asked Doc what he thought about leadership. Here are his thoughts. I hope Doc’s thoughts can give you some things to think about when it comes to your leadership.

  • Leadership is positional AND personal – Yes, leaders out there are leaders because that is their assigned position. AND, leadership is personal, it’s what you bring as a leader, what you have to offer, your strengths, time, and talents.
  • Leaders can learn from Lao Tzu – One of Doc’s favorite lessons on leadership came from Lao Tzu: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: We did it ourselves.”
  • Leadership fosters the environment needed for people to succeed – Effective leaders create an environment where people can learn, grow and feel comfortable bringing up ideas. Leaders give the freedom for people to do what they do well. Leaders give support and allow people to do what they do best. That is much better than being dictatorial, saying “You do this, and you do this.”

It is always great to spend time with your mentors and get their advice. One thing I personally learned from the years I have known Doc: You can be a leader in any endeavor. Doc has had several careers and life experiences. He played college athletics, he was an officer in the navy, he was head of a wellness group at a hospital, and he has taught health and physical education to hundreds of children and adolescents for decades. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you do, you can be a leader anywhere. [tweet this] You don’t necessarily have to be assigned the “leader” position, but you can act like one, and be one, no matter what job or industry you are in.

What pieces of leadership advice have you gotten from your mentors? Would you mind sharing them? 

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