“Life is too short to be little.” — Benjamin Disraeli
nd The late Fred Rogers, speaking at his acceptance speech into theTelevision Hall of Fame,
gave a speech that I believe typifies what
leadership is truly about. Rogers says, “Fame is a four-letter word:
and like tape or zoom or face or pain or love, what ultimately matters
is what we do with it.
I feel that those of us in television are chosen to be servants. It
doesn’t matter what our particular job, we are chosen to help meet the
deeper needs of those who watch and listen — day and night!
The conductor of the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl grew up in a
family that had little interest in music, but he often tells people he
found his early inspiration from the fine musicians on television.”
Rogers’s perspective on what is truly important may seem like a
throw-back in time, but the message is timeless.
Rogers added, “Who in your life has been a servant to youÖwho has
helped you love the good that grows within you? No matter where they
are-either here or in heaven-imagine how pleased those people must be
to know that you thought of them right now. We all have only one life
to live on earth. And through television, we have the choice of
encouraging others to demean this life or to cherish it in creative,
As defined by John Maxwell, leadership is influence. Awith the
influence you have as a leader, you will add value to the lives of
others by your leadership style or it will be characterized by missed
opportunities. How you see yourself will determine the direction you
Italo Magni said, “If you’re talking with your head, you’re going to
speak to their heads. If you’re talking with your heart, you’re going
to reach their hearts. If you talk with your life, you’re going to
reach their lives.” So here is the question: on which level do you
want to lead? Discover these simple secrets and understand the most
effective way to lead.
When you lead with your head you can help. There is certainly an
advantage to leading from a position of knowledge. To be sure, it
lends credibility when you lead and speak with understanding and from
experience. But leading with your head can only take you so far.
Howard Hendricks said, “You can impress people at a distance, but you
can impact them only up close.” You can draw a person in with your
knowledge but if you want to keep them there and truly make a
difference there has to be more.
When you lead with your heart you can make a difference. When you lead
on this level you have taken a giant step in expanding your influence.
When you lead with your head you earn respect because of what you
know; but when you lead with your heart, you earn a following because
of who you are.
Malcolm Forbes said, “At the heart of any good business is a chief
executive officer with one.” Leading from the heart provides the
emotional intelligence that you need to integrate head knowledge into
a plan of action that can easily be embraced. Until you connect with
the heart you will never get to the life changing encounters that come
from leading with your life.
When you lead with your life you change the world. Leading with your
life is the most powerful form of leadership. This level of leadership
embodies all that you know, all of your passions, and unites them into
a life committed to adding value to others.
Fred Rogers also said, “If you could only sense how important you are
to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people
you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you
leave at every meeting with another person.” Stop and consider the
relationships you have and how your influence is making a difference.
When you lead with your life your influence has no limits. What will
be the measure of your leadership?
Doug Dickerson is a syndicated columnist. He writes a weekly column
for this newspaper. To contact Doug Dickerson, email him at