3 lessons: Eyes Wide Open

Lou DiGioia, CAE, sees the good, the bad, and the impact of his decisions.

Lou DiGioia, CAE
Executive Director
Alexandria, Virginia

Don't ignore the negative.

While it's important to focus on the positive, it's equally important to address any negative situations head-on rather than hoping they will just go away. Ignoring the poor performance of a team member or a project sends the message that you are either ignorant of or apathetic to the impact it has throughout your organization. Being a leader means addressing negative situations, no matter how difficult that may be for you on a personal level.

Always treat others the way you want to be treated.

I have to admit that I laughed when a mentor said that "Don't forget the golden rule" was the most important piece of advice he could ever give me. Over the years, I've learned the tremendous value of always considering the impact a decision will have on others before I make it, explaining my decision to those involved, and taking steps to mitigate the negative ramifications to others, as much as possible.

Focus on the positive.

My initial tendency at board and staff meetings was to spend all the time tackling the problems or issues at hand. This was especially true when I had limited time with volunteers and felt I needed to best utilize every second of the meeting. But I've learned that it's just as important to invest time in recognizing group and individual successes to energize and motivate everyone around the table.