50 Powerful Leadership Lessons from Authentic Leaders

I recently attended the 2017 Global Leadership Summit put on by Bill Hybels and his Willow Creek organization. It was an amazing leadership training event that was attended by over 400,000 people through a global simulcast!

The speakers were amazing and the entertainment between speakers was world class.

What follows are the top one-line lessons from the two day event.

50 Leadership Lessons From the 2017 GLS

Bill Hybels

  1. Everyone wins when a leader gets better.
  2. We are where we are because someone believed in us and spoke into our lives. Look for ways to encourage other people every day.
  3. Performance of a disrespected worker drops by 50% until the issue is resolved. 25% pass this disrespect on to customers.
  4. Don’t just tolerate each other…..seek to understand each other!
  5. Leaders thrive on challenges.

Sheryl Sandberg

  1. Encourage young women to be leaders.
  2. Get peer support with a consistent group that meets at least every month.
  3. Resilience can be built like a muscle. Build resilience by learning from failure.
  4. Trauma helps you focus on priorities and what is important. Stop sweating the small stuff.

Marcus Lemonis

  1. Give a fat kid a chance….understand the stories of those around you and give them a chance!
  2. Be transparent and honest. Use this to connect with others and to connect others.

Fredrik Haren

  1. Only 45% of people think they are creative (results of a global survey).
  2. A leader’s job is to make their people creative.
  3. Teach creativity by doing creative things.
  4. Don’t laugh at ideas. Hear them out and collaborate to make them better.

Bryan Stevenson

  1. The opposite of poverty is justice!
  2. Effective leaders must be willing to do uncomfortable things.
  3. To drive positive change a leader must change the sustaining narratives that fuel how we think.

Andy Stanley

  1. Do an autopsy on your success. Learn what made you successful.
  2. Build a uniquely better
  3. Be a student and not a critic – open mind to new ideas with a learning mindset. When you start criticizing, you stop learning. When you stop learning, you stop leading.
  4. Your closed mind closes the minds of those around you!
  5. We must pay attention to the frontiers of our ignorance.
  6. Replace “How?” with “Wow!” – “How?” is a dream killer. – “Wow!” ideas to life.

Lazlo Bock

  1. Find, grow, and keep people – in that order.
  2. Give your work meaning. Build a powerful vision/mission that people can relate to and connect with.
  3. Trust your people. Be transparent and open.

Juliet Funt

  1. $1 million of waste per year per 50 people for a standard knowledge based business due to distractions and overload.
  2. Create whitespace into your life. Whitespace is a strategic pause taken between activities.
  3. Beware of the lollipop of mediocrity. You lick it once and you suck forever!

Marcus Buckingham

  1. Success is not the opposite of failure. Don’t study failure to get better. Study excellence!
  2. All performance assessments systems are bogus and do more harm than good.
  3. According to detailed scientific studies, only 17% of your score on a performance assessment is actually based on your performance. Over 60% of a rating reflects the rater’s performance not the ratee’s performance.
  4. People want attention, not feedback. Schedule weekly strength based check-ins with your direct reports to discuss near term and future work. Ask your direct report:
    • What are your priorities?
    • How can I help?

Sam Adeyemi

  1. In leadership, you don’t attract who you want, you attract who you are. Change who you are through personal development. As you change, your people will change with you!
  2. What people hear and see consistently over time, will enter their hearts and put their lives on autopilot.
  3. Reinvent yourself continuously. If you get stranded at one level, your leadership ability will die.
  4. Turn your organization into a leadership development factory!

Immaculee Ilibagiza

  1. When you think things are bad remember that they could be worse! Always look on the bright side!
  2. Life is a gift….how will you use your life? Do something great and make a difference!
  3. Love others. Always forgive (powerful statement coming from a Rwandan genocide survivor!)

Angela Duckworth

  1. Grit is sustained passion and perseverance for especially long-term goals. It is the hallmark of successful people.
  2. Grit can be developed.
  3. Cultivate purpose – discover your purpose and invest in it
  4. There is a proper time to quit but don’t quit on a bad day. Persevere. Have the mindset that you will always succeed.

Gary Haugen

  1. The one thing standing between you and fulfilling your purpose is fear
  2. Fear is the silent destroyer of dreams. Relentlessly inventory your own fears.
  3. Build your dream on the abundant hope of what might go right not what is going wrong.
  4. Forge a community of courage around you.
  5. Never stop fighting for your dream and lead without fear!

Take Action

Review some upcoming leadership training events, pick one, and register. Block your calendar and don’t let anything else take priority. Remember that when you stop learning, you stop leading. Be the leader your organization needs!

Finally, review these posts for more information:


Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” Thomas H. Huxley


How many training events do you get to in a year? Are you able to take anything away from these events ad apply to your business or leadership? Leave your comments below!

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