Archive for the ‘Leadership Tip of the Day’ Category

All posts in Leadership Tip of the Day category.

Mid-Session Leadership Tip

June 26, 2017 | 2:30 am

Look Up, Lean into it, and Keep the Form.


The Summer I turned 22, I interned for the North Dakota Extension Service working mainly with ND 4-H Camps in Washburn, ND. My primary responsibility as an intern was to assess and offer sustainable alternatives to how the property was being managed. To do so required me to immerse myself at camp.

An interesting fact about Washburn, ND is that it is home to one of the last high dive boards in the state. Once or twice per week, the whole camp would travel to this pool for an afternoon of fun. My first time that summer, as I walked onto the pool deck, I saw children performing back-flips and other acrobatics off the high dive. I immediately knew my challenge for the day: Learn how and execute a back-flip from that height.

I made my way to the diving side of the pool and asked a young swimmer named Jake what it takes to back-flip off the big board. He replied nonchalantly: “Oh! That? You just back-flip!” I was amused with the lack of instruction, so I helped him to break it down.

Me: “Jake, what’s the very first thing you do when on the board and about to back-flip?”

Jake: “Look up.”

Me: “Okay, once I’m looking up, what comes next?”

Jake: “Lean back.”

Me: “Good, what’s the last part?”

Jake: “Keep going.”

Me: “Is that all?”

Jake: “Yes!”


I made my way nervously to the board, looked up, leaned back, and promptly freaked out once I was mid-air, resulting in a backward belly-flop. It was painful, and when I exited the pool, Jake was there saying: “You didn’t keep going! You have to keep going or else it’s always like that!” After two more tries, I finally did it! I back-flipped off of the high dive!


As I start my 6th summer with NSLC, I believe that those words still apply to my life and apply to you as well. Look up, lean into it, and keep going. Look up to the new opportunities that you have through the field trips, academics, relationships, and leadership series that are along this path. Take advantage and lean into each of those areas when you are there. Be as present as possible so that you can fully experience each opportunity, and keep going. Some of you will be learning and leading together for the first time away from home, the first time on a plane, or perhaps you are a seasoned travel veteran. In all cases, we come to these 8 days with something to offer and something to learn. I’m excited to work with all of you.


Look up, lean into it, and keep going.


In leadership,

Bill Johnson

On Truth, Pain, and Personal Growth

June 23, 2014 | 9:00 am

Most people want to grow, but the price of growth is pain.

— Dan B. Allender, Leading with a Limp

Why is personal growth perceived by so many to be painful?  I think the answer to that question applies to so many areas of life.  As a sports coach for over 15 years I had opportunity to watch many people struggle with implementing my suggestions for improvement outside of practice.  Most stopped or came up short because of the pain it took to begin.

Getting started on any new skill or endeavor requires a lot of work in the form of creating new habits.  Habits have an amazing power on our lives.  The challenge for all leaders lies in changing the habits that do not support them in living their visions.  That kind of self-work can be painful because it requires us to be truthful.  But like so many other athletes will tell you, the reward was totally worth the pain.

-Mike Walsh, NSLC Leadership Facilitator

Be a better person, be a better leader

June 19, 2014 | 9:00 am

It’s not about trying to find something to help you be a more effective leader. It’s about trying to be a better person. The other will follow. — James A. Autry, Practicing Servant Leadership


I was working with a group of business leaders recently on effective communication. More specifically we were having a conversation on the benefits of active listening and dialogue. During the conversation, the usual question came up. “Mike, what do I do if the other person won’t dialogue?” Then came, “How do I make them listen to me and accept my ideas?”

The answer is you don’t. Leadership is not about tricks to manipulate. There are some skills in leadership that you can absolutely do that if you choose. First you should ask yourself if that is the type of person you truly choose to be. I would instead argue that maybe you should just start with being genuinely interested in being a better person. Maybe if you spend more time listening to others and are genuinely open to their opinions, maybe, just maybe they will be more open to yours. Besides it’s a full time job being a better person.

-Mike Walsh, NSLC Leadership Facilitator

Leadership is influence, not position

June 16, 2014 | 10:54 pm

“Leadership isn’t a position, it’s a process.”- John Maxwell

It seems to me that a lot of people are confused about leadership. I was having dinner with a very good friend when the subject of leadership came up. She asked me what was the most important aspect of leadership that I wanted my students to understand. I told her that I want everyone, not just students to understand that leadership starts the moment that you have influence with another person.

I believe that most people incorrectly assume that you have to be elected or chosen to be a leader. There is also an incorrect assumption that you have to be a very loud extrovert to be a leader. Leadership is about influence, not position. Great leaders are great because people willingly choose to follow them. So start by being you and noticing how many people volunteer to follow you. A volunteer army is the sign of a great leader.

– Mike Walsh, NSLC Leadership Facilitator

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 06, 2014 | 4:07 pm

Welcome to the NSLC at Yale University!