EntreLeader Spotlight: Lee Wilhite

This executive vice president sees his career as more than a J-O-B

from daveramsey.com on 19 Oct 2012
 

EntreLeadership is not just a theory. Thousands of business owners and leaders are using Dave’s principles every day to take their companies and team members to heights they never imagined. In the EntreLeadership Spotlight series, we’ll be highlighting some of these great leaders and learning about their dreams, motivation and secrets to success.

What I Do

As Executive Vice President of Creative, Digital, Marketing and Media, I am privileged to help lead a team of tremendously talented people at Masterworks. We’re a marketing and development agency serving Christian ministries throughout the United States. It’s very fulfilling to know that every day our team is helping ministries reach people suffering from addiction, hunger, disease, abuse, homelessness or imprisonment, and we can impact their life with the hope and healing found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is more than a J-O-B—it’s a ministry.

A Characteristic Every Leader Should Possess

Humility is the foundation of servant leadership. You have to be comfortable not knowing the answers to everything, which, in turn, provides a natural environment for others to become part of the solution. Everyone pulls together, and everyone owns the outcome. Practically speaking, it makes you much more approachable and enjoyable to be around. No one likes to work with an egomaniac at any level.

On Fighting the Tough Times

Take a day out of the office with your team and, if possible, an outside facilitator to brainstorm solutions and develop a plan to move forward. The plan should have objectives, assignments and deadlines. You can’t afford not to do it. By going off site, it will set a different tone to the meeting and emphasize the importance you’re placing on its expected outcome.

My Mentor

As a pastor, my dad demonstrated to me genuine love, care and concern for people, which I’ve tried to exemplify both in and outside of work. Amidst the work pressures and deadlines, you can never invest enough in your team. If they know you care for them, they’ll “charge the hill” for you every day.

My Best Leadership Advice

These three things come to mind:

  1. Take time to meet with each team member to show a personal interest in them beyond their professional role and responsibilities.
  2. Ask a lot of questions and listen. They’ll feel valued and appreciated, and you’ll get to know them better.
  3. Always act purposely and decisively.

My Biggest Takeaway From EntreLeadership Master Series

Take the time you need to make sure you don’t hire “crazy” in your workplace. Crazy may look like the best candidate—smart, experienced, credentialed—but it’s more important to get the right candidate—one who is passionate about your business with a contagious, positive attitude. Anyone who’s hired crazy knows how painful and costly it is to extract them from the company.

I'm Passionate About ...

Spending time with my beautiful wife and three children, ministering and serving at our church, and kayaking and backpacking in the great Pacific Northwest. I’m the adventure planner in our family, so it’s always fun to dream and map out our next road trip. We’re headed to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in 2013.

How to Beat the Competition

Dave Ramsey once said that “leaders are readers,” and it has always stuck with me. It’s been a challenge for me given the demands of work and family, but I’ve become more disciplined to read recommended books and blogs that directly apply to our business. It not only keeps me in touch with the changing times we’re facing, but it also equips me with a confidence and understanding to help lead our team forward.

If I Knew Then …

I’d be more deliberate in communicating and clarifying expectations to our team. When I reflect back on people-management issues or company-wide challenges, it’s often a result of inadequate communication or misunderstood expectations. I penned a phrase at the Master Series event that hits squarely on this issue: to be unclear is to be unkind. When you recognize that people are your greatest asset, it places even more responsibility on you as a leader to communicate clearly, openly and effectively.

To learn more about business, team building and leadership, download our EntreLeadership Podcasts, which include lessons from Dave, plus interviews with key business leaders from across the nation.

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