University chancellor addresses PCYP

Published 9:40 pm Thursday, March 25, 2010

Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. asked a group of young business professionals Thursday to define leadership.

Some spoke out: “Leadership is setting an example for others to follow,” said Brian Davis, a member of the Pike County Young Professionals.

Others in the Pike County Chamber of Commerce-sponsored group just pondered the answers to themselves, as the university chancellor challenged the group to come up with their own “distilled” definition of the term.

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For him, leadership is the “management of hope.”

“If you haven’t defined for yourselves what’s important to you, I urge you to,” Hawkins said. “You need to know why you do what you do.”

To break down leadership, Hawkins used the word itself “L.E.A.D.”

“Lead from the front. You can’t stand from a hill and direct,” he told the young leaders. “When you’re dealing with people, you’ve got to lead from the front and lead with conviction.”

An “E” in leadership Hawkins said stands for enthusiasm.

The “A” Hawkins said stands for attitude and appreciation.

“Ninety percent of people in the country don’t lose their job because they can’t do their job. They lose it because of attitude,” he said.

Hawkins said attitude is often conveyed by the way a person dresses.

“If you look like a clown, you will be treated like a clown,” he said, referencing the popular American Idol song, “Pants on the Ground.”

“You don’t have to dress above everyone, but you shouldn’t dress below everyone else. You can’t get from here to there by dressing down.”

Appreciation for those under your leadership is another key part to being a good leader, Hawkins told the PCYP group.

“It’s an easy thing to do but an easy thing to forget to those people who do so much for your organization,” he said.

And finally, the “D” he said is for direction, one of the key components to reaching leadership roles.

“What is your vision for yourself? What is your vision for your organization?” Hawkins challenged the group to consider.

“The greatest limitation or opportunity we have is in our vision. If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you never will,” he said.

Pike County Chamber of Commerce President Jenniffer Barner said Hawkins’ speech was a prime example of what the chamber hopes to accomplish in hosting these leadership luncheons.

“The March PCYP luncheon with Dr. Hawkins is a shining example of what PCYP is.

“Dr. Hawkins talked about what a leader is and gave the members examples of what they should do to position themselves as leaders in their careers and their lives,” Barner said. “Dr. Hawkins is great model for leadership. We appreciate his time today.”

Group member and Troy City Councilman Jason Reeves said the leadership topic couldn’t have been addressed by a better man.

“It’s amazing to see the way my hometown has transformed since you came,” Reeves said to Hawkins in front of the group.