This month we are featuring Instigator Mike Henry, Sr., founder of the Lead Change Group and vice president for a US based networking services company. His personal mission is to Elevate Purpose and Mobilize People. He’s passionate about helping people find their most elevated purpose and use that to propel them to create a better future.
Mike says he “majored in Fraternity” at the University of Memphis for four years until he decided he wanted out of college. He continues, “Then I buckled down for a year and a half and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. While I enjoy learning, I don’t see how you can learn anything in a classroom. Therefore, I don’t fit well in school, and haven’t been back for any formal training. Everything else I learned, from copying other folks or making my own mistakes.”
A leadership lesson Mike gained from his first job was the idea that people should find work they enjoy because making yourself do things you don’t like just isn’t worth it in the long run.
When asked about one of the best moments he has had professionally, Mike shared, “I enjoy it when someone else achieves something important to them. I’ve enjoyed seeing Lead Change folks make a difference in the world.”
On the topic of the most important qualities in leaders, Mike believes there are many important character traits. He continues, “The mix is what makes each of us unique. Character-based leaders are as unique as personalities. We each bring our who-we-are to each situation. In connection with this specific question, I’d say the first is the ability to take responsibility. You can’t lead anyone or anything unless you take responsibility. Empathy is very important as well, because, in the end every person is a volunteer.”
Mike thinks schools should teach individual responsibility as well as the importance of creating value. He elaborates, “We are each more powerful than we know, and if we take responsibility, we instantly become a leader who can make a difference. The difference we make is only important to the extent it is valued by someone else. As a leader, our impact is measured by the people who benefit, and appreciate the value of that difference.”
When asked about books he has found most helpful for his professional life, Mike said the first is The Bible. Secondly, he said Winning Well by Karin Hurt and David Dye occupies his mind these days.
When asked the most creative solution he’s ever seen to a problem in life or work, Mike replied, “I watch my son and daughter-in-law deal with their kids and I see a creative love every day. Each of their children seem to be so different than my son or daughter were. They apply creativity and love every day.”
If he had to hashtag his life, Mike’s would be: #instigator.
One of Mike’s favorite quotes comes from The Man in the Arena, a segment of Theodore Roosevelt’s Citizen in a Republic speech. The speech credits the people who tackle problems rather than analyzing them from afar: “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”
When asked “if money were no object, what would you do all day?” he responded, “I’d talk with Lead Change folks all day and play golf once or twice a week.”
The best advice he’s ever been given was, “When I was working for my Dad, one time he asked me why I wanted to be a jerk at work. I didn’t like my job or the people I was working with, and I was doing a poor job of hiding it. He suggested I consider the alternatives. I had a choice. I could be someone people enjoyed working with or I could remain a jerk. I controlled my own behavior and therefore influenced the outcome.”
Mike became involved in Lead Change when he clicked a button on LinkedIn to create a group. He then invited his LinkedIn contacts to join the group (note … check out The Character Based Leader which was one of the group’s products!). We are grateful that you clicked that button which led to such a thriving and dynamic group, Mike. Thank you!
Editor’s Note – You may ask, “How does one get chosen to be a featured Instigator?” The answer is simple. If you are already an Instigator, fill out this form and continue to engage with the Lead Change Group on a regular basis. If you are not yet an Instigator, sign up. There are many benefits to being an Instigator – email us if you want more information.
Previous Featured Leading Voices and Instigators:
6/2016: Mary Schaefer
5/2016: Kevin Eikenberry
4/2016: Chip Bell
3/2016: Eunice Parisi-Carew
2/2016: Chris Edmonds
1/2016: Marcella Bremer
12/2015: John Stoker
11/2015: Sean Glaze