By Mitch Cox

In the following paragraphs, I’d like to share some lessons learned since the founding of Mitch Cox Companies in 1979.

What is leadership?

I define leadership as simply the ability to get others to follow. However, leaders usually have a strong foundation of principles that results in effective skills and behavior patterns that encourage others to follow.

The book that changed my life

The wise king Solomon from the Bible recorded these principles in the book of Proverbs and author Steven Scott has taken these laws and written the book, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth, and Happiness — in modern-day language with modern day examples.

I truly believe that if you study this book and learn to live your life according to the laws and behavior spelled out in it, you will not only learn all the skills to become a great leader, but you will also become abundantly successful in business and in life.

One theme that I’ve seen in my life over and over again is the importance of taking the time to be diligent on the front-end. No shortcuts. This up-front diligence makes all the difference between great success and expensive failure. The back-end fix is much more costly and time-consuming than the front-end diligence.

6 keys to servant leadership

  • Create a culture of trust with respect, humility, and graciousness. Without the foundation of trust, you cannot build anything that will last.
  • Clearly define your vision. The vision fuels your drive. It motivates you and your team. It’s the target for which the team shoots.
  • Develop communication skills to convey the vision. Clarity is extremely important. If your vision is muddled, nobody will follow you.
  • Hire capable people with like-minded attitudes and character. You can teach skills. But the right character and attitude need to be there at the hire.
  • Listen to what they say. Input from each team member creates buy-in and ensures the success of the project. If team members don’t bring value, you have the wrong people.
  • Give them the credit, praise, and compensation they deserve. Help them grow as you grow.

Adapted from Mitch Cox’s lecture on leadership given on November 13, 2017 to students at East Tennessee State University.