Four Skills That Make a Great Leader

by Judy Kay Mausolf

I would like to tell you a story about a woman who was a great leader. Her name is Ione Miller, and she just happens to be my mom.  Mom was a city girl who, at the age of 19, married a country boy (my dad Clem) and moved to a farm.  She raised seven kids, ran the household and was my dad’s best farmhand. And regardless of how busy she was, come hell or high water (one of her favorite sayings), she would make things happen.

Our little post office in St. Anthony was one of those things that mattered. Mom heard they were planning on closing the post office and instead of complaining, she acted. Told she would need a petition with 100 signatures, Mom drove from farm to farm until she had secured all 100 signatures.  She happily handed over the petition only to find out that it was no longer good enough. They had changed the rules and for the post office to stay open, every family that signed needed to come to the post office and sign again in front of state representatives.

They chose a day in the middle of harvest season with a tiny window of time from 10am to 2pm. Mom asked for extended hours explaining that farmers worked from sunup to sundown in the field during harvest season. They declined with the response: “If it is so important, they should just make time.” Mom reassured them that it was indeed important, and they would be there. Once again, she went from farm to farm to rally support.

The day arrived and mom waited anxiously with the representatives. Two hours passed and not one person had come to sign. But, one by one, the farmers began to trickle in. Most came right from their tractors in the field, still wearing stained and dirty overalls. They had enough signatures by 2pm to keep the post office open.

In this story my mom exemplifies four core competencies that helped her succeed: clarity, confidence, perseverance and passion!

  • Clarity was displayed by having a clear end goal of keeping the post office open.
  • Confidence in herself and her community was demonstrated when she stood up to the state representatives even when things weren’t looking favorable.
  • Perseverance was portrayed by her willingness to do whatever it took to make it happen even when it became discouraging and overwhelming.
  • Passion was what she presented with to her community to incite them enough to leave their work in the middle of the day.

Great leaders have clarity of who they are, the direction they want to go and the results they want to accomplish.  Great leaders are confident in their decisions and leadership.  Self-confident leaders also recognize the value of building self-confidence in others.  Great leaders have perseverance to do what needs to be done regardless of the difficulty.  They keep on keeping on.  They continue looking for ways to succeed when they hit a roadblock. Great leaders have passion for what they do in life and inspire others to follow. Passion is what ignites the heart and soul.

No matter how difficult, hectic, or crazy life gets…it’s always up to each one of us to decide how we will lead in our life. I challenge you to lead your life with clarity, confidence, perseverance and passion.

About the Author

Judy Kay Mausolf is a speaker, author and dental culture specialist with expertise in helping others get happier and more successful. She coaches dentists and their teams how to become better leaders, communicate effectively, work together better and deliver service with more focus and passion. She is past President of National Speakers Association (Minnesota Chapter), Director of Sponsoring Partners for the Speaking Consulting Network and a member of the National Speakers Association and Academy of Dental Management Consultants and recognized as a leader in consulting by Dentistry Today. She is author of three books; “TA-DAH”, “Delivering W.O.W. Service”, and “Rise & Shine!”, a contributing author for many dental magazines, and publishes a newsletter entitled “Show Your Shine”. Judy Kay lives in MN with her awesome husband Steve who makes her special coffee every morning!