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The Fruits of True Leadership

By Joey Havens

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I guess this weekend at hunting camp has turned into a short three-blog series as this blog also comes from memories of that weekend with my son Brandon and grandsons Davis and Sully. In this season of life, I can’t share enough how important it is that we make time and be intentional making memories with our family, friends and team members. Being busy can rob us of the greatest joys in life. I am more grateful every day for each memory and this one is no different.

Davis is a teenager who is discovering more about himself and it may surprise you — he doesn’t always make the best choices. He is a great grandson and has avoided real trouble and bad friends, so Pops is plenty proud. He might have an issue with work ethic, grades at times, spilling drinks on airplanes (ha!) and being organized. But he would own all of these so Pops is not sharing what he wouldn’t admit to us.

Surprisingly, he has been showing some proactive behavior in helping out when he is at camp. As we drove in Friday, he jumped out and started unloading some of the supplies. Now, he didn’t make the second or third trip up the stairs as he headed over to our friend’s cabin to see what they were up to. But, progress! So on Saturday, I gave him a list of things that were his responsibility. Blow off the carport below the cabin. Take out the garbage, empty the two garbage cans below, haul everything to the dumpster and put fresh bags in the big garbage cans below the cabin.

This is what I got: He blew off the carport and left the blower and extension cord all laying out rather than back in the storage room where he got them. He grabbed the full bags in the garbage cans under the cabin, loaded them in the side-by-side and dumped them in the dumpster. He did not bring down the big bag of garbage in the kitchen as he said it looked like we might want to put some more in it. (It was literally spilling out of the container.) And, of course, no new bags were placed in the garbage cans below. Anyone else get this from their teenagers?

Pops had a candid discussion with Davis on expectations which was not received as well as I had expected. Davis is usually really good about receiving feedback and owning it when he blows it. So this time, I had to remind him, being at the cabin was a privilege, not a right.

So this blog is not about raising teenagers, as you can see, I have mostly mistakes to share. It is about the fruits of leadership. Leadership is a privilege and each of us leads at different times and in different settings, some may even achieve significant leadership roles in our organizations. It is always a privilege we must earn by serving those we lead, helping others be better and putting our interest secondary.

Leadership has lots of fruits that come from fulfilling our roles and responsibilities as leaders. Our question today is are we simply picking the fruits we like or that are easy to do or are we striving to truly fulfill our role even with the things we might not like doing?

Davis’s behavior lays out beautifully what I know I am guilty of too many times. Gravitating to the leadership things I want to do and avoiding the tasks that I don’t like. To reach our full potential as leaders, we must develop the discipline to do the hard things, too — put things back in order, put the fresh bags out and deal with the garbage that always seems to be overflowing. Have we been skipping out on our leadership responsibilities and picking only the fruit we like?

Davis, did you get that blower put up and the new bags in the cans? I’m going to Pops… in just a minute.

Coming in 2023, my new book Leading with Significance breaks through the limiting barriers of common culture theory and demonstrates, with great transparency, the real human emotions that elevate a culture to one that is genuine, enduring and magnetic.  Sign up today for updates at

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