123: Leaders with Heart are Co-Owners of a Vision with Those They Lead

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Craig Miller, President of FOCUS or Fellowship of Catholic University Students, about his leadership style, where his drive to lead comes from, his focus on minimizing his ego and much more!

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t focus on serving yourself but serving others.
  • Decide whether or not you are claiming positions out of ego.
  • Bring people along with you by spending time with them, and help them see their role in a vision.
  • Search for those who have an ownership mentality and not a hireling mentality.
  • Try to harness a common mission.

Craig Miller is the president of FOCUS. 

In 2003, after a career in Silicon Valley that included leading sales and cooperative marketing for Cisco’s global accounts, Craig accepted Curtis’ invitation to help manage the operational needs created by FOCUS’ growth. Since then, Craig has overseen all aspects of operations, administration, development, and finance as FOCUS continues to grow and develop on more than 100 campuses today.

He lives in Genesee, Colorado with his wife, Melissa, and four of their six children.

Student of Leadership

I’m a student who is always in a mode of learning. I think one of my greatest fears is to watch things in your life happen to other people. I think it will only happen if you let it, like thinking that you have arrived and stopped at being a student of leadership. There’s just so much to learn.

I am blessed with working with a lot of young people in the work that I do. There’s so much to learn there, and hopefully the journey continues. I am always a willing participant, and I will take up as much as I’m allowed to.

Get a drive from a more pure place. – Craig Miller #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Building People

A lot of people who work on missions have personal goals that align really well. With these people, it’s more like brothers and sisters in a band together for a common purpose. It changes the way you perceive your staff and how you manage them.

But I struggled with why it isn’t good enough in itself. Why is having people with a great passion or temperament for the type of work they’re going to do not good enough? Why can’t we just let it work there? If things aren’t really working out for them, or they’re not really thriving in the selected work, why don’t we just leave them alone?

You owe it to your people to challenge them to be the best in what they’re doing and to give them a sense of pride, being, success and achievement towards the things they believe in. Nobody wants to flounder. Nobody wants to be left somewhere where 10 years later, they look back and say, “I’m not sure. What did I do? I didn’t make a difference, and I don’t feel like I learned a lot. Nobody ever challenged me.”

Find that place within a very loving, not for profit environment or find that place where you’re calling people to whatever God has gifted them with—talent, virtues, experiences—and help them plug those in so they have full meaning to them.

If I have a particular vision, I know how to get there, and other people want to come along, that feels like a full invitation for leadership. – Craig Miller #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet I found my voice strongest when something is wrong and unfair in areas of justice. – Craig Miller #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Owning the Vision

I think it’s always good to be patient, sit back, spend time with people, and bring them to your vision that’s driving your passion. Take the time to communicate it, let them have the drive and then move forward with them.

It’s so important to not put yourself in a relational position with others while you’re heading on a common mission together, or whatever that might be. I think it’s very important to create a separation, in a sense that it’s your vision. You are the owner, and they support, or they are the laborers in this vision. 

I once heard a great talk on an owner mentality versus a hireling mentality. If you want to establish a group of hirelings, they have a mercenary mindset. So, they’ll do what you ask them to do.

It’s better to build owners. You could give them things to own and really allow ownership mentality and energy to come alive in them. Then bring that ownership in their hearts, all into a common mission. With that, you’re in a much better place.

You have to change the way you think about everything. – Craig Miller #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetYou owe it to your people to challenge them to be the best in what they're doing. – Craig Miller #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

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