Most people would agree with Betsy Bernard’s “Seven Golden Rules of Leadership.” They are simple and rational. But agreeing with and living up to the rules can be two different stories. Essentially, though, all of the rules boil down to communication.
Bernard, the keynote speaker in the spring Patricia Adams Lecture Series, knows from experience that mastering the rules is key for effective leadership. They served her well as she rose to the rank of president of telecommunications giant AT&T, where she was responsible for a workforce of more than 50,000.
“They’re very easy to agree with because we’re human. They’re hard to live up to because we’re human,” she said.
Rule No. 1: Everyone’s time is valuable
“Time is the stuff life is made of and people waste it every day.”
Rule No. 2: No temper tantrums
“If you master courtesy, you’re more than half way to being an effective leader.”
Rule No. 3: Get to the point
“Ask yourself, what’s my point? Would my dad understand? How do I want people’s understanding to change (as a result of our communication)? Communication needs to be focused and short.”
Rule No. 4: Be authentic
“If the message is ‘Everything is good and getting better,’ know that it just isn’t so. When happy talk is the only language spoken, you’ve got a problem.”
Rule No. 5: Remember to say thank you
”We in leadership need to remember we are not the whole show. Say thank you lots and lots and lots. Notice and acknowledge good work privately and publicly. … Expect great things then celebrate great things.”
Rule No. 6: Integrity is everything
“Leadership is about communicating values. Deeds trump words any day. You’ll never be more valuable than your word.”
Rule No. 7: If you don’t know, who does?
“This is the quintessential role of a leader. Nothing leads like certainty … certainty about what they heard, what they understand, what you meant, that you’re genuine and you’re consistent. If people hear a trumpet, they will prepare for battle. You have to rally them.”
All of the rules, Bernard reiterated, share the theme that effective communication lends itself to effective leadership. “If you are the leader, you are the message,’” she said. “It all depends upon how clear you make the message.”
In addition to her keynote address, Bernard was generous with her two days on campus, meeting with students in a variety of settings. She participated in panel discussions with students around the topics “Taking Advantage of Your College Experience,” “Thinking Strategically about Your Career” and “How to Run an Effective Meeting.”
In conjunction with the Patricia Adams Lecture Series event, the Heidelberg community came together to officially dedicate its new Media Communication Center and thank the donors who helped make the facility possible. Provost Dr. David Weininger described the MCC as a “partnership of learning that adds value to our academic enterprise.”
Weininger told the 150-plus people gathered for the dedication that Heidelberg is one of very few universities in the country with a commercial radio station operating from its campus. By partnering with WTTF, students have the opportunity to learn academic and experiential aspects of the communication business. University-operated stations WHEIF-FM and WHEI-TV are jointly housed in the newly renovated facility in Krieg Residence Hall.
The MCC is the vision of Trustees Doug Stephan, ’68, and honorary alumnus Tony Paradiso.
For Stephan, who has enjoyed a highly successful career in radio, the journey started at Heidelberg.
“I can’t believe I could’ve received a better education anywhere else,” said Stephan, host of the syndicated radio talk show “Good Day” whose on-air experience began when he interned at WTTF as a college student.
The new center, he said, is a great testament to the powers of the mind. “You can create from your mind anything you want to.”
The resulting MCC, he added, “is far more than I thought it would be.”
“It isn’t for just a small few. It is for all. I’m thankful that the students are learning to take this facility and use it how it’s intended.”
For Paradiso, a Tiffin native with an affinity for his hometown and for Heidelberg, the dedication was particularly satisfying. Recognizing that change can be difficult, Paradiso said that excitement grew as ideas began to take shape.
Now that the new facility is completed, he said the Tiffin and Seneca County communities – as well as the university – already are seeing the benefits. “It truly is locally owned and operated. WTTF is going to remain with the campus forever, and that’s very, very exciting.”
Representing students, senior Samantha Kinkopf said the new MCC “has changed how we broadcast.”
“There are endless opportunities for us students, and more students have been involved,” she said. On behalf of students, she expressed thanks to the donors who helped make the new facility a responsibility.