Love And Leadership – An Interview With Author Lisa Shumate

I have the great pleasure of introducing you to a fellow author today. This author is Lisa Shumate.

Lisa is the general manager of Houston Public Media, Associate Vice President at the University of Houston, and also Executive Director of the Houston Public Media Foundation.  Houston Public Media is comprised of News 887 (NPR), TV8 (PBS) and houstonpublicmedia.org. She recently released her latest book, Always and Never 20 Truths to a Happy Heart. I’m happy to have her on the blog discussing leadership, love, and more.

At the end of the interview, I share how you can win a copy of Always and Never: 20 Truths to a Happy Heart. I hope you enjoy what Lisa shared and pick up a copy of her book!

Love And Leadership – An Interview With Author Lisa Shumate

1. Before we dig into the meaty questions, you recently released a book, Always And Never: 20 Truths For A Happy Heart. Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

I’m the mother of two grown children and as they were headed into their twenties I wanted to write some advice to them that would guide them for the rest of their lives. You spend so many years getting your kids to that point, time flies by, and you wonder, are they ready? How can I send them off into the world with encouragement, inspiration and the fundamental wisdom you hope you taught them over the years, but many often forget?

I started with a blank journal and wrote words that matter, words that everyone can relate to, words that are central to the quality of life: trust, time, faith, love, forgiveness, gratitude. I came up with about 23 and edited it down to 20.

2. Who would this book be good for?

The books were written with young adults in mind. However, given what we see happening every day it seems that people of all ages abandon guardrails that can protect what matters most: integrity, family, peace of mind. When this happens, often lives are shattered. As a society, we suffer a collective disillusionment and disappointment.

3. You’ve been a mentor to multiple people in their 20’s. What has this experience been like for you?

I believe people seek out their mentors and that mentoring means everything from giving advice to being the best role model you can be. My role as a mentor began in my early thirties when interns were assigned to work with the programming department at KTRK-TV in Houston. I enjoyed working with them and seeing the business through their eyes. It has continued over the years as I joined the management ranks. Friends, colleagues, the University of Houston and professional organizations have asked me to advise students or professionals trying to get to the next level.

I owe my start in media to a woman named Mickey Wellman who hired me at WWL-TV in New Orleans, mentored me by giving me new opportunities to learn and by encouraging me when I faced challenges. She made the time to listen, teach and promote me to other station leaders. I will never forget her impact on my career and I will always find a way to say yes to someone who needs advice, encouragement or guidance that helps them take another step toward realizing their dream.

4. Young people have a yearning to be loved. How do you give them the encouragement and love they need?

Most of the issues brought to me revolve around three of the Truths–#1, #6 #18.

#1—the mentee doesn’t understand how much is in their control just by the way they think about their future. They feel powerless.

#6—the mentee is reacting to the world and not listening to their own voice and placing a high enough value on what they have to offer. They feel undervalued or are undervaluing themselves.

#18–there is some element of waiting to be discovered, too much emphasis on destination and not enough on the plan. They feel overwhelmed.

My advice centers on the questions and activities in The Companion Journal. It begins with deep self-reflection on habits, greater self-awareness of negative patterns and pointing out options within control. The resulting smile and sense of relief after we talk it through tells me something clicked, a new mindset is taking shape and they’re no longer stuck.

5. One thing that is often overlooked is the need or desire for the mentor to feel cared about. How can you be a leader people love?

I think it’s important for leaders to remember that they are both responsible for the organization and that the best organizations attract the best people. What I consistently hear is that employees want leaders who are fair, who take action when necessary and who encourage work/life balance with policies as well as understanding. Today’s best workers want to continue to learn, to be proud of the organization they work for and to be able to learn by doing. Leaders who create that kind of culture, create a productive workplace that employees love.

6. What are the benefits of being a leader people love?

Leadership is about service that lifts the organization and its people. Competition for top performers is tough–being a leader that people want to work for will attract the best and keep the organization going strong.

7. Are there challenges to being loved and leading others?

I don’t think it’s wise to make “being loved” a goal. Do the work of leading, lifting, serving, inspiring, taking necessary action and being a champion for the work of your team. There will always be challenges–involve your team in solving them. Express gratitude for their contributions and expect that every employee will be a guardian of the ideals your organization holds dear.

8. How do you navigate these leadership challenges?

There is only one way to navigate challenges–face them head-on and take action. Small problems become big ones if you bury your head. Take the time to understand the core problem, resist the urge to react quickly to “symptoms.” Ask for the help you need and through navigating a challenge you might uncover a hidden opportunity.

9. What’s the greatest joy you’ve had from leading and mentoring young people? How has it impacted your leadership?

The greatest joy is coming to work every day and watching my team members try new things, create work they’re proud of and navigate challenges whether it is working cross-departmentally, or on challenging projects. This applies to staff members of all ages. Every industry is changing and all employees have to step out of their comfort zone, learn, fall short occasionally and try again.

Win A Copy Of Always and Never: 20 Truths to a Happy Heart

Lisa and her team have been generous to me and provided a giveaway to those who read this interview. I’ve been given two copies of Always And Never and the accompanying journal. To be entered to win the book and journal, enter below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.