First Quarter Highlights from the Lead with Empower Podcast

Welcome to the “First Quarter Review” of the Lead with Empower Podcast. Over the next few weeks, we will pull the most meaningful bits of leadership thoughts, insight, and wisdom from our first season of the Lead with Empower Podcast. The guests highlighted each week come from different backgrounds and work in a wide variety of fields. I hope you find an episode that resonates with you and are able to connect with that guest’s unique leadership style!

We will highlight the Top 3 Leadership Lessons from six of our podcast guests. These highlights are designed to provide a snapshot of each guest’s visit on the Lead with Empower Podcast. Full podcast episodes can be found at

Dan DeConti: Assistant Athletic Director at Xavier High School

  • Leadership is a skill that can be learned and developed, as long as those aspiring leaders are provided “learn to lead” opportunities and the necessary support, coaching, and feedback during those opportunities.
  • Relationships, relationships, relationships; a leader must be able to forge trusting relationships if they intend to lead effectively.
  • We will face adverse situations throughout our lives. Our mindset during those adverse moments will determine whether they are valuable learning experiences that lead to our development or a hindrance to our successes.

Tim Boyle: Green Bay Packers Quarterback

  • Physical gifts are a part of our ability to achieve our dreams, not the whole. Work ethic, determination, self-reflection, self-improvement, self-accountability, and a sound support system maximize our physical gifts and help us discover our true potential.
  • Great leaders are consistent – there is not an “on” or “off” switch. Great leaders embrace the daily “dogfight” of proving themselves.
  • Realizing our dreams will require us to overcome adversity, challenge, and fear. Are those challenges a complete roadblock or just a speed bump?

Maggie, Megan, Ashley, and Lindsey: New Britain Parks and Recreation Programming Team

  • Be a kind human! This mantra is omnipresent in all New Britain Parks and Recreation operations. Great leaders do and say that which brings the best out of the people around them, regardless of how convenient it is for the leader to do so.
  • To lead effectively, one must lead with passion, enthusiasm, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to those that they lead.
  • Leading an organization or a program is not not just isolated to a camp season, a fiscal quarter, or a school year. Great leaders are able to forge trusting relationships and create a culture of accountability when they invest in their team over the course of the long-haul!

Jeff Pugliese: Vice President of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce:

  • The decisions and actions of great leaders are not for self-gratification, they are decisions and actions that serve those that you lead. Always strive to be a constructive partner!
  • Try your best. Sometimes our best is excellent, other times it is good enough, and sometimes our best does not get the job done. When we do our best, there is no regret! The “best way to do your best” – be honest, prepared, and well-informed!
  • Well done is better than well said – leadership is about action and momentum, not empty words.

Kevin Loney: Assistant Coach and Director of Player Development at Bowdoin College

  • Self-accountability – whatever standards you set as a leader, you must be willing to be held to those standards by those that you lead.
  • Regularly setting personal and professional goals. Write down where you want to be and what you want to be doing in 5 years, then write down the daily personal actions that will help you build momentum towards achieving that goal!
  • Control what you can control and do not ignore the many opportunities for personal and professional growth that arise throughout our lives. An unexpected opportunity may turn into fulfillment of your dreams!

Mike Cunningham: Teacher, Head Wrestling Coach, and Assistant Golf Coach at Xavier High School

  • Developing and sustaining a team culture is not a “one-and-done” task. Sustained culture requires commitment, authenticity, passion, support, and trust from the leader!
  • Great leaders find time for self-improvement and continued development, they do not rest on their laurels.
  • The importance of the skills that require no special talent – be on time, treat people with respect, be prepared, work hard, ask questions, and hold yourself accountable when you make mistakes

Listen to the Lead With Empower Podcast

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