By Kelly Davis
There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of poems, songs, books and plays written about great leaders — and Rich Mayhew’s probably familiar with many of them. On his blog, the former banking executive, who left finance to focus on leadership development, eloquently sums up
the rare skills possessed by great leaders throughout history. “When you inspire people to follow you and achieve something greater than they could have achieved on their own, you are unleashing one of the most powerful forces within humankind,” he writes. “This inspiration is not generated by over the top speeches or hyperbolic rallies.” Indeed. Mayhew shared with us what drew him to teach leadership and what he enjoys most about it.
: Rich Mayhew
: Effective Leadership and Teamwork in the non-Academic Workplace
Why did you choose your career field and how did you get started?
I was working in the banking industry and made the shift from bank manager to leadership development and organizational development. This was an intentional career move to broaden my skill set and gain exposure to large-scale corporate change initiatives. This involved an internal transfer at Bank of America, which was fairly easy to accomplish.
What do most enjoy about your job?
Making a difference within organizations
Helping executives and leaders to make a significant improvement in their ability to lead.
Independence and participation in the gig economy
Working with thought leaders in the industry
Learning about a wide variety of industries
Opportunities to travel overseas and within the USA
What advice would you give to someone looking to enter this field?
Learn about the field through formal education and, most importantly, gain some experience as a leader and team member. It doesn't matter where.
How is your field changing? What new skills do people need to stay current?
The practice of leadership development and organizational change hasn't changed. To be fair, some of the processes and practices have changed but the impact is at the margins. People are people and they respond the same way to business and people dynamics as they have in the past. Marketing my services and intellectual property has changed due to the advent of the internet and social media.
There's the saying that leaders are born, not made. Given your experience teaching leadership development, is this true?
Leaders are definitely made. Everyone can develop the traits and learn the skills of effective leadership. There is no guarantee that even those who naturally have some traits that can be applied to leadership use them in an effective way. The secret sauce for leadership is knowing yourself, behaving authentically and having a solid understanding of the motivations and desires of the people that you lead.
Why do you teach for Extension and what do you enjoy most about it?
UC San Diego has been a wonderful supporter of me. I appreciate the collaboration and skills that Extension staff brings to the educational process. I am treated as a highly valued member of the Extension community.
Learn more about the Leadership Development courses and programs that Extension offers, including Leadership and Teamwork, and Leadership and Management, as well as the Custom Training programs we can tailor to your workplace needs.