How to Lead Like Billy Graham

People change us most.

Michael Hyatt recounts a meeting he had with Billy Graham in 1983. Hyatt wrote, “… In 20 minutes, he had an impact on me that would forever change the way I think about leadership.”

Billy Graham on the greatest surprise in life

4 years later

In 1987, Billy Graham spoke to a group of leaders in Denver, Colorado and said, leaders need integrity. He defined it as being the same person on the inside as you claim to be on the outside.

“There is no discrepancy. Integrity is the source of confidence.”

Application: Leaders with integrity speak out because they don’t fear being found out.

In the same talk, Graham said, leaders need emotional security that comes from, “… knowing and accepting who we are, why we’re here, and where we’re going.”

Application: Emotional security begins when we focus on “who” before “what.” Frances Hesslbein put it this way, “Leadership is a matter of who to be, not how to do.”

Graham went on to say leaders need, “… the ability to separate the trivial from the important. It’s essential for daily tasks and direction in life. Until priorities are straight, everything else will be out of order.”

Application: Who you are is more important than what you do.

The three questions of leadership:

The three most important questions of leadership are:

  1. Who am I.
  2. Who do I aspire to be.
  3. How can I bring myself to today’s challenges and opportunities.

Who before how:

Let who you are drive the train. You lose yourself when “how to” drives. In the process, you lose purpose and meaning.

Billy Graham’s outside person expressed his inside. That’s how he impacted Hyatt and millions of others.

The real power of leadership is “who” before “how.” Methods are fakery until they come to life in an authentic person.

What happens when “how to” takes precedence over “who you are?”

Who has changed you?