Over the past month, and next month, you will be reading in PT nearly 40 leaders in the parking industry and their take on leadership. Without exception, they all felt that a true leader respects their staff and is self-deprecating.

They used examples like Washington, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill. Each in his own way showed great respect for the people around them and in the end, had a goal they reached.

Often, great leaders aren’t particularly great managers. They surround themselves with great managers. They let their managers do their jobs, following non conflicting directions. A great leader tries to see the so called ‘big picture.’

Great leaders are communicators. They can let those around them know an organization’s direction, without confusing the issue. They can communicate clearly, but often with a certain feeling that leaves the ‘staff’ with a thrill. There is never any confusion.

True leaders know that sometimes there will be failure and accept that. They learn from their mistakes and move an organization forward through those failures. As Churchill put it, “when you are walking through hell, keep walking.” Leaders never loose sight of the goal, and press through adversity, because there will be adversity.

Leaders aren’t afraid to be in the arena. As Teddy Roosevelt said:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Leaders understand that to know victory, you must also know defeat.

Those who pressed on through the horrors of the pandemic came out stronger. They knew that this was not the end times, but simply another adversity that needed to be overcome. And they did.

Our challenge is not to look back and the problems of the past but to look forward to our goals. Leaders learn from adversity but never stop seeking their goal. They are not afraid to adjust as necessary, but always adjust in a direction that leads to their goal.

TR knew what he was talking about. A leader ‘ best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.’

You need not be on the global stage, but can succeed as a leader in your home office, your garage, or a small factory. Leaders have a goal and reach out for it.


John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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