The following is an excerpt from my interview with Mark Hancock on my podcast, “You’ve Got This.”
Mark began his career founding a national advertising agency and running it for 15 years. His conversion to Christ led him into ministry as a youth and college pastor, associate pastor, homeless ministry director and global event director for an international ministry. He holds two masters degrees in the mental health counseling field, having spent a number of years in private practice, and has taught at secular and Christian colleges. An award-winning writer and conference speaker, he serves as CEO of Trail Life USA.
What makes a successful leader?
Mark: I just read recently the most successful CEOs in our country and most successful business leaders in our country have a personality that’s extremely low key and very humble and very quiet. You wouldn’t expect them to be what it is that we identify as a leader, which is the loudest guy in the room. The character of a person and the skills that they develop trumps any charisma that they have because it puts them in position to lead. People will follow a leader who understands leadership principles and understands shared leadership and understands everything that you should be doing is a good positive leader. They will follow them a lot longer than they will follow somebody who has charisma.
Specifically with boys, because so many of the mentorship models are disappearing from our culture it seems, they need a place where they can see godly men who are leading boys and they need to have them as examples. In Trail Life, our adult leaders are very involved, and from the fifth grade up, all of their direct contact leaders are all male. In our society, boys have a lot of female leaders—and women are great leaders—but boys need to see a man leading.
Mark: This generation is being raised where there’s so much confusion about that the role of men and women. It’s going to be very difficult for them to figure out their roles. They’re going to have a certain biological, psychological pushes in one direction, then they’re going to have cultural pressures to go in another direction—that’s going to be very challenging. For boys, to grow up with that, not without an idea of what it is to be a healthy boy, it’s like we treat boyhood like it was some sort of social disease that needs to be eradicated. When you paint every male as somehow being toxic because he’s male, that’s dangerous for our society.
If we live in a culture that says, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a boy or girl,” so one size fits all, that’s just dangerous for boys and girls. We think that they need their own specific learning opportunities and growth opportunities and leadership opportunities that they can develop uniquely. Girls now lead in every category academically. Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed for special education, three times more likely to be diagnosed ADHD. The suicide rate of boys is through the roof when compared to girls. Girls are now receiving more doctorates, more masters, and there are more girls in college than there are boys. They projected out a date where there would no longer be any boys who go to college.
To hear more from Mark, listen to “Raising Successful Leaders” on the “You’ve Got This” podcast.