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Lessons Learned By Alex McElroy

Lessons Learned: Purposeful Evaluation

Oh the lessons I learned when my mom used to say, “a hard head makes a soft bottom.” For those unfamiliar with this idiom, it simply means that you can learn your lesson the easy way or the hard way. Some of us only learn the lesson once we’ve been knocked back or knocked down a couple of times. It’s never fun learning lessons the hard way but those are often the lessons that we remember best.

Leaders can’t treat everyone the same when it comes to helping each individual learn what they need to know. Some learn better through trial and failure while others would be permanently discouraged if they experienced certain failure too often. Leaders do need to be fair but fairness does not mean treating everyone exactly the same, rather, it means providing each one what they need. A leader should facilitate an environment in which each individual can learn the lessons that will allow themselves and the team to excel.

A leader should both share the lessons learned from their own failures and help those they lead from making seriously detrimental mistakes. However, in the event that pronounced mistakes occur, a great leader isn’t there to say, ‘I told you so’ but rather ‘What can we learn from this?’

Here are 4 important lessons leaders help us learn:


All of us have felt inadequate at some point (or likely many points). Everyone has some areas where they excel and areas where they are deficient. An effective leader should help to draw out those areas of excellence. A leader should never be comfortable with average output from themselves and that mentality should translate to those they lead through word and deed.

Complacency is the enemy of greatness. The purpose for which you were designed doesn’t in and of itself make you great. Your understanding of your necessity on this planet and your willingness to maximize your God-given potential are what make you great. A leader who can help others reach this conclusion is a gift to their team or organization.


When a marksman is aiming at a target, which may be a great distance away, they probably won’t hit a bullseye on the first attempt. However, that first attempt will give them knowledge that they can then use to adjust their aim by taking into account other variables such as wind, air temperature and the plane of elevation. Once those adjustments are made the marksman has a fixed set of data to work from for future shots.

Leaders should help those they lead to become expert marksmen. Leaders turn failures into lessons by making sure that those they lead see and make the proper adjustments. With love and foresight a leader will not only point out errors but will also illuminate the benefits gained by experiencing those blunders.


Thomas C. Corley spent five years researching the habits of 177 “self-made millionaires” and discovered that they all had “rich habits.” I want to highlight one of them. First, Corley noted that they hang out with other successful people. Corley writes, “You are only as successful as those you frequently associate with. The rich are always on the lookout for individuals who are goal-oriented, optimistic, enthusiastic, and who have an overall positive mental outlook.”

Every victory is sweeter when it is a team effort. Even athletes who compete in individual sports such as tennis or boxing have a team surrounding them. No one fulfills their purpose in life without the aid of others. Leaders should foster an environment where everyone is comfortable learning from one another and where everyone sees the value in the team.


One of the best gifts leaders can give to those they lead is to assist them in discovering their purpose in life. This may take the individual in a different direction than you once thought but the individual and the world will benefit immensely from their discovery. Those we lead don’t belong to us. We are simply in position to groom them to become who they are destined to be.

Bad leaders produce no followers, good leaders produce many followers and great leaders produce many leaders. In our present society, the need for true and unselfish leadership has never been more apparent. Leaders should long to see purpose fulfilled in the lives of those they lead. As you go, plan, speak, teach, train, and cast vision those that will learn to lead from you should be present so that they fully understand the labor that will be required of them in fulfillment of their purpose. Have you been intentional about bringing others along for the ride? Have you positioned others to fulfill their purpose?


Alex McElroy is an international speaker who has taught thousands of people how to lead and live out their purpose in life. He is a passionate speaker, teacher, leader, business owner, author, as well as a faithful husband and a devoted father.


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