Leadership lessons: Amway leaders share wisdom in Thrive Global

Amway President Doug DeVos stands next to Amway Chairman Steve VanAndel

What do training horses and sailing have to do with leadership? Amway leaders Steve Van Andel and Doug DeVos explain in a recent Q&A published in Thrive Global.

“Training a horse is about patience, teaching and learning, and eventually heading in the same direction in unison,” Steve said of his longtime hobby. “It is actually very similar to leadership.”

Doug drew several parallels between his lifelong passion of sailing and leadership. “You’re working with a team in an ever-changing environment against competitors who have similar goals or opportunities,” he said. “When sailing, every person has to know their job and do it to the best of their ability in order to succeed.”

Best advice, tips

That is just a small portion of the wisdom and leadership advice shared by Steve and Doug with Thrive Global interviewer Adam Mendler. Thrive Global, founded by Arianna Huffington in 2016, is focused enhancing people’s well-being and performance without the burnout that many seem to think is a necessary part of success.

In the exchange, Steve and Doug talked about the best advice they ever received, their three best tips for entrepreneurs, executives or other leaders, and what has been key to their success.

For that last question, Doug called out his failures.

“I fail every day; there’s no getting around it,” he said. “Failure is a badge of honor for me personally and, I hope, for our company. If we’re not failing, we’re not trying.”

Leadership qualities

When asked about the quality of an effective leader, Steve said people need to be effective listeners.

“As a leader, it may seem easy to develop ideas on your own, share them with others and focus on influencing others to make those things happen,” he said. “That is rarely the best way.

“Understanding, listening, discussing, sharing conflicting points of view – that’s how real ideas are made, tested and perfected.”

Doug said leaders need to be willing to take the blame and share the credit. He also said there are leadership skills found in everyone.

“Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean being in charge or calling the shots,” he said. “A leader is a person who puts in the effort, makes sure others have their voices heard as well, and inspires accomplishment through their words or actions.

“Shifting the mindset of leadership from hierarchical to attitude and approach is crucial, I believe, for people, groups and companies to accomplish great things.”

Read the entire interview at thriveglobal.com.

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