Mar. 02, 2017 by Aaron Echols, Vice President, Frost Bank

15 Leadership Lessons from Emmitt Smith

Developing a successful commercial real estate brokerage office and winning three Super Bowls on your way to becoming the all-time leading rusher for the National Football League gives you ample opportunity to fine-tune your leadership skills. Emmitt Smith recently offered up some of his leadership wisdom to the Associate Leadership Council Class of 2017.

Your Time as a Leader is Determined by Your Time as a Follower

  1. You may have great natural ability, but you need others to help you learn and develop before you can truly be successful.
  2. Put away your arrogance and learn from others. Use your own time and money to make it convenient to learn from those with knowledge you need and want.
  3. Take the time to learn so you are prepared to step up or go out on your own when an opportunity is presented.
  4. Learn early to share the spotlight because you will never succeed on your own.

Begin with the End in Mind

  1. Own who you are and what you want in life. Don’t be afraid to achieve the work/life balance you want.
  2. Leadership is an earned privilege, not a guaranteed right.
  3. Learn and work today in a way that equips you for the future.
  4. It is all about consistency, self-encouragement, character, ethics, and work ethic.
  5. Consistency conveys the importance of what you are doing to others.

Learn to Engage, or even Re-Engage, the World Around You

  1. In a world with varying cultures, backgrounds and other factors, we are all behind at some point. We must engage with the world around us to learn and be successful.
  2. Don’t just rely on one skill or area of expertise. Look for ways to continually learn and grow.
  3. Relationships must be reciprocal and you need to maintain relationships. Don’t treat people and relationships as though they expire when the lease or deal is done.
  4. It is okay to demand excellence of ourselves and others.
  5. Tell others what you expect from them and give them the resources to perform.
  6. Life is full of disappointments and successes. Pay attention along the way to learn the subtle lessons in both.

Aaron Echols is a commercial real estate lender and has been with Frost Bank since December 2011. Aaron has been a TREC member since 2014 and has served in numerous capacities. Aaron and his wife, Courtney, live in Plano with their two children, Ripken and Millie.