Monday, February 23, 2015

Lessons Learned from Guest Speaker Alexandre Havard

Lessons Learned from Guest Speaker Alexandre Havard
by Paige Pilarski

This past Thursday as we sat down for our Thirsty Thursday event our speaker Mr. Alexandre Havard asked us an important question, “What makes up a person?”

It was exciting to meet him in person, since we had read and studied his book, “Created for Greatness” in our course on Leadership last semester.

Today, prominent leadership literature tells us that we have to know ourselves. In his talk, Mr. Havard led us into an eye-opening way to do that. He says that every person is made up of temperament and character. A person’s temperament is something that is unchanging and biological, our natural tendencies. Character, on the other hand is something that we work on throughout our lives to build virtues, which can make up for the failings in our temperament.

While some might think this all sounds too philosophical, Mr. Havard made it extremely practical; he made a point of it since we are studying business. He helped to show us how a person’s temperament makes them naturally more or less strong when it comes to the virtues of prudence, courage, self-control, justice, magnanimity, and humility. But knowing this, gives a person the opportunity to build his character on his temperament by practicing virtue.

As he described the strengths and weaknesses of each temperament, it was fun to hear the reactions around the room: “That sounds just like my boss!” “Oh my gosh, that’s me!” Other times, everyone would laugh because they all knew of someone with the extreme personality he was describing.

Before reading Mr. Havard’s book, I had never thought about the importance of the virtue of magnanimity in leadership. He said that a magnanimous person is both a dreamer, who considers himself worthy of great things, but also a doer, who takes action to make his dreams a reality. When you look at a successful leader, whether in business or other areas, you can see that having a vision and taking the right steps to achieve that vision are what make him successful. This gave me a new perspective on virtue.

A quote from Mr. Havard: “You must not try to change your temperament because you are born with the qualities and effects of it. What will you do with it?”

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