BY HANNAN CRITES
Leadership is “leaving the desk, walking around, and staying in touch with what’s going on,” Doug Keck told Franciscan University students on Sept. 20. Keck came to Franciscan to discuss how to be a good, upstanding leader in the secular business world, how to earn the respect of coworkers, and how to create and achieve goals.
Keck is the executive vice president of EWTN, the largest Catholic media network in the world. Before he joined EWTN in 1996, Keck was involved in the launch of more than 25 international, national, and regional television networks.
Keck’s talk, which took place in Franciscan University’s Gentile Gallery, emphasized using leaders of the past to learn how to be a leader today. Keck shared quotes from many Catholic leaders, including Bishop Fulton Sheen, St. Francis DeSales, and author G.K. Chesterton.
Keck also listed leaders from Scripture, encouraging people to look at the leadership qualities described in Scripture and to apply those same qualities in the world today.
Noah led by “doing what is right, even though he was alone”; Abraham led by his willingness to “embrace the unknown,” especially when God’s plan seemed impossible, Keck said. He went on to highlight other Biblical leaders: Moses led by taking up the challenge and encouraging his people; Joshua led by “example, rather than command”; David led by not fearing the giants; Isaiah led by rising to the occasion; Daniel led by doing what he knew was right, despite the consequences; John the Baptist led by “calling out the phonies” and announcing what he knew was Truth; Peter led because he was able to recover from his failures and preach the Truth; Paul led by being “passionate about what he believed in.”
One key virtue Keck focused on and said that every leader should possess is humility. “Leaders have to be willing to admit that they don’t know,” Keck said. “Build a team around you that is smarter in the things that you don’t do so well at.”
In addition, communication is essential in leadership, said Keck. Leaders have to be “open to listening to feedback” and hearing criticism, he said. “You must explain why you decided what you decided and recognize that you may not agree with everyone, but you can at least understand the other person’s perspective.”
Keck’s talk was part of the fall 2013 Distinguished Speaker Series and was sponsored by Franciscan University’s Advancement Office and the Center for Leadership. All the talks in the series can be found on the Franciscan University website.