Gary Winters

Coach  Workshop Facilitator Author

The Three H’s of Leadership

Great leaders are well known to be visionaries (able to see a compelling future), excellent communicators (able to describe what they see in metaphors we can all understand), and trust builders (able to create relationships that are characterized and sustained by mutual respect, commitment, and belief in the other).

I believe that great leaders also display three other qualities that serve us well: honor, humility, and humor.


Honor is the respect one earns through one’s behavior. To me, it means acting with integrity, being honest with others, following a “code of conduct” which empowers people and lifts us all. It means taking the high road, even at one’s own expense, and making tough ethical decisions even when no one is looking. Honor is acting in such a way as to do what one perceives is the right thing to do, even when that course of action may delay an achievement.

Honor is doing what’s right – and backing up one’s actions with a high moral standard. The honorable path may indeed mean a delay in achieving one’s goal, but meeting a goal with dishonorable conduct surrenders the sense of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes with achieving that goal.

Great leaders understand that accomplishments without honor are worthless and perhaps even scurrilous. Leaders with honor are those who walk the path of integrity, believing that to do otherwise is not even an option. As I learned in an ethics class years ago, ethical (and by extension, honorable) choices are not between right and wrong, but between right and right.


What’s interesting about humility is that it’s about having a disposition to be thinking of others – not one’s self. Leaders cannot be humble by trying to be humble – they are seen as having humility when they seek not just to lead but (mostly) to serve. Leaders who see themselves as being in service of others are humble; leaders who want to take us somewhere (they believe we should go) through strength of personality, positional power, or to achieve a sense of self-importance are not.

It seems that many people regard humility as a lack of strength when in fact it is the opposite. The truly humble leader, who gives away the credit when things go well, but owns the accountability when they don’t, is the one who demonstrates strength.


Effective leaders also have the ability (and the willingness) to laugh at themselves. They can take their work seriously, but themselves lightly. They can break the tension in the room with a remark that points out the irony, or even the insanity, of what’s going on. Today, the day before the American election, I’m reminded of both candidates willingness to use humor (perhaps not often enough!) to connect with others. Barack Obama observed that when he was born, he was given a middle name by someone who assumed he’d never run for president, and John McCane said of the polls which show him trailing in all the “battleground” states that “we’ve got ‘em just where we want ‘em!”

A little humor can go a long way to inspire, relieve tension, and motivate others to act. In fact, the best humor is actually a demonstration of honor and humility. It isn’t done at the expense of others. It’s done in the spirit of realizing we’re all in this together, and if we can pause now and then to lighten up, we’ll enjoy our experience all the more.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is the sequel to the very popular “What Your Boss Never Told You.” Packed inside are more tips, techniques, and insights about the challenging, but rewarding leadership position.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is written in a conversational tone, as though you and the author were enjoying a cup of coffee and talking about the issues that emerge for new leaders. It stands alone, and/or could be read before or after the first volume, “What Your Boss Never Told You.” You can start with any chapter and read in any order you like.

if you search for a book on management, you’ll find a staggering 600,000+ books currently available. How can you narrow that down? “What Your Boss Never Told You” is the best place to start.

No textbook here – this book is short and sweet. It’s designed to help you “unpack” your new job and be effective from the first day with your new team. It contains twenty-one chapters filled with the wisdom Winters has gathered from real managers – effective, successful leaders in organizations much like yours.

Leaders make decisions every day – big and small. Most know that if they include others in the decision-making process, the quality of those decisions – and the commitment to them – will likely improve. That said, they also know it’s impractical, if not impossible, to include others in every decision they confront.

“To Do or Not To Do” tackles the question of when to make decisions on your own, and when to involve your team. It gives you a deceptively simple but proven method to determine, when you are facing a difficult decision, how to decide how to decide.

Far too many meetings are dreadful, mind-numbing, energy-draining, productivity-sapping, colossal wastes of time. As someone once said, “To kill time, a meeting is the perfect weapon.”

Here’s the deal: if you’re willing to learn and apply the techniques in “So, How Was Your Meeting?”, you’ll call fewer meetings, while vastly improving the ones you do lead. They’ll take less time, have more balanced participation, produce better decisions, and result in concrete action items for follow-up afterwards.

While there are thousands of books written for people about to retire, this may be the only book for people who manage soon-to-retire employees. Written in a casual, conversational style, “Managing the Soon To Retire Employee” will give you everything you need to know to move forward with confidence and grace.

You can be successful with Sooners. It won’t happen by chance, and it’s not a matter of pulling some management “trick” out of your hat. But you can learn how to do it, and you can apply what you’ve learned right away.

Managing friends or former peers can be awkward. When you become the boss, everything about these relationships can suddenly be uncomfortable. There’s a new set of ground rules to establish – as manager, you are going be accountable for the work performance of friends or former co-workers on the team, and they are going to have to adjust to the fact that they now report to you. Everyone involved can feel awkward and hesitant about the future. 

Have you been approached by management with an offer to promote you to supervision? Or, are you mulling over the possibility for the future? Find yourself not sure whether to accept the promotion?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. Help! They Want to Make ME a Supervisor will help you sort out a very big question: Should you accept the offer to become a supervisor? Once you’ve read this book, you’ll be confident that you’ve made the best decision for you and for your organization.