On Wednesday, April 18th, 2018, the Center for Leadership and Character hosted a lunch with Governor Bob Ehrlich for Wake Forest School of Business students including Ethics and Leadership Team members and recent and previous attendees sponsored by the Center for Leadership and Character to attend the Service Academy Leadership Conferences.
Governor Ehrlich was Maryland’s first Republican governor in 36 years at the time of his election. During his time in office, Ehrlich turned state budgets into a surplus, created over 100,000 new jobs, authored Maryland’s first charter schools law, advocated for investments in public schools as well as funding for need-based college scholarships and minority business advancement.
He has authored four books on contemporary American politics including his most recent book, Bet You Didn’t See That One Coming, an analysis of the election of Donald Trump and the future of politics.
During lunch with students, Ehrlich shared messages about leadership including the importance of consistency and integrity in business and in politics no matter your level of leadership in the organization. Show your authenticity and charisma and don’t ever fake it. Be secure as a leader, overcome your own self-absorption and show how you can act outside your self-interest and how you are able to be happy for other people.
Pursue balance in life through good planning in order to meet all your responsibilities. Be a risk taker, but don’t go around defeated when you have set backs. Be flexible, be disciplined, and show mental toughness. This will help in the moments when you need to make choices that make you an unpopular leader.
Ehrlich said his biggest leadership lesson was to treat people decently and well even when you don’t have to because you’ll see the same people on the way down as you did on the way up.
In closing, Ehrlich also shared his leadership philosophy: never give up, maintain your honor, and never lose your good sense.