Leading with the 4 H’s

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“Once you know yourself, you build stronger teams and entities.”

Bill DeMarco (Retired Air Force Colonel and Five-star commander).

I spent today in a conversation with George, the manager of Babushka Kitchen Café, west Strand of Portrush. He shared about his journey of self-discovery, as a leader in tourism and hospitality. My appreciation of his leadership soared to a higher place in our short conversation (high knowledge of expertise on coffee and gourmet foods). He wasn’t looking for applause either. What struck me the most about him was how he demonstrated humility and a servant heart towards his customers. He coached me on espresso on the bench below.


The word Babushka has many meanings. One is an old woman or grandmother. A woman’s triangular scarf. Another is a famous Christmas story in Russian about the story of an old woman who met the Three Wise men on their way to see Jesus.

My favorite definition is in Yiddish and means; “to go to a higher place or to have a Torah reading or other honor on the bema in the sanctuary.”

I wouldn’t have recognized George as a leader if I hadn’t listened to his 💓 heart.Our impromptu conversation reminded me of Bill De Marco’s leadership lessons. He says, we are all just students in “permanent beta.” Bill teaches structured courses on growing leaders and building healthy and effective teams. He is a five-time commander and leadership teacher at Air University, Auburn and Michigan. He holds 3 Masters degrees, and fellowships at Stanford and Cambridge. His teaching, like my conversation with George and the definition of Babushka takes us to a higher place. His three themes are:

1. Know yourself to lead yourself.
2. Lead yourself to lead your team.
3. Create organizations where everyone is valued.

Bill conveys to commanders regarding leadership:

1. It’s not about you.
2. Understand your mission.
3. Develop a strong vision.
4. Build your strategy to achieve that vision even before Day 1.

And he uses the Four H’s:

HUMBLE – It’s not about you, it’s about helping others.
HUNGRY – Not hungry for the cool office or the rank status, but hungry to learn and be of service.
HERO – Moral character.
HEART – How do we become empathetic and lead from the heart.

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One thought on “Leading with the 4 H’s

  1. It’s not about you, it’s about helping others.

    If you feel uneasy about forging ahead and doing stuff outside of your comfort zone, change “Am I worthy?”, to “Would it be useful to me or others?”.


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