Ben Adams ’74 Recalls Life-Changing Lesson

Chairman Emeritus of Baker Donelson Ben Adams ’74, pictured with Student Council President Tanner Williams ’23, spoke in chapel about a lesson learned while a junior at MUS when he was passed over for induction in the National Honor Society. Speaking to faculty mentors Mr. Jim Russell and Mr. Mike Deaderick afterward, he learned that his leadership style was too negative. The teachers encouraged him to use his influence for the good of the community. That experience was transformative for Adams, who went on to serve as Student Council president his senior year and to assume many leadership roles in his career, including as chair of the MUS Board of Trustees (1997-2004).
“Instead of being exclusive, I had to learn to be inclusive. I had to learn to accept people for whatever their differences or faults and to appreciate their strengths and how they were trying to contribute in a positive way to the MUS community in whatever their field of endeavor. My world had been pretty much limited to athletics and having a good time, and I had to significantly change the way I viewed people.”

To be an effective leader, he told the boys, one must develop the mind of a servant leader and focus on the following actions:

“Treating all with dignity and respect;
Demonstrating great followership;
Building trust; 
Communicating a vision and connecting your people to it;
Delegating effectively and sharing credit; and
Inspiring confidence with a servant heart.”

He concluded: “All of you will have countless opportunities in your lives to be effective leaders and I hope some of my experiences and lessons learned will be helpful to you in the myriad of ways you will be called to serve and lead.” 

To watch Adams’ chapel presentation, click HERE.