ForCollegeForLife Podcast: Jay Harris: Things I Know About Leadership


Casey J. Cornelius (00:02):

Hey everyone, and welcome to the latest episode of the ForCollegeForLife Podcast. We are in season two, and the feedback on our newest episodes has been tremendous. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for liking and sharing and subscribing and reviewing, and all the things that you’re supposed to do with podcasts, but also, most importantly, thank you for letting us know who you want to hear from and what you want to hear about Today is one of those episodes where folks said we want to hear more from Jay. So we’re gonna hear more from Jay today. So without this,

Jay Harris (00:37):

Is that where I’m supposed to start talking now?

Casey J. Cornelius (00:39):

Uh, not yet Jay. Not yet. Okay. I’m sorry. You’re normally on the other side of this microphone. I’m sorry. So

Jay Harris (00:43):

You just, well, you certainly wanna hear more from Jay. I figured I’d start talking.

Casey J. Cornelius (00:46):

Well, okay. Well, okay. Start talking Jay

Jay Harris (00:50):


Casey J. Cornelius (00:50):

No, I’m just, I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding. <laugh>. So, listen, I, I know that one of the, the most popular topics that we have, one of the ones that folks are always doing programming is leadership and ways in which we can help student leaders be truly effective and transformational. And Jay has a program called The Top 10 Things I Know About Leadership, and I wanted to dig into to one of the areas today, we can’t get into all 10. We only have, you know, 15 minutes or whatever it is. Uh, but, but one of the areas, and that is this idea of the lazy leaders. So Jay, I’m, I’m gonna, I’m gonna pitch you a softball. You ready? Okay. Can leaders be, can leaders be lazy?

Jay Harris (01:30):

Oh, absolutely. You’d rather they not be, but I mean, absolutely. I mean, just turn on the television. You see it all the time. It’s, it’s, it’s very prevalent these days. Um, people say, I don’t wanna get political, but I’m gonna get political for a second. Cuz I don’t mind being political or I don’t mind politics. I mean, just look at, look at our, look at our, our setup, right? Look at how our, our party system is. You have people and I in my determine, in, in my opinion, lazy leaders, when you choose party over everything, when you don’t, when you’re not principled and you can’t make people upset who may be on your team because of something that they need to hear. I don’t care what you represent, what side you represent. If you can’t sometimes go, you know what, we need to go another way. We need to do something a little different. I think you’re a lazy leader, and I, we have too many lazy leaders right now. Kids don’t be a lazy leader.

Casey J. Cornelius (02:27):

Do you think that there’s some degree of, so I’m, I’m, I’m gonna translate it here to the, the college student leadership experience. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> ki kind of, kind of like our elected leaders as, as you say in society, that they spend so much time and attention getting elected that once they are, that’s kind of where the, the train stops.

Jay Harris (02:46):

Absolutely. It’s like, whew, that was tough. Now I can coast. No, that’s when the real work begins. Mm-hmm. And in a lot of respects, we who put leaders in positions, we also stop working, whether we’re on a college campus or in our elect electoral process. Um, if I’m on a college campus, and I’m gonna go back to, you know, when I was in college, if I’m president of my chapter, the brothers in my chapter aren’t supposed to go, well, you’re president, you should do everything. No, no, no, no, no. Your involvement stays. You still push the president, you still push the elected officers. You, you still have a back and forth. You talk to them. I mean, you elected them to make the decision at the end, you elected them to be the representative that maybe goes into the room and talks to the administration or whatever. But you are still, you are still active. Your, your, your role doesn’t end with just putting someone in a position. And as a leader, your role doesn’t end with getting that position. That’s when the work for everyone really, really begins.

Casey J. Cornelius (03:53):

So let me ask you then, so what does, like if you, if you were to diagnose symptoms of what lazy leadership looks like, like what, what, what would the symptoms be? If, if you’ve elected someone, uh, in your chapter, your student government, whatever it might be, what, what are some of the things that you can be looking at in terms of, uh, sign symptoms of laziness?

Jay Harris (04:13):

Uh, well, the first is someone who doesn’t really do anything. Um, someone who misses meetings or doesn’t schedule meetings. Someone who doesn’t do whatever they need to do to uplift the organization, uplift the chapter, uplift the letters that you wear on your, your shirt or whatever. Um, and just, you know, kind of chills and enjoys being socially, Hey, I’m the president of such and such, nice to meet you. But they don’t do anything outside of that. Uh, I think that’s, that’s one of the first and probably the biggest sign,

Casey J. Cornelius (04:45):

You know, I, I didn’t, I didn’t expect just with all these podcasts, I, I never expect, uh, all of the topics that we’re going to get into. Um, but I have seen over the years, and my guess is you have to hope, maybe you could, you could, uh, expound on it a little bit, is the person who really gets, um, infatuated with the title like that, the title is the goal in and of itself

Jay Harris (05:08):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,

Casey J. Cornelius (05:10):

How, how do you, how do you shake them out? Like, and, and maybe maybe that segment of, of those who get elected to leadership positions, maybe it’s a lost cause. But like, if, if I’m, if I’m, um, a member of the organization, if I’m a member of the student body and I’ve elected someone and it’s clear that they just like the title president or senator or whatever it might be, like, how do I help shake them out of that rut?

Jay Harris (05:34):

You could sit down and talk to ’em, or you and a group of people could sit down and talk to ’em. Sometimes you just have to, on the next go around, vote ’em outta office. Hmm. And, you know, and make that be your ultimate statement. Because at the end of the day, that person’s actions or inactions directly reflect and or affect you and your campus and your chapter or what have you. So if you’re not satisfied with the leadership that, um, you signed up for, then you know, take steps to sign up for different leaderships.

Casey J. Cornelius (06:09):

For those of you who aren’t yet aware, please make sure that you go ahead and check out That’s j a y, not just j j a y to learn more about Jay’s Top 10 program, but his other programs as well. Jay, you know, I’m thinking about this idea of, um, message in a bottle to a student leader, right? Like the, the 10

Jay Harris (06:30):

Things a great song, by the way.

Casey J. Cornelius (06:31):

It’s a fantastic song, <laugh>. Um, you know, if, if I’m a student leader in, so, you know, I’m listening to this episode or someone has forwarded it to me and I’m scared to rock the boat in my organization on my campus that like, I, I, I want to not be lazy and I want to not be someone who’s just addicted to the title, but I’m scared, scared to rock the boat. What would your message in a bottle to them be?

Jay Harris (06:57):

Get to rocking. Because if you don’t rock the boat, you never know where that boat is going to sail to. Right? Um, I, I’ll, I’ll give you an example that I use in my program. It’s, um, something that happened to me wasn’t on campuses when I started working. Um, when I was working in Pittsburgh and we had gotten the new program director at my radio station and program directors are known to be leaders who rock the boat when they come in, they listen to their station and many times they fire everyone who’s on air and they bring in people they know can get the job done. In this particular case, uh, with Pittsburgh being a town that, uh, folks, you know, get used to, and they don’t really take too kindly to just mass firings, uh, the new program director listened to everybody on air and decided there was one really, really weak link that he had to take care of.


And that weak link was me doing news. Oh yeah. That was me. So he brought him into the office and he’s like, look, um, you’re just not, you’re just not getting it done. I listened and there, here are like three things that I think you need to be better at. So I’m gonna give you an opportunity to be better at these things. Um, but if you don’t, if you can’t, I, I can’t, I can’t rock with you. I can’t, I can’t do this because I have a station to look out for and I want to bring people to the station and not drive people away from the station. I want people to listen, not turn off. So these are the things that you need to do. So I, I, I lit, I took his suggestions. I, and I, I listened to what he said and I went back and listened to myself. And he was absolutely right. Um, and basically I did everything that he said I needed to do. I did everything that this new leader, <laugh> had come in and assessed my skills, uh, and told me that I needed to do A, B and C. I did A, B, and C and I think I did D, e, F and G also <laugh> just to make it. That

Casey J. Cornelius (08:51):

Doesn’t surprise me. I was gonna say, yeah, that doesn’t surprise me.

Jay Harris (08:53):

And, and I ended, I kept my job and I became one of his, uh, I dunno if you wanna call it trusted lieutenants, but we got along great. And you know, he’s still my God to this day, but because he was an active leader, because he wasn’t afraid to rock the boat because he saw globally, right. Um, how it was gonna affect, um, his whole morning show, uh, this one week link. He, he made a decision to go at that link and, you know, let the chips fall where they may, and I’d made sure the chips fell my way cuz I, you know, I wanted to keep my job.

Casey J. Cornelius (09:26):

Sure. Do. Do you think in retrospect that, that if that person had been more interested in being popular or well liked or, you know, keeping things calm, do you think that it would’ve stunted your potential in the field too? Like that you would not have taken these, um, these cues, this, this feedback, this, these growth opportunities in to, to where you are potentially today?

Jay Harris (09:52):

Oh goodness. Absolutely. Because I never would’ve looked in that mirror. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I never would’ve been that self-critical. And it, you know, and it, and it doesn’t, it doesn’t start once you graduate college and, and, and get your job. It, it starts, it starts before college. Um, and definitely during college. I mean, if you, if you can’t, if you can’t critically evaluate yourself, um, or if you can’t critically evaluate others, and I’m not saying, um, being a butthead, right? I’m not saying being a tyrant. I’m saying, you know, really caring about people and talking to people in a way that you want to uplift them. Uh, and in turn they will uplift you and your organization by becoming better people themselves. If you, if you can’t do that, then you don’t need to be in a leadership position because you’re, you’re, you’re failing your folks. You’re just failing your folks. And if you’re not the kind of person that can listen, you’re failing the leadership. It’s a two-way street.

Casey J. Cornelius (10:58):

I imagine to this day, you, you, you still have feedback loops, right? Like, you, you have people that you trust are going to give you constructive advice when they feel like you could improve on X and Y and Z.

Jay Harris (11:09):

Yes. I desire those feedback loops. I cannot live without them because I know, I know when I do something and I, I, you know, I knew this when I was in school and I know it now. I know when I do something, if I could have done that better, I know if I, I know that I, maybe I could have prepared a little bit better. I could have done, I could have zigged when I should have zagged all that stuff. I know. But when someone tells you it, it’s, it kind of hits a little bit different. Then you’re like, oh yeah, yeah, people saw that. So I, I really need to work on that. So yeah, I desire those feedback loops to this day,

Casey J. Cornelius (11:45):

Folks, if you’re listening to this and you’re interested in learning more about Jay’s top 10 things I know about leadership program, again for college, for, uh, if you’re looking at scheduling this for an event for the coming semester, the coming year, uh, please let us know, um, keynote workshop, all that other kind of fun stuff, Jay, this was, this was kind of just one of, of the top 10, um, <laugh> things, you know, about leadership. I’m curious, how excited do you get working with new leaders, kind of who are emerging on that journey?

Jay Harris (12:18):

It’s, I get excited because, you know, you, you see, you see, uh, it’s why I like, you know, going back to campuses and talking to young folks because you, you see, you see bright eyes and bushy tails. You see the excitement, you see that glow, you see that drive, um, from the, the, the events that they put together. Just, you know, the, the grades that they want to keep, the, the, the, the, um, what’s the word I’m looking for? The, um, you might have to edit this long pause out.

Casey J. Cornelius (13:03):

That’s fine. Actually. We’re not gonna edit it. Like the, the ambition that they have that they’re bringing to the table.

Jay Harris (13:08):

Yeah. Yeah, that too. Yeah. That I’ll, I’ll, I’ll go with that. It wasn’t exactly what was, but really close. Yeah, yeah. The ambition that they, that they want to bring to the table. When you see that it gets, you know, it gets my juices flowing. So it, it helps me when I, you know, come back home and go back to work. I use that energy to, to make myself better. So it’s, it’s, it’s, it helps me. I appreciate it. So hopefully it’s recipro. Hopefully I can, I can impart some life experience, some school experience, some fraternity experience and, um, and get something back and, and we both gain something from the experience.

Casey J. Cornelius (13:44):

Well, folks, this is an audio podcast, but I’m gonna make Jay blush for just a second here. One of the things that’s very cool for what I do is I always get the text message at the event where someone’s like, oh my God, Jay is so cool. He’s so nice. He doesn’t have any diva qualities. Like, we can go on and on and on. But if you wanna find that out for yourself, check out the website. Make sure that you look at scheduling a program with him, either the Top 10 program or any of his other offerings and bring him to campus or to your event, uh, this year. So Jay, this was fun. I, I feel like we could go on forever on this topic, but again, we can only do one of the top 10 things you know about

Jay Harris (14:21):


Casey J. Cornelius (14:22):


Jay Harris (14:23):

Next time we’ll save the end of the nine for the next

Casey J. Cornelius (14:25):

Time. Exactly. Come back for the next one. Folks, if you’ve enjoyed this podcast again, please make sure that you do the things that you’re supposed to do and share it and review it and let us know again, the things that you want to hear and the folks you want to hear from Thank you so much for listening, and until next time, everybody be well.


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