My name is Denis Baker .
Leadership has become my passion…………..NO it has become my CONVICTION!!
I was not a great student in high school. In fact, I think I graduated something like 160 out of 162. I was taking freshman English for the third time my senior year (now you understand why I write the way I do.) After high school, I fumbled around doing odd jobs, eventually going to work for the prison system as a guard. I met my beautiful wife, Marlene, and started a family. I moved into a position in the prison safety department. This allowed me to move from shift work to a M-F schedule, working 8-5. Life was great.
Well…not really! Marlene and I had plenty of time to build debt and live a grand life. Then we found out we had to pay that back! Well, I worked two jobs and threw newspapers on the weekends. Marlene worked at a bank while our daughter went to a babysitter every day. All this, to BARELY make ends meet. I remember several instances where I had to use my gas credit card to buy bread and milk. Times were tough (our own doing). This was an endless loop. We were never getting out of this.
We explored options and I applied for every job I could find. Eventually, we made the decision that I needed to go to college. Through the grace of God we sold our home, packed our belongings and headed north of the Red River to Oklahoma. I was going to Oklahoma State University! The home of the Cowboys!! Wait, I wasn’t even accepted. We went on faith that I would be accepted and would be allowed to enroll for the spring semester. We moved into student housing. I was accepted into the university and my wife found a job and I began school. Well, I finally graduated in 1995 with a B.S. Degree in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology.
Since 1995, I have had many jobs. Most times, leaving for a promotion and more money. That all came to a head in 2008 when I was fired from my job. The loss of that job was devastating for Marlene and me. However, it caused us to grow in our faith and become more reliant on God. It also caused me to question who I was personally and professionally. I eventually got another job. In fact, the company didn’t have a very good reputation and it meant we had to move. However, the company treated me very fairly and even had a full relocation program that bought our house, if need be.
All that happened six (6) years ago. Over those six years, I’ve realize that maybe I changed jobs so many times because I didn’t know how to lead. Instead of getting frustrated and mad, I needed to learn how to lead people through my influence. During these last six years, leadership is something I work on every day, both in my personal and professional life.
I have always been interested in leadership. In fact, I think I always wanted to run something even from a young age. I had to be the team captain, the person whose idea everyone used or followed. As I became older, I realized that leadership wasn’t about being in charge, it wasn’t about everyone always using my ideas or doing what I wanted. It was about having Godly character, being a man of integrity, being a husband and father (and now father-in-law) that set a Godly example while at work and home. I realized being a leader meant that I needed to positively INFLUENCE those I come into contact with, either through work or home.
Leadership was first formally introduced to me sometime in the early 2000’s. During that time, I served under a great pastor who was and is a great expositor of the Word of God. He showed me what a leader was and how a leader was to interact with people, set expectations and take responsibility for assigned projects. For many years I served under this great leader. I grew spiritually and personally through the close contact, friendship and true discipleship of some very Godly men.
So how did I develop such a conviction for Leadership? Experience, simple as that! As I’ve moved up in leadership and became a manager, director and eventually vice president, I have experienced several leaders, good and bad. As a Safety Professional, I started to notice the lack of leadership within myself and those I worked or came in contact with.
In 2012, I was introduced and eventually became a certified Coach, Trainer and Keynote Speaker for the John Maxwell Group. My initial desire was to train and speak to as many safety professionals as possible. I wanted to make sure the profession I chose and love greatly, is full of excellent leaders that exhibit strong character through their daily interactions with employees and management. The John Maxwell training has opened many doors and allowed me to speak in front of thousands of safety professionals. It has also allowed me to expand to those outside the profession.
I have given many presentations on various leadership topics. My dynamic and often time exhortative style will move people to emotion. I believe emotion can enable action. If I can get people to act on what I discuss, then leaders can be born! I would love the opportunity to speak to your group. Please feel free to contact me or visit my website at http://www.johnmaxwellgroup.com/denisbaker.
You can also contact me through my email at firstname.lastname@example.org
My desire is to provide practical insights to leadership through personal experience, learning and Biblical reference. It is my goal to not write the best articles on the internet, but to write articles that provide practical solutions to real-life situations.
I will write what I feel, what I experience. That is how people learn, whether my experiences are positive or negative, my desire is that someone will benefit from it. Critical discussion is fine and allows me and everyone else to learn and benefit. However, if you move into personal attacks or profanity, or become disrespectful, I will not approve your comment and I will delete it.
I hope you find this blog to be beneficial. I truly believe you can use my experiences and insight to become a better leader. A leader focuses on himself/herself first. Then moves to be a leader of people and then a leader of leaders. You have to be the one committed to changing and improving. No one will do it for you. So, use the information presented to apply to your life and your professional endeavors. I promise, IT WORKS!