The Pivotal Role of Celebration and Influence in Leadership with Anthony A. Dicks, Jr · ShiftWorkPlace

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Ep113 The Pivotal Role of Celebration and Influence in Leadership with Anthony A. Dicks, Jr

The Importance of Celebration and Influence in Leadership

Bio for Anthony A. Dicks, Jr

Anthony A. Dicks, Jr. is a leader’s leader! His passion for leadership development is evident in his work with emerging nonprofit leaders. He has spent over two decades preparing people with diverse responsibilities to reach their optimal leadership potential. Currently, Anthony is a doctoral candidate in the Strategic Leadership program at Liberty University a Certified John C. Maxwell Team Member and DiSC Coach. Anthony currently transforms leaders as the Senior Leadership Consultant at 180 Management Group.

Episode highlight

Anthony’s personal background as a preacher’s kid played a fundamental role in shaping his leadership and communication skills. His educational achievements and professional experiences make him an exceptional leader with great wisdom to share. In this episode, Anthony shared valuable perspectives on leadership development processes within different institutions like the church, military, and academia. The importance of adaptability, growth, and continuous learning is emphasized. Listen to learn more.



  • “To lead means that you are with the people, but you are also a couple of steps ahead. Not because you’re more intellectual or you’re brilliant. You’re just a few steps ahead, whether it be by gift or by responsibility.”
  • “People who may not be aware of their privilege may also not be aware of how they are exploiting others.”
  • “It’s not enough for us to see our heroes win. We need to see our heroes struggle.”
  • “That which we celebrate, we inherently give another level of influence to. And if we don’t celebrate it, we are restricting influence from flowing to a person who is operating excellently.”


Childhood Incidents

Anthony’s dad was a Baptist pastor who always made sure his children were involved in church. Before he could stand to preach, Anthony and his three sisters were required to sing. On Anthony’s eighth birthday, he performed the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. from memory. The standing ovation he received was so warm that it made him want to do it again. This experience opened Anthony to seeing the interaction between the platform and the people, and the responsibility that comes after that, shaping his leadership.

As a young adult, before starting his undergraduate studies, Anthony joined AIT training. It was the first time he ever flew on a plane. When he arrived at Fort Knox, Kentucky, he encountered people from all walks of life. As per the US military system, leaders had to be picked for different squads, and Anthony was one of them. He was given the opportunity to call the cadence as they marched from place to place. This experience shaped Anthony’s view of leadership and influence.

Influential Group

Growing up, Anthony had the privilege of seeing his parents graduate from college. His dad was a pastor, and his mom was a primary school teacher. In their household, education was vital. Anthony also attributes the shaping of his childhood to African American traditions and the church.

Cultural and Leadership Influence: 

According to Anthony, leaders are not made by accident; they are engineered. Several institutions engineer leaders. For instance, the military has processes to make captains, majors, lieutenants, lieutenant colonels, colonels, generals, non-commissioned officers, sergeants, 1st sergeants, or masters, whatever the case may be. The church, on the other hand, engineers leaders through discipleship. Schools have their processes of making leaders. 

Anthony credits his leadership skills to all the institutions he attended. He also believes that these institutions shaped his culture, as he had to immerse himself in each one and find his own way to put them together. 

Temperament and Personality

 Anthony believes his temperament is inherently trusting. With experience, he has learned that the challenge is not with being inherently trusting, rather with the kind of people you inherently trust. 

Anthony believes that over time his personality evolved from extroversion to introversion. He urges us to learn how to give ourselves space to evolve and not be tied to what we were five or ten years ago.

Cultural Epiphanies 

Throughout Anthony’s education, he had never been a minority until he attended seminary. There was a church history class that was particularly challenging. Anthony excelled, but he was never celebrated for his success. For the first time, he felt academically invisible. When Anthony’s son was in high school, he was a bright student, but it shocked Anthony that the assistant principal didn’t know about him, meaning he was never celebrated. That was another case of academic invisibility.

What Brings Out the Best in Anthony?

To bring out the best in Anthony, you need to bring him to the brink of impossibility. He believes in pushing beyond what we think is possible.

Soapbox Moment

To be at our best, we need challenges and encouragement. Anthony urges leaders to be part of communities of practice to avoid the loneliness that comes with leadership.


From the Southern US Black Baptist church culture, then Black College and Fraternity to military culture, Anthony learned how to build leadership using his ability to stand and deliver. Even more important, was the support each community provided and the standards of excellence they called him to achieve. From these strong foundations, Anthony developed the confidence to overcome hardships and meet challenges with courage, while celebrating milestones. 

I loved this interview with Anthony A Dicks Jr and took away these key points: 

  1. We are stronger together, especially when we validate each other.
  2. Unless we detach our identity from the person we were 10 years ago, we can’t embrace the learning life offers us to grow.
  3. Celebration is an important part of leadership. Celebration renders the invisible visible and brings collective pride to the honoring of all. 



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