David Mastovich

This Father’s Day weekend, I’ll reflect on the lessons my dad – Mike “Tike” Mastovich Sr. – taught me and my brother Mike over the years.

My father instilled seven leadership traits in us when we were at an early age, and I’ve used these lessons throughout my career and in my own role as a father of three sons. 

He helped mold me as a person and a leader. 

As I was growing up, I didn’t realize my dad was teaching me about leadership. But it began to sink in during the early stages of my career, when I was involved in some turnaround management stints.

I realized what he had been teaching me and how much he was ahead of his time with some of his leadership principles. 

He won’t stop now, even in retirement. Just this past week, he gave me some advice on how to handle a challenging situation with a client.

My dad always led. He was a community leader in various organizations in Franklin Borough and Conemaugh Valley and as a coach in sports. But he also led as an entrepreneur, owning his own company.

Then when he sold his business to a larger company, he was a senior leader of that organization, practicing these leadership traits and influencing lives.

So, in honor of my father, here are seven leadership traits he bestowed upon me:

• Be vulnerable.

He taught this with his actions. Way ahead of his time. Showed emotion on a regular basis. During movies, he would start crying. He’d be at an event and speeches, he’d be tearing up telling Mike and me he loved us, telling us when he could do better and what he learned.

He was just willing to talk about mistakes, willing to talk about life lessons.

• Respect others.

He always treated people with respect.

Doesn’t matter who you are or what the situation is. He just does it.

• Judge people by their character.

My dad didn’t care what your last name was. He didn’t care what you looked like.

He didn’t care what you chose to do for a living. He judged you by your character.

He started out respecting you first, regardless of who you are, and then he continued to work with you and communicate with you based on your character.

• Make the most of each day.

My dad has a positive demeanor and seemingly doesn’t have the downswings many of us endure.

He’s just so upbeat, and he makes the most of every day.

• Be a lifelong learner.

He wanted my brother and me to just continually learn, and we both have. Not only did we both achieve a master’s level

in education, but it’s just about learning after high school and after college and after the first job and after any management training program.

I learned from him the other day, but I learn from each of my team members on a regular basis. That’s because my dad didn’t worry so much about the grade we got but what we learned. He taught us that learning and working hard mattered most. The money will follow.

• Commit, no half-hearted efforts.

Work at whatever you do. If you’re going to play a sport, you’re going to be the best you can be, and you’re going to work at it. It’s not going to just be when the defined practices are assigned. Whenever you’re in school, you’re going to work at it and you’re going to learn. And have a career, not a job. Get value out of the work and take pride in the results.

• Leverage the power of storytelling.

Dad understands the power of storytelling because we all learn from stories, and he’s a fantastic storyteller.

Both of my parents are great storytellers, and my brother is a career storyteller. He gets paid to tell stories. So storytelling is a Mastovich trait. 

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, Mike “Tike” Mastovich Sr.

And Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

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