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7 Questions on Leadership with Greg Sumpter

Name: Greg Sumpter

Title: Director

Organisation: Grayson County Juvenile Services

Greg Sumpter, Ph.D. is currently the Director – Chief Juvenile Probation Officer of Grayson County Juvenile Services in North Texas. He has been in public service and worked with youth and families for about three decades. Greg is a member of Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT). Greg is a Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) practitioner.

Greg serves on the board with the National Partnership of Juvenile Services in the Court Services discipline. Greg is a member of the Texas Probation Association. Greg enjoys sports and all forms of storytelling, including film and books. In the past several years, he has ventured out into writing and publishing a few books, one on the history of juvenile justice, one on a new theory of leadership (Need Based Leadership), and the other a mystery novel around social justice issues.

He has three more books in the works. His Bachelor’s degree (Criminology; Arkansas State University) and Master’s degree (Criminal Justice & Management; Sam Houston State University) were focused on criminal justice and his doctoral work was in leadership development (Leadership Studies; Dallas Baptist University).

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Greg's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Balance (structure and nurture, alignment and moving forward, going fast or going far)

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My leadership origin story probably came out of starting at an organization that did not have room for me on their softball teams. I was stubborn enough that I started one with another group that wasn't on the "good teams". I was able to come out of my shell in that role and saw that others were willing to walk alongside me.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I try to keep the same wake up time and sleep time almost every day. I know when I do my best work and save some creative space for those times. I schedule busy work at times when I have less energy. I take brief self care breaks when needed.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

You are only lonely at the top when you allow yourself to be. It takes intentionality to stay connected and it is possible.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

I've written a book - Need Based Leadership - that takes the best from some of those handful of books that impacted me. Having gone through a rigorous PhD program in leadership, I'm really struck by the simplicity and profound application from Turn the Ship Around.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

A business is the best version of itself when individuals are the best versions of themselves. Be the best version of you. Help others be the best versions of themselves. Success will follow.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

When you treat others well, you will usually end up right where you need to be.

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