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The value of leadership

It’s important to have a true role model or someone that you admire in your life. It creates a goal post for you to work towards.

I remember doing a training a number of years ago that included a section about emotional intelligence. The facilitator asked us all to think of a leader that we knew, a boss or coach or teacher type of thing, that we thought was a good leader, whatever that meant to us. And to write down all of the qualities they had. I remember thinking to one of my previous boss’ boss who was probably one of the most admirable leaders I will ever meet. I listed out all of her qualities.

The facilitator continued that those are the qualities of a good leader, inviting us to consider how we show up. I could see things that were true about me on the list I had written and I considered the differences that were there. I could be someone like her.

As I grew in my previous career, faced new roles and challenges, I would often ask myself two questions.

First, how do I think she would handle this?

Second, would she handle this the way I did?

You can see rapid change in your life when you implement even just a small change like that. It was easy to think about it while I did other things, the laundry or while driving, I just took the time to think things through and to approach things thoughtfully instead of handling things in the ways I always had before.

That really changed things for me. I started to do more self work and to hold myself to higher standards instead of trying to justify something. I learned that I am the queen of justification. You give me a scenario and tell me the desired outcome and I can write a play about why that was the best possible choice to make. It kept me stuck for a long time. You have gifts that you already have that you’re using to hurt yourself and you just can’t see it. I can see the gift now as being able to see all different perspectives surrounding an issue instead of just the ones that serve me.

I would sometimes ask myself who I would show up as if I were working with her and figure out how to authentically show up like that all the time. That was one of my ah-ha moments.

I realized that the vision I had for myself on the inside didn’t match who I was showing up as on the outside. Then I had to journey into all of the places that the reactions I had came from. Find all of the parts of me that had been hurt and had decided that the response was the only possible option. Figure out where that came from and just have the most compassion and empathy for that little girl.

You need to question all of your behaviour and your beliefs about who you are. “I am who I am and I’m good with it” ok but does all of your behaviour align with your values? That’s how you begin to see the gaps in your worldview.

When you look at a situation that you went through, explain how each of your values is reflected in the decisions you make. That’s when you know you’re living authentically. We admire in others what we don’t see in ourselves and the key is to become the things we feel are missing. That’s why solid leadership is so essential.

When you’re finding a job and interviewing with the manager or their boss, you only want to take jobs where that person is someone you can look up to. That you’re excited to learn from and to push yourself to impress. That’s the best way to move up and you shouldn’t waste your time with a leader who just isn’t it because you will never be challenged in a way that feels good. You’ll hate your job and stay the same. Resigned to the middle I guess. If you aren’t in a situation like that then I would suggest you decide you want to grow and find something different.

A good leader supports the growth of their team with their boundaries, empathy, knowledge. You have to understand your values and the values of the business and you need to consider those values from all sides to really the meaning and lessons they hold enough to be able to support the success on top of the foundation they lay.

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