Three things I wish I knew about being a leader before I was one.

By November 19, 2018 Food for thought
  1. I wished I knew I was one. Yep – that I actually already was one. I was a leader well before I knew I was leading. And this was even though I didn’t ‘manage a team’. For well over a decade I was operating as a self employed advisor (still am) across various roles – short and long term, small local things and big highly visible projects, contracted to deliver results. So, I was just ‘doing what I said I would do’, delivering on my promise for what I was contracted – and paid to do. I was activating people and getting sh*t done. I was communicating to engage and influence. And I was inspiring others to believe in a vision of what a collective believed. If only I had known that was Leadership. I can only imagine how much more I could have helped organisations I worked alongside and within if I had a boosted sense of confidence about the pathway I was forging for others through that project. Leadership doesn’t come with a badge. It’s a willingness to put your neck out, state your case and bring others along with you in pursuit of a common goal.
  1. That I didn’t need to know all the answers. A tricky one, as a consultant, I felt I was paid to have ALL the answers, and more! That in fact, what I discovered, was the power of asking the right questions. Great questions allow great answers and solutions often reveal themselves, and better still, the solution had far greater agency as it was ‘owned’ by the people in the right place, not by me.
  1. That I didn’t need to do it all alone. I wish I’d known that the people who helped me in my early career years, were in fact responsible for my development and progress, and shared in my success. Any they were as responsible for when I sunk and blamed myself entirely. We really were all in it together. The good and the bad. My commitment now is to help others, to be all in, good and bad with them too.

And 4, for good measure, in a ‘I like to over deliver’ default style ….I wish I knew that experiencing lack of leadership was going to be the greatest learning for how I would treat others as they emerged into their careers … I learned that I would need to be the leader I wanted to have had.

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