Understanding what it takes to be a good leader is something along the lines of looking for the fountain of youth. Everyone thinks they have THE thing that will make the difference, the book, the idea, the tool, the skill, the software, the, the, the, the, it could go on for days. The reality is that both some of it is right and some of it is wrong and some of it is just plain ridiculous.
A good leader is everything and nothing all at the same time. How can that be? How can a leader be nothing? That's a great question, a question that will require significantly more time than this 'short chat with E' but what I will say is this, a leader has to know that they are nothing without their team. Nothing. If they don't know that, and I mean KNOW that ... the kind of knowing that you feel deep in your soul then the team you manage won't build magical things that change the world. They might work well. They might get the job done. They might smile and nod, but do they bleed for your mission? Do they bleed for your vision? Do they know that you will do the same for them?
How you answer these questions will define and shape you and the organization(s) you lead. So, let's get too it then. Why do I yell from the rooftops that #PERSPECTIVEMATTERS? Why do I talk to everyone all the time? Why do I ask a million questions? Why is good enough never an acceptable answer? Why is that’s the way we’ve always done it not enough? Why do I push boundaries and demand radical honesty from my team? Why do I lead the way I do?
Because it works. Because through that willingness to roll up my sleeves and get right there in the muck with my people it showed them that no job was too small and that I wanted to understand it from their point-of-view and balanced with my complete and total unwillingness to accept anything other than the best for my customers my team created magic. A team that trusted one another. A team that I had the privilege of leading for a long time. Things have changed a lot since then.
There is time for mourning and there is a time for action. Right now, it is time for action. Tonight, I went and took family photos, and I was sharing with the mom some of my personal journey over the last 6 months. A journey that includes loss, sadness, and shame. I told her that in spite of that I just kept saying YES to every opportunity. Big. Small. Near. Far. Fun. Hard. Exhausting. It didn't matter. I said YES.
Later, I sent her a few snaps from my computer screen because I was excited to share them with her and I am going to quote what she said back to me ... well, just because.
"Oh, thank you for these! You and Chloe were great! Thank you so much-we can't wait to see them all (but no rush-keep saying 'yes!' to those calls)"
That's what leadership looks like. Kindness. Compassion. Support.
Thoughts by Elizabeth