Tag Archives: leader

Yes, we can: leadership

11 Jan

A year ago today, nervous and scared, I started what was then my new job. I had never carried such a weighty leadership role before, and I wasn’t sure if I was up to the task. Of course, the doubts were rooted in my own fears and insecurities, but it went deeper than that – to that place of uncertainty. That murky place where you can’t even see yourself because you don’t know what shape your face is taking, and I had no idea what a leader would look like within me.

To my surprise and delight, this has been one of the most fulfilling responsibilities that I have ever taken on in my life. Yes, it has stretched me thin, taken me to my own edge and sometimes sparked all the doubts that live within me, but that’s what growing feels like – uncomfortable and slightly painful.

In this past year, I have constantly self-evaluated, asking, “how can I be better? can I approach this differently, and what might I learn?”

Through this process, I have been given the opportunity to live my own leadership philosophy, and with that, deepen and enrich it.

A year ago today, I committed myself to some guiding principles and they were:

  1. Take responsibility – if it happens on your team, it’s your fault.
  2. Empower – do not diminish your people. Guide them as you can and give them opportunities to shine.
  3. Gratitude – say thank you, appreciate the time that is put into tasks because most people would rather be home.
  4. Teach – share knowledge, and if mistakes happen (as they always do) either learn, or help others learn.

These principles have served me well, for they are reflective of what I have always believed –¬†leadership is not a selfish pose of personal gain. Effective leaders do not diminish and belittle others. They do not shame them and rub their face in their mistakes. Instead, they create an empowering environment where people can discover what they’re truly capable of – because it is always more than they believe.

That has been one of the greatest learnings of my life; that within live reservoirs of resilience and they’re there to drink from when you need them. Eight years ago today I was¬†unemployed, unable to get a full-time job, living with a couple in a tiny room and feeling like all that I believed myself to be was not within my reach.

But, let’s remember, “yes, we can,” and always; that we can never do it alone. That “can” can never happen from a locked down place of fear and uncertainty.

For, we are a nation in crisis, and the face of it takes many shapes: political, socioeconomic, racial, gendered, and it makes us question who we are and what do we represent? Asking, “what are the values that define us?” This question is one that we all need to personally answer for ourselves.

I see a demanding road ahead for it’s a path that I well-recognize – one that feels uncertain and slightly painful. My hope is that the answers to our questions lead us towards grace, so that we do not diminish one another. That this moment makes us learn, so that the face of it is not one we look towards in the future – and instead, we look at the answers that live within our greater selves.