Welcome to YOU Make a Difference.  Stories...observations and reflection on our Leadership Journey!

When I Become a Leader....

When I Become a Leader....

How often growing up did you mumble under your breath “when I'm an adult…I will NEVER..."  I would argue that , a parent can do 9 out of 10 things “right” but as we go through our formative years – we often remember the few things they did "wrong".  This sparks the statement

If I ever become a parent – I will…..

-        never make my kids do…

-        never say…

-        let them do whatever they want whenever they want…

-        BE BETTER

You get the point and I am sure…like me…you can easily come up with a handful of things your parents did, or didn’t do, that were on your list.  Lately I am coming to the conclusion that…

“I am NOT making the same mistakes my parents did…I am making NEW ones”

RATS…I was going to be the PERFECT PARENT….and my kids were going to know that….appreciate that….and be the best human beings ever because they were raised “right”.  The reality is, my kids don’t know all the things I am “saving” them from that my parents did because I don’t do them.  I am making NEW mistakes and that is all that they see.  Who knew what a paradox this would be for me?

So….what does this have to do with our leadership journey?  Well….when we start out in our career, we work for a lot of different people and those leaders can do a lot of things right (which we rarely give them credit for) and we focus on a lot of what they are doing wrong.  We swear that when we become leaders – things will be different and that we will be better in so many ways than those that came before us.  As in the parenting example, we try to not replicate what drove us crazy on our rise throughout our career…but….instead we are making new mistakes.

At the end of the day – as a leader (as in parenting) if we apply all our learning and experience to raise our teams the best way we know how we must embrace the responsibility for how that will be perceived.  So while this may not be the vision of the “best leader you swore you would be…we should keep top of mind that…

“compassion, connection, vulnerability, courage and perseverance are traits that will serve you well as you grow into the leader you were meant to be”

To end where I began…I have accepted that I will not be the perfect parent (or leader despite avoiding what I thought were the most egregious pitfalls) and that the new mistakes I am making are mine…and mine alone.  I am also guessing that my kids (and the teams that I have led) will be ok…just like I was… as long as I continue to be authentic…caring and present for them.  I hope I am leading by example on how to navigate the challenging waters when things don’t always go right....when WE don't always do it right.  For being resilient and taking the lessons learned from our experiences is what forges us into who we were meant to be….agree?

Leadership questions of the week for YOU:  Can you think of instances in the last couple of weeks where you caught yourself doing or saying something that used to frustrate you (or that you didn’t understand) about former leaders that you are now doing yourself?  How important is it – to ensure that as we do these things – that we interject our own experience on it to help those we are interacting with understand why we are doing it – so they learn faster than we did?  What advice do you have for other emerging leaders that they can understand and appreciate why we do these things we do?

Thanks for reading and remember....YOU make a difference!

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Instinct & Clarity

Leadership is a lot Like Parenting

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