I once read a quote by Simon Sinek that rang so true for me- “Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge”. I have met some exceptional leaders who do this extremely well (Teena Ellison; Julie Rodda; Kalen Brown; Mark Dawson; Patti Webster; Scott Sanders; Jama Shelton; Bill Simmons; Judy Stewart; and Vern Streeter- to name a few). I also found that loving and caring for your team comes with some intense pain. When I invest so much into people- I truly have their best interest at heart. And sometimes that means getting out of the way for another blessing…. Guidance isn’t always accepted, layoffs aren’t understood, write-ups getting internalized as betrayal. It’s a really tough balancing act. Many leaders have advised “you can’t love them- you are their boss”. I wonder though, have we forgotten that we all only get this one shot at life? We all experience pain, feel alone at times, want to be seen and heard? The best leaders I have seen mentor, invest, and bring out the best in the people they supervise. That include assisting them with becoming the very best people they can be. Life’s greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved. I want to be part of that.
I am fascinated how an organization’s culture is the outgrowth of the personality of the leader. If the organization’s mission is humanitarian in nature, then should the leader have a servant heart? I believe YES! I love creating an “ethical will” when I enter a new organization. This is a statement of what is important and valuable about the work of the agency. Helps us clarify the vision and not get sidetracked by all the influx of options, problems, and competing philosophies on how to operate. The very best leaders are optimistic, compassionate, emotionally intelligent, and take care of their people. I am eternally grateful for the leaders who mentored me along the way and taught me how to love so big.