With four months to go in 2020, I am watching our country still radically changing. I see division from social unrest in our cities. Covid-19 is wreaking havoc on our nation, causing health issues, job loss, and having financial impacts. Families are struggling to balance work, school, and life. I have heard from many of you who are working at home, managing working with the public, or who have changed jobs, are furloughed, or even laid off. There are still so many unknowns. Our world has shifted so much in the past six months. This all makes me think about leadership and the importance it plays in our lives.
When I was a young leader, one of my mentors told me, “they are always watching.” I took that to mean that I had to be perfect, and whatever decisions I made would be judged. What I have learned through the many years of leading from that time is that the statement is true to a certain extent. People are always watching those who lead them, and by the pure nature of being human, we judge. However, being a leader is so much more than that. Leadership in 2020 means being authentic, living your values, showing what I recently heard in one of our GOOD communities of practice, “radical kindness.” It means being vulnerable and admits you have flaws because we are all human, and as humans, we all have flaws. Leadership is about working together and allowing others to grow and flourish. Leadership is complex because it is about people.
As a coach, I have learned about judgment, assumptions, stories we tell ourselves, opinions, and unconscious bias. As an emotional scientist, I have also learned that our brains are potent and emotions have a powerful effect over our bodies. All of these mental processes can hold us hostage and prevent us from being our authentic selves and the best leaders we can be.
In a time where we need leadership more than ever before, I ask you: what type of leader you are? What mental processes do you allow to get in your way? Regardless of whether you own your own business, are an independent contributor, or lead a large team, you are a leader to someone. What values do you hold deeply, and demonstrate daily to those around you. Someone is always watching. What do you want them to see?
As we get ready to elect a new board, and start to prepare for 2021, I am honored to be part of this incredible network. I believe our network has outstanding leaders with shared values that we can all learn from. We continue to grow and learn from each other, which is a tribute to each one of you. You have incredible talents that together make this network unique. Thank you for your leadership. Leadership does make a difference.