I want you to think about “What does leadership mean to me?”
My Lack of Understanding
I’ve been in leadership roles before. In previous jobs, I’ve been in roles of management. When it came to leadership, I knew how to NOT be a leader, but did not know really how TO be a leader.
- I knew you don’t talk down to your employees.
- You do not leave mid-day for lunch, and not return.
- I knew you did not borrow money from the cash drawer to buy yourself lunch, then tell your employees to just “balance it out, because I’m going to put money back in tomorrow.”
- I knew you did not lie to customers, and employees.
I only had the understanding of what kind of leader I did NOT want to be. I never learned, or was shown what kind of leader TO be.
I took on all the pressure, all the stress, all the duties and responsibilities, not trusting anyone else to do things because I didn’t want something to be messed up. I was the one in charge of making sure everything was right, and when it went wrong, it was on me.
I was eventually mentally and physically exhausted, not just from working almost 7 days a week, from 8-8, but also from my upper manager laying down so much stress and pressure, I ended quitting my job after 5 years. The moment I did, I could feel an immediate load of stress be lifted off of my chest.
I started with the company two weeks later. The moment I got the phone call that I was offered the job, I told my new manager I could start the next day. But, he wanted me to wait the two weeks to leave my company on good terms. That did not happen. I quit that job the next day,
This new culture is 180 degree difference from what I had experienced. I was honestly skeptical at first that so many people actually enjoyed working at this company. It was just unheard of at any previous job I’ve had. I’ve been here just over 2 yrs now.
Here is what I have been shown, taught, and learned about leadership working here.
- Leaders make other leaders
- Listen to your employees
- Employees do not work for their managers, the mangers work for the employees
- Take care of your people
- Give people opportunities according to their strengths
- As a leader do not expect everyone to work as hard as you, this is your team. Own It.
- Again, Leaders make other leaders. They do not make followers.
I was not a leader before. I was simply an overpaid, overworked, individual, who happened to be in charge of making sure a building didn’t burn down.
Why am I a leader now?
- Leaders made me a leader
- Leaders listened to me
- Leaders worked for me, to help me develop
- Leaders took care of me
- Leaders gave me opportunities according to my strengths
- Leaders did not expect me to work as hard as hard as them, they owned it.