The amazing part about leadership is that you can challenge yourself to grow and be better every day. And you can do that easily by leading by example.
I am so grateful to work with an amazing group of people. As their employer, I have a responsibility to provide them with stability, encouragement, growth, and potential – basically everything they could want to thrive in an environment where they are accepted and challenged. What I have struggled with over the past two decades is how to create this environment and culture.
This has not been an easy journey and I marvel at people in their 20s and 30s who excel at leadership. In part, I think it’s because I’m like a lot of people who go through the world in silence, suffering from depression and anxiety. It’s daunting to show emotions and weaknesses when you’re supposed to be the leader. But this is the exact reason why I don’t think of my employees as employees. I regard them as my co-workers, as an extension of my family, as people who have my back, knowing that I have theirs. To create and foster an environment where we accept each other as human beings, flaws and all. Where they see me falter and then see me work to pick myself back up again. They help me and our business more than they could ever know. These people don’t judge me or make me feel guilty for working 4 days a week so I can have some “mental health” time. I question my abilities constantly because I want to be my best for them, for me. And yet, that’s exactly what pushes me.
Last week I received an email from an employee I hadn’t heard from in over 10 years, thanking me for my kindness back then. It didn’t necessarily end well. And although I don’t like to use the word ”regret”, there are things I wish I did differently as a manager and leader. Thankfully I learned and adjusted. It’s something we all have the ability to do – we all can step up and be leaders for ourselves as well as the people and animals who are in our lives every day.
To every reader, you have the ability to be a leader. Do something to step up, push your limits, and be a better person. Being a leader is a challenging but wonderful experience, one that I embrace with respect. I will continue to falter, of that I am sure, but I will also continue to grow and share open experiences. My hope is this inspires just one reader to embrace this challenge to flourish with me.