Just on a quick break from school work… I was logged into my leadership “class”, replying to a discussion thread which asked each student to identify her own leadership style. Having just wrapped up that vocational counseling in the fall, I’ve given this plenty of thought lately, so I just started clicking away at the keyboard, none too mindfully, figuring the answer would come easily.
And it did. And here it is:
I did take the survey, but I didn’t bother doing the math to find my total – it seemed pretty clear where my strengths and weaknesses are in terms of leadership style. And I think I know why. I have actually given this a ton of thought over the last couple of years, because I’ve always found myself in leadership roles, or being encouraged to lead, and without exception, I’ve resented the stress and shenanigans that come with the position.
I think the qualities that wind me up in leadership roles are that I am curious, a voracious learner, loyal, grateful, articulate, independent and planful. All of those traits combine to make me a pretty good self-starter and someone who gets bored easily so she gets into side projects that are ultimately designed to make things run more smoothly around the workplace. But what they never understand – and what I’ve only just realized about myself – is that I AM a natural leader, but only of myself!! Hahaha… what good is that???
Where I completely fall apart is in the ‘people skills’. I’m often crusty, occasionally a know-it-all, impatient, critical, and unapologetically tardy. If I had a boss like me, I’d quit. So whenever I get a whiff of one my bosses trying to promote me, I start digging in my heels.
Unfortunately, I think over the years I’ve even become a slightly cruddier employee as a result. In an effort to dissuade the encouragement to step into a lead role, I notice myself volunteering less, working more to rule, offering little. I don’t like it at all; it’s counter to my innate work ethic, but now that I’ve noticed it, I can at least begin to resume being my best at work again.
While I was re-reading it before saving the post, I was sort of stunned – joyfully stunned – by the nice compliments I paid myself. I was equally pleased to see how candidly honest I was about my failings, and how I didn’t get mired down in my imperfections, I just made my point and moved on.
It made me so happy – seemed like a post I’d have read of someone else’s not long ago, and would have envied the self-assured tone. I’d probably have thought of the author as someone who seemed to know herself pretty well, someone emotionally strong and healthy. And I’m her! (at least some of the time – and that’s an improvement!)5 years ago