Coming off the 2018 NAHC Conference and their theme of authentic leadership, I wanted to discuss what being a true leader meant to our team. So, after some insightful and fun conversations around how our leaders operate and what shaped their style, I thought I’d share with all of you.
These are all words our team feels make up a true leader. Someone who is unshakable, yet still pliable. Steadfast enough to hunker down and execute, yet fluid in their approach and adaptation. Being bold, yet intentional. Sometimes it is difficult to understand the ingredients that make up that secret sauce: some serious focus, a whole lot of strength, even more gratitude, and a pinch of moxie.
We swapped war stories of tough projects. Joked about the tidbits gleaned from management books on ‘Dealing with People You Can’t Stand’ or ‘Winning Friends and Influencing People’. What we realized is, that depending on the project or the team, our approach shifts. There have been times we needed to be at the frontline going into battle, times we stood side by side, and times we took a backseat. We lend a helping hand wherever our team needs us, but lead, no matter from what position. We manage changing variables on the surface, lead at the core. Through our actions, through our words, through our demeanor.
We all know we need to be able to take a step back to understand the project at hand and the dynamic of the people we are working with. But, always remember that some of the most important facets of a high functioning team come from the environment. The environment we foster as leaders. We need to give our team the tools and set the stage. Create the climate to trust each other without question, to feel like they can be collaborative and make an impact, to support one another, to hold themselves and each other accountable, and to be unencumbered by selfish ambition.
I asked Marc, our CIO, about his favorite leadership quote. His response was, “You know that scene in Coach Carter where Samuel L. Jackson walks into the gym and to the team at their desks? The part where one student gives a speech about our deepest fear being the fact that we are powerful beyond measure? That whole quote.” Well, I went back to my own desk and did a quick YouTube search for that scene and I’d highly recommend you take a minute of your day to do the same. It’s a good one. I’d go as far as to say it was one of the most impactful quotes I’ve heard in a while, and the coach wasn’t even the person who delivered the message. It was one of his players. True leadership emboldens people to be better, do better; on and off the court, in and outside of the office. True leaders don’t change work performance, they change people. They broaden and elevate the interests of their following. Leaders breed leaders.
Written by Jared Robey with contributions from Brean Bartlett, Matthew Moore, Marc Johnson, and David Rutledge.