If you watched the video above, and listened to the words, you will get what this post is all about. “The hardest part of ending, is starting again.” The thought that I have been holding on to something not even there, or that I was doing what I felt was right, but have learned to be wrong, fits why I have chosen to do some specific things with my squad at work. And not that I necessarily did anything wrong more than just not gaining the full perspective needed to ensure that even if ‘right’ in theory, I didn’t make a fool of myself because of the way I presented that ‘right’.
Confused? Me too. However, I have been slowly realizing I have to change something, Me! I have to end the fear and step out, I have to take that chance and be confident enough in myself to believe I can make a difference. I have to have hope, I have to care…and I have to be smart about the process.
Awhile ago (3 years now I believe), I spoke out and went through a horrendously bumpy ride that to this day, hasn’t ended. I thought by speaking out and voicing my opinion that I was doing the right thing. Even if I was, maybe I didn’t do it the right way. The Leadership Test, as learned while attending a performance management and leadership seminar presented by Gallagher-Westfall Group is this; “Am I doing the Right thing, at the Right time, in the Right way and for the Right reason?” Using that test to look back at the beginning of this bumpy ride, I would have to say I failed the Leadership test. But, that is part of developing; failing.
So, fast forward to today. I have graduated with my Master’s from Johns Hopkins University, Public Safety Executive Leadership program, I continue to yearn for more and have found myself gravitating toward groups, people and forums both virtual and real that exude the qualities I seek in myself in order to be a great leader. So, what steps have I taken? At first, not too much at all. I observed, listened, ask simple questions and learned all I could. I was finding myself to be more patient and understanding, and not as pushy in expressing my point of view. I still will catch myself not being effective, but the difference is that I catch myself now.
Now to the beginning, and end. What has ended is my desire or belief that in order to affect any sustainable change I needed to go directly to the top with my proposals and identify all the reasons why my idea was the greatest thing ever. I forgot that change takes time, buy in and growth. It is a process and I wasn’t patient! My perspective began to change through the bumpy road, hence where my #perspectivelead on Twitter comes from. I clearly see now that I should have started slow, simple and easy and tested the waters a bit more before just diving in headfirst (I am just lucky that at this point it doesn’t appear I have any long lasting brain damage.)
I am now a supervisor and have four direct reports. I decided that I wanted to try just having an impact on this small group first. I was very apprehensive about taking the first step. Every one of them were seasoned veterans of the agency and knew their jobs. How was I going to even illicit a response let alone a full buy in or even voluntary participation!? Well, as a great friend and mentor told me, “If you don’t apply, you know you won’t get the job.” WOW! This fits everyday life in about every way. If you don’t try, you will never know. The worst they can say is no… and on and on. It was a moment of clarity, and I finally sat down and typed out an email to my team and waited to see what would happen.
My ultimate goal is to grow trust through open and honest communication. I offered my team up a question; “What is just ONE word you would use to describe a good leader?” Going into the exercise, knowing with me there would be only five responses, I was very interested in what I would get back, if anything at all. To my amazement everyone answered back and half of them actually make a little get together to talk about their answers. To me that is a small success and something I am working on building from. I am going to share the responses now: Empowering, Empathetic, Confident, Devoted and mine was Perspective. One thought I immediately had was how encompassing these words were. It showed me that each of them actually took some time and specifically chose a word that covered a few traits all in one. Obviously leadership is all tied together with these words and an innumerable amount of other words, but I was very impressed still.
My next step was to ask them all to give me no more than two sentences to tell me WHY they chose that specific word. I have a scheduled get together for the end of the month to go over that, but I am hoping that my initial thought will be rewarded with some very insightful responses. I am excited about this new beginning. I feel like the steps I am taking are manageable yet with enough risk at this point to feel a strong reward when it works out successfully. Long and short of it all? Learn from your mistakes and see that ending as a new beginning. Take the lessons and turn them into a positive situation where you make a difference somewhere for someone.
Thank you for reading my ramblings and #leadon my friends! Remember, “If you don’t change it…you may miss it. #perspectivelead.”