Your Leadership Story

Our leadership stories shape who we are and how we respond to situations in the day-to-day actions and decisions of leading. In his book, The Leadership Contract, author Vince Molinaro reminded me that leaders are made not born.  In other words, we are shaped as leaders by our history of life experiences.  So those experiences that tested our resolve and strengthened our resilience make us better leaders. Reflecting on and understanding our  experiences help to shape our story.  (2016)

So what is my story and why do I need one?  Most of us are leaders in some time or place in our lives and will have a story about how we got there. According to Molinaro, the first step is to reflect on our personal experiences when we were at our best and when we were tested or faced adversity.   From those reflections, we will begin to identify common themes of where we demonstrated toughness or resilience, and where we were proud of how we demonstrated ethical behavior or a decision that made a positive impact. The emerging story can give us some clarity about who we are and why we lead the way we do.  The final step is to tell the story to those whom we lead because it is a powerful way to connect and allow others to know us at a deeper more human level.

What’s your story?

(2016) The Leadership Contract, Vince Molinaro


Networking Benefits

I was reminded of the power of networking recently when I was invited to join a group of business leaders in their monthly gathering.  The group is comprised of leader/owners of small to medium-size businesses.  They’ve been meeting for several years to discuss the day-to-day successes and ongoing challenges in their business(es). Everyone contributes by sharing their status update and everyone is expected to respond by providing feedback.  So each business leader gets multiplPeopleMeetinge perspectives on how they might address their challenges. And they get applauded for success such as business growth.

What surprises me about this group is their focus on supportive feedback combined with a celebration of success.  Being listened to by a confidential group of one’s peers with constructive ideas is powerful stuff, and this is followed by a shared celebration of your attained goals.  A very affirming experience.

Networking has so many benefits from generating referrals to raising your profile to building relationships. And this group’s purpose is certainly about all of that.  Being a small business owner is lonely at times, so finding support in the form of encouragement balanced with objective feedback is invaluable. And celebrating successes can be a gift that we rarely give ourselves.

In this group I experienced the power of networking in community, the power of listening, begin heard, engaging with peers, providing feedback, and the power of recognizing and celebrating successes with peers.


New Year’s Lesson

On New Year’s Eve I recalled some wisdom I learned from an influential healthcare leader.   The lesson is that we spend roughly one-third of our lives in bed, one-third of our lives at work and one-third of our lives with our family.  While we don’t have total control over our family members,  we can buy a great mattress and pursue a career we love.

Taking action where I have some control in my life is an obvious first step.  Added to this lesson, my goal this year is to increase my awareness of the dynamics in areas that I have little control yet have an opportunity to influence in constructive ways.

“Life is a flash of lightning in the dark of night. It is a brief time of tremendous potential.” – B. Alan Wallace


The Journey Inside is Warm

I don’t remember it being 20 below in Michigan in the 16 years I’ve lived here, but then I’m a southern gal and have never experienced a winter like this one. Hard core Michiganders who grew up here have lots of fun stories of the big snows of the past.  Lynne’s  husband, Bill told me that he remembered a winter when he had to climb out a window of his home to shovel the snow that had drifted in front of the door just to get outside.

So its no surprise that we all had to cozy inside during our leadership retreat this past weekend. While it was brutally cold outside, we were toasty inside the Inn at the Rustic Gate with warm drinks and delicious, healthy food.  Our time together was spent reflecting deeply on our essence. Symbolically speaking, looking inside is the work of our Leader Journey program – while nourishing our bodies we also nourish our minds and souls. We uncover who we are so that we can tap into our potential as leaders with intention.   This work isn’t easy but it is warm…and as Lynne reminds us it is the work of our heart and soul.