I find myself in leadership-type positions with some regularity, which is a strange thing for someone who doesn't really consider herself a natural leader. In my mind, it happens because I like to be involved, and if you're involved with something for long enough, you wind up up being in charge of it. But of course, that's not the case. There are a lot of people out there who like to be involved in things, and they don't all wind up as leaders.
Now, when I'm a leader, I generally see myself as a basic support to everyone else. I'm not special or important, I'm just the one who makes sure everyone can get their stuff done and the one who sets the general course of action. I often remind myself that my role is to serve everyone else.
Recently I had to lead a big, potentially-super-contentious meeting for a board I'm the chair of, and I was pretty nervous. I suddenly felt quite out of my depth, leadership-wise. I sent out a few "I need support!" texts, and my Dad responded with this gem:
First of all, I love Dad Texts. They are always a mixture of practical details and super supportive, encouraging language.
That aside, what great advice! Sure, I got it after the meeting was already done, but still - as the leader, your job is always to re-orient the conversation around the big picture. Everyone else's jobs are specific. They are getting things done and that matters, but it's very easy to get caught up in a rabbit trail and forget why you're doing something in the first place. The leader's job is to remind you.
I like that. I can do that.
What's more inspiring than something that makes you say "Yes, I can do that."?