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I Knew I Was a Leader When…

 

I’m not gonna lie, I get mushy around the Holidays. Especially Christmas. Something about the traditions, the atmosphere created by season, the time spent with family. All of it just makes me grateful and reflective. This year wasn’t any different.

As I watched my three children opening their presents, I was filled with joy. They were so excited to see what awaited them after trying to be good all year it made me remember how excited I was when I was their age. The madness of opening present after present, the joy of playing with a toy for the first time, the self-involvement of it all. I remembered and noticed how much things were different now. I experienced a shift.

Nowadays my excitement comes from watching my kids get the spoils of Christmas. No longer am I eager to see what I got. What’s in store for me. Now I get MORE joy from what they get. For their bright eyes filled with happiness. That’s how I know that I am a parent. I am happy when THEY are happy. I enjoy THEIR successes. I suffer with THEIR challenges.

The same happened in my career. When I first started, I was focused on my wins, my successes and how I was going to contribute. I was laser focused on developing my skills and advancing my career. It was the same when I transitioned to a leadership position.

When I first became a supervisor, my focus was on me. How I would be able to make my team the best team ever. How I was going to create a great team culture. How I was going to deliver to my department leaders. I was a supervisor, but I was no leader. Truth is transitioning into a leader is tough. Just like being a parent is tough. It’s not about you anymore. Simon Sinek, the author of “Start With Why” says that being a leader does not put you in charge. It makes you responsible for the ones in YOUR charge. But eventually I experienced a shift. Just like I did as a parent.

I knew I was a leader the moment I started caring more about my team’s accomplishments than my own. When I was more excited about one of my folks getting a promotion than me getting credit for it. I knew when I was a leader when I figured out that it was not about me. Just like it is not about me during the Holidays anymore. It’s about everyone else. And that is more than enough for me.

Andre Mello is a coach and a leader (on most days). He has been in leadership and coaching for over 10 years. If you would like to connect with Andre please visit www.wysecoaching.com.

 
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