Today is the eighth day of the new blog series entitled Bring Your Leadership to Life! Join us throughout the month of March and beyond as we feature guest bloggers who share their perspective on how they bring their leadership to life! This blog series highlights the theme of the 2nd Annual Evening for Austin Leading Ladies, an event that SOS Leadership is honored to be hosting in partnership with The Concordia MBA on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at Concordia University Texas. Learn more about this powerful event and register at www.austinleadingladies.com.
By Chadwin Schroder Barley, Realtor at Keller Williams and Founder of MKT2WIN – Marketing Consulting Services – www.mkt2win.com
Leadership…what is it?…how do I become a good leader?…or better yet, in what ways do I bring leadership to life? Answers to these questions are hard to come by and take time to evolve in their imperfect perfection.
If you simply google the term “leadership” either on its own or as a string of words, like “qualities of strong leaders,” you can easily find a quick answer to a complex idea. Lots of sound advice will surface as well as list of well-known admirable qualities including: honesty, confidence, tenacity, creativity – and the like. Which makes sense, right? I mean who doesn’t want to be led by a perfect person who is skilled not just at one or two cool traits but who has actually mastered a LONG list of enviable talents?…And who, by the way, puts them all seamlessly together in their day to day life like a well-rehearsed rendition of (the world’s famous opera) La Traviata?
The traditional corporate person spends many years within one organization and can provide insight as to how they have adjusted their leadership style serving many of the same people over the course of their long-term tenure in one or few locations. My experience is a little different. I left my traditional career more than ten years ago when I decided to have children and needed a more flexible approach with which to earn a living. It was in 1999 that I launched my business as a marketing consultant. On a yearly basis I have the opportunity to get into the trenches with 4 or more DIFFERENT executive level teams. My job requires me to get to know the CEO, CFO and CTO as well as a few directors of an organization fast and well. In a few days’ time, I have to learn what they’ve been doing as a company (the products and services they provide), what they’re doing now and what they plan to do – over the next year, five years or even ten years. I then have to help them formulate a plan as they also decide, based upon their budget, who the players will actually be to execute that plan in order to accomplish their goals. It’s no small leadership task, and believe me…I’ve made mistakes. Lots of mistakes. But what I’ve found is that mistakes lead to understanding and the exercise of making a mistake, struggling through the resolution of it and coming out of that fiery pit with only a few scars is actually the mark of a true leader.
And therein lies the answer to the question that I’ve been asked to answer today “In what ways do you bring leadership to life?” Well, as I said before, I’m a work in progress. But to me, leadership is nothing more than being the type of person who people actually want to follow. In order to accomplish this, I frequently make a list of the people who are a part of my life that I want to follow. What I’ve found time and again is that those who make my list are not the autocratic type or those who gripe and complain at every turn in order to bully people into getting the job done. No. They are those rare and special friends that always seem to show up with a smile on their face, a willingness to learn and a desire to be a person of purpose – a beacon of optimism. They are hard workers and they lead by example. And so, that is what I try to do in my everyday life.
Because, listen, whether you are a stay-at-home parent, a volunteer in your church or community, or the President of your company – you should always strive to be like that person that you always want to be around. And if you don’t feel like it today, fake it til you make it! And when you stumble and fall, capitalize on those errors – readjust, put a smile on your face and start again. That’s what I try to do to bring leadership to my own life…because that’s the kind of person I’d like to follow.
Stay tuned in the days to come as the Bring Your Leadership to Life Series continues….