“Real leaders have no need to lead – they’re content to point the way.” – Henry Miller
Fifteen graduates have found over the past six months that pointing the way to others is all about knowing themselves. And about believing in themselves.
The 15 CMDHB staff, ranging from cleaning, clinical and nursing staff, and social workers, have just graduated from the inaugural Aspiring Leaders Programme which started in February.
It was a pretty proud moment for everyone – tutors, students and their colleagues alike. It was obvious that they had come through the course with a whole new perspective on leadership and on themselves.
Self-regard and self-belief was a recurring theme for our graduates. One of the world’s greatest leaders, Winston Churchill, demonstrated this in a big way. In 1897 he wrote to his mother: “I have faith in my star – that I am intended to do something in this world.” And he did. Of course, when he made mistakes they were pretty monumental – Gallipoli would have to be up there as the most disastrous mistake he could have made. But he had his victories too, winning WW2.
Then, what does it take to be recognised as a leader? Recognising your strengths, having vision, working effectively in a team, communication, respect, understanding, and the courage to make mistakes . . .
And to stand out? It’s different strokes for different folks – for many of us, it’s speaking up, standing out, eye contact, self-promotion and putting ourselves forward. For others, these are things are no-no’s in their cultures.
Our course participants were all Maori, Asian and Pacific, and the differences in cultural expectations were highlighted when it comes to leadership.
Lack of eye contact, no self-praise or self-promotion, putting others first are all attributes to be encouraged in some cultures. Not speaking up can mean fear of saying something wrong and causing offence, being quiet is showing respect, rather than not listening.
But these are the very things too, that can lead to frustration and lack of job-satisfaction.
What huge room for misunderstanding – and what a great opportunity to understand other perspectives.
We need to recognise that potential leaders are all through our organisations, whether it’s in health, manufacturing, in our schools and universities, and throughout society. Great leaders with vision will make the difference for all of us
Let’s recognise the leaders in our midst, encourage them and them get motivated so they can point the way for us all.