Leadership Safari


Ever feel what it’s like to be a leader with cameras in your face? Wanna try? How about captaining a sailboat for a day. Afternoon, rather.

S: For the first time in over five years, I’m not in a leadership role. No team to manage, only my own thoughts and actions to weigh. Despite many travels in the last year, I continued to manage small teams, until recently. My projects are completed and all I need to do is write my capstone thesis for graduate school. Yet, somehow, these last two months of quiet time have taught me more about leadership than in any of my years prior. How can that be?

A: Was it because I was sole crew to a captain on a sailboat? Or acclimating to my new focus in writing curriculum based on scientist interviews in the field? Or listening very carefully, in the safe places as colleagues share with me, to lessons that will improve my leadership?

F: I don’t know. I haven’t thought about that yet. I feel like I’m too busy improving my actions to match my words, and vice versa.

A: I only just recently realized that my leadership duties had paused. Imagine! Going from years of managing dozens of peoples’ contributions on highly specific teams to… just… me. I guess I’ve been so busy thinking about my own actions that I didn’t connect that I was no longer monitoring others’. Maybe it’s evidence that the responsibility of our own path is full, as leaders or as followers. Right now, however, I’m focusing on a bigger leader within.

R: Example. Picture being on a sailboat in the Caribbean, some place like Belize or Mexico. The place doesn’t really matter, just like in leadership. What matters most is what is done on said hypothetical boat in hypothetical nowhere. You may be a leader or follower in this hypothetical situation, but you must understand that every word you say will be weighed against your actions. And, go…

I: When, not if, I get to do it all over again, I will remember this lesson. Where many of my lessons are learned, and ready to put into action. I could toss the cliché “good leader equals good follower” advice, although it is quite true.

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