Monday, February 7, 2011

Reflecting on Traits of Leaders

 This one's simple. Being "Clutch," from what I was able to gather, is what I'd like to be for sure. Clutch is being on your game, being sharp, that person who get's it done in the line of fire, basically a team-work bad-ass. Someone who owns their role in the situation and takes action, and not just any action, but the right actions at the right time, with the team. It's like being a team-player extraordinaire. I'd like to be that. Next.

Really delegating: 
Jennifer expanded on this by offering that delegation is when one "gives people both responsibility and authority." This, I realized, has been a source of much of my struggle as both a leader and team member. Warning: Inner-Jerk Alert. Looking back on my experiences as a leader in college, I never felt comfortable giving responsibilities to others. I wanted things done the way I thought they should be done, and I didn't trust them to do it like I would do it.  It boils down to my challenges around trust.  Also, the projects were always "my babies." If I did all the work, I'd have all the authority, and all the responsibility, and all the glory in the end.  Go Me!  However, as a worker or team-member, I hated working for people like me. What's that tell you?

So, that must have been a real bummer for the people who were trying to work with me though. How cool would it have been if I had been able to give them both responsibility and authority over parts of the project, giving them a reason to feel passionate and engaged, to be invested, to be as in love with the work as I was.  I'm so glad I've had these insights and can catch myself and do things differently now.  Take that Inner-Jerk.

Keeping the human aspect, quirky and real.
Maria got to me with this one. It struck a chord because it really underlined for me the importance of being yourself, and why it matters to much.  I think it matters for the exact reason why it's so hard to do. It's hard to do because its scary to let yourself be seen, especially when you are trying to be a leader, when want to be perceived as cool, capable, powerful, etc.  All those traits we're supposed to be.

I know at times I've found it easier to be a persona than to be a person.  Under the microscope, I'll sometimes feel myself retreat behind an almost imperceptible veil that looks more like what I think other's want me to be, rather than just being who I really am.  It's safer to have a song and dance, to dazzle everyone, or to simply hide. That persona's dance, however entertaining, just isn't mine. No one wants to have a relationship with some else's persona... with their public representative, but that's who we often send to the meeting, the presentation, the date, the house party, on our behalf.  Maybe I shouldn't say "our" but "my," but I have a suspicion that I'm not alone in this.

Inspiring people are courageous enough to let themselves be seen for who they are, the good and the less than good, quirks and all. Willingness to be vulnerable is what it takes to be raw and real for others, and to truly connect with others.  Maybe they own their Inner-Jerk so it won't own them, and so they can just be their true self through and through. That might be a good way to go.


  1. Excellent insights Bee. :-)

    I think delegating is one of the more challenging aspects of being a leader; some people are just more of a control-enthusiast than others.

    I also like what you say about keeping it real. It reminds me of a song from Billy Joel called "The Stranger": "Well we all have a face~That we hide away forever~And we take them out and show ourselves~When everyone has gone"

  2. Bee- I think you have some really interesting opinions

    I agree with you on the whole delegating issue. It's really hard to trust people sometimes, especially when you are so passionate about the project you are working on. I think it's noble that you can recognize an aspect of your leadership needs some serious thought. but that's the first step right? Only once we are aware of things we need to work on can we actually try to change them.

    I also very much agree with the whole "keeping the human aspect" and your opinions. Inspiring people are true to themselves, and that is inherently terrifying. Being yourself is one of the scariest things in the world, because no one wants to feel rejected. It's hard not to take criticisms like that personally. I wish I had a suggestion, but all I can tell you is that you're not alone. I for one, definitely feel the same way you do.