Foundations of Leadership

Leadership is a deep topic. And if I said that we were going to look at leadership this morning, you’d likely expect some talk about ownership and responsibility, confidence, goals, decision making, setting an example, and inspiring others. And it is about all of those things, of course, and more.

But there are two crucial aspects of leadership that rarely get enough attention: meeting our needs, and celebrating our wins.

Most leaders I know are so busy showing up everywhere, and for everyone, that unless they make a conscious effort, often times they don’t end up on their own lists! So, many of our needs can get overlooked. Then we try to operate on top of those gaps, and discover that it’s not sustainable. Things eventually break down.

Nature dislikes a vacuum. It will find a way to fill it no matter what. Anyone who has tried to change their eating routine on a whim — without a plan or structure — knows that it doesn’t always work out so great. Maybe you allow yourself to get deep into the day without enough sustenance. Your hunger grows, but you didn’t prepare. We all know you’re going to have to eat something. And Katrina — our registered dietician — knows better than anyone that depriving doesn’t work. Because eventually we succumb to quick, easy, unhealthy choices around us.

We can’t run around with empty tanks and expect to be consistently successful. And I’m not only referring to food and sleep. We need to experience joy, peace, connection and other life affirming aspects of humanity.

These decisions are just as vital to your Leadership as how to prep for your pitch meeting, who to hire, and how responsive you are to client inquiries. Because they are in your foundation and will impact everything you attempt to build on top of it.

Just like it’s communicated on airplanes, it’s very important for all of us to make sure our own oxygen masks are on first. Only then can we truly show up and assist and lead others.

And a quick nod to another topic that deserves more focus — Celebration!

We know what to do when things break down and go wrong. We know that feeling of realizing we’ve made a mistake. And we’re quick to launch into action to make correction. But what happens when things go right? And the opportunities arise, and the deals close, and the money comes in? What then? Do you just put your head back down and move onto the next task, the next goal, the next acquisition?

It’s important for us to both acknowledge our success when it happens, and to set proactive rewards for when we accomplish our goals. If this seems like a foreign language, let me know and we can discuss further off line or in a future Education Moment.

Here’s to building a foundation of real support, where our needs are met, our actions are motivated, and our accomplishments are celebrated.

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