Have you ever had a rotten boss? I mean the kind that just should not be leading? The kind who maybe gets your name wrong every time, or the kind of boss who hides behind an office door. I had one just like that. He was the principal of an elementary school, but you could tell he did not like children. He did not even really like teachers—or teaching, for that matter! Yet, there he was leading us.
Lucky for me, I had a good team. It was my first year teaching, one year out of college and even some experience under my belt. I knew, though, that this man was no leader. He could not remember his teachers’ names, let alone any of the students. He was not really respected at the school, because he never came into the classrooms! He somehow even delegated the job of observations and lesson plans to a Curriculum Coordinator who actually interacted with us. He was a far cry of a leader; everyone knew it. “How did he ever become principal?” I often wondered.
When you think of the word leader, what do you think of? I think of Jesus—someone who gets in with the people, someone who feels the pain of the people. A leader is someone who helps and guides and prays for his/her people. A leader is confident (yet, not over powering), stern, and gentle. Good leaders are really in the business of serving others.
When you interact with people in your business, you may not think of yourself as a leader like Jesus, but think of this quote on leadership from John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, and become more, you are a leader.” I like that image. I believe all of us have the potential to be a leader, and some of us have the potential to be GREAT leaders if we so choose. It is a choice. How do you see yourself as a leader in your business? Do you have the courage to be a great leader?
Courage is defined as a noun, but it is very much an adjective…an action word. You have to put action to it for it to be effective! One of the best pictures I have seen describing this came from Brene Brown. She points out four qualities of a courageous leader:
- Ask for what you need. Even leaders need help! Just ask—it’s biblical!!
- Speak your truth. Share with people what you know—it helps them and you.
- Own your story. When you share your story, people respect you for being real.
- Set boundaries. This seems very hard, but this, too, is biblical!
- Reach out for support. We are designed to be in community. Get help to be and do better!
Matthew 7:8 paints this picture the best. It’s a great representation of a healthy way to show courage. “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
Even if you work by yourself, you are a leader. You (should) have a community around you that you are reaching out to and serving. In order to gain trust and respect as a leader, you can always learn more. Use helpful resources around you to make yourself a better leader. As a NACWE member, you have this built-in community to learn from. A wise person gets it. Proverbs 16:16 states, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!” Do you choose understanding over gold or silver? I do, because what good is having tons of gold if I’m dong nothing good with it?
If you ask me, the biggest thing that my first boss lacked was the fact that he did not seem to understand the qualities of a leader, and that was why he wasn’t respected. But, what did I know at 23 years old? You are not automatically a leader; you become a leader.
Paula Tobey is a Healthy Living Coach for Parents, Speaker and Founder of PheMOMenal Life. Paula works with moms who are looking to put balance back into their hectic lives. Her inspiration for living a healthy lifestyle came as a mission from God and she is living proof it can be done one baby step at a time focusing on the five areas of health. She is a former special education teacher, mother of two great girls, and a water and nature lover. Learn more about Paula at www.PheMOMenalLife.com.