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Find Your Voice as a Leader

For a long time, most of my career actually, I believed that in order to be a good leader, I needed to look, act, and speak like the people above me on the organizational chart. This made a lot of sense as a young manager trying to find my way in the professional world. However, something inside me always felt different.

Know Thyself

It should be no surprise that as a chronic achiever and people-pleaser, I clung to the notion that external validation was the pinnacle of success. From getting my parents’ praise as a child, to high grades in school, to exceptional marks on my employment evaluations, my desire has always been to prove to others that I am worthy of these measures of success. It was only after many years (more like three decades) of this pursuit that I truly sat down and thought critically about this question – “Who am I and how do I want to lead in this world?”

Challenging the Status Quo

I have always been the person asking the “why” questions. At home, school, and work, you could regularly hear me saying: “Why do I have to do that? Why are things this way? Why should we act that way?” But it has only been in the last couple years that I looked at myself and asked the "why" questions. After challenging the status quo most of my life, I realized that I needed to be more introspective and challenge my own ideas and behaviors. Everything from the way I live my life to the way I lead the people around me.

Finding My Voice

One of the most challenging things I have done in my personal and professional growth, has been to find my voice amidst a sea of noise created by the external world. To first define what I authentically believed and then to actually tell people those beliefs. I had to give myself permission to do this work. To counter the thoughts of fear in my brain so that I could speak honestly about my vision of leadership.

Finding my voice has been wildly uncomfortable but also completely freeing. This has been the basis of my work developing and empowering leaders for the future; to help people find their truth and build the confidence to use their voices to positively change the groups they lead. So now it’s time to ask yourself: “Why do I lead the way I do?” and “Is this the way I want to lead going forward?”



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