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On Leadership

June 20, 2014

lisa hammershaimb

Coming up on my sixth month in the not-so-new-to-me position I now hold, I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership and what I’ve learned so far. At the beginning, one of my major concerns wast that I’d burn out or that I just wouldn’t have what it takes to command attention and actually lead. Good news is I am still going strong (and oddly enough way more intentional about personal boundaries than I ever was in previous roles) and I have a team that not only says yes to things but actually says yes with an excitement to them when I propose new and somewhat madcap ideas! So I’d say the leadership thing is something I definitely can hack.

Here’s what I think is the best crazy thing I’ve learned in my tenure thus far: When you are leading a team, the most important thing isn’t that you are always in control or you always dictate the next move, rather it’s that you take the time to get to know your team members well enough so that you can arrange for them to enter into positions where they will shine—where their strengths will kick in to turbo gear and they will take off. As a leader, I have the unique agency to create those situations and as a leader, there’s nothing better than seeing my team members hit their stride because the synergy from that is endless.

You need to be in control and have control but I think when the cool stuff happens it really is when you let go of that control and just sit back and allow yourself to be dazzled as everyone comes alive.

And here’s the hardest thing I’ve learned in my tenure thus far: Sometimes the best thing for people isn’t to be on your team anymore and yet they don’t want to risk the move. Change is scary and unknown and the mediocrity of where they are is preferable to the potentially awesome but also potentially awful beyond. I don’t know how to deal with these people yet…navigate these places and be this sort of brave.

Overall these six months have been so so so good for me and also for my school. Legit I am itchy in my job (as I seem to be in any situation after about a week and once it’s moved from total fear to being somewhat routine…it’s a sick sick thing that I can both totally fear change for all its newness and also secretly crave it like nothing else.) But for now I am committed to learn and I could not ask for a better team to lead as I do.

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