On Work and Politics changing my definition of (good) leadership (audio available)

Photo by Tomoko Uji via Unsplash

*If you are on the go, listen to the audio version of this post here: Anchor OR Spotify

It’s been a hot minute since my last “personal” post. I admit getting covid twice and my mental and emotional preoccupation with the PH elections took up all my energy, time, and resources. As the dust settles, what remains is my everyday life which is mostly about my work. Speaking of work, I must say I’m going through a period of re-learning. You see, before my current job, I worked as an independent/sole contributor for three years. I minded my own business and I was accountable only for myself. As an introvert and socially anxious, I enjoyed it, but it also meant I was as dispensable as a paper cup. During that three years of independence, I’ve sort of developed an aversion toward leadership. I saw some terrible leadership styles with my eyes, including wannabe leaders who pushed themselves to be titled just for narcissistic reasons and for power-tripping.

When I was in university, I joined the Student Council because I was bored and wanted to feel better about myself. But during those two years, I did not just feel good about myself but was also molded, thanks to our mentors, into a servant leader. Thanks to religion-inspired training and the hardships we faced as a group, I learned that rather than being imposing and authoritative, our style should be that of a servant leader. These I carried with me when I had my first stint as a supervisor in my first recruitment role.

Photo by Jehyun Sung via Unsplash

In my job now, I would be considered as a Managing Consultant. It means I am managing people, training them, monitoring their performance, giving guidance, and being directly responsible for what these people do and do not do, on top of my responsibilities as a “Billing Manager”. Let’s put it this way, I am still adjusting to having the responsibilities of being a supervisor again, and it feels like a baptism of fire. This ongoing experience changed my definition of leadership. Through the good leaders and leadership styles I’ve seen over the years, I learned that to lead means many difficult things: 

  1. You have to put the needs of others first before your own. 
  2. You have to treat people well or at the very least fairly, even if they cannot do anything for you in return. 
  3. You need to put your interests aside to serve others and for the benefit of others.
  4. You are accountable for the outcome of whoever you lead. Though I like to believe it is always 50/50, not 100% on the leader, not 100% on the followers/members/citizen. 
  5. You have to go out of your comfort zone to do difficult tasks that may likely not benefit you personally. 
  6. Your success is no longer defined by your accomplishments, but by how your followers/members/staff/business/country turns out. 
  7. You have to make unpopular decisions and you will be disliked for it.
  8. You won’t become close friends with your team, and it can be lonely. It has to be done because, in the workplace, you are foremost the leader. If you become friends with your team outside of work, that’s a bonus. 
  9. Most importantly: You have the power to inspire and convince others to do better. And when those inspirations multiply, it changes so many people to be better too and can create a movement for goodness.
Photo by Natalie Pedigo via Unsplash

Leaders can be parents, guardians, mentors, decent politicians, civil organizers, and effective corporate leaders. I give this ode to them because captainship is probably one of the most selfless acts someone can do. Why? Because now we live in a world that is all about me, me, me, or what’s in it for me. Also, as I age, the meaning of leadership to me, aside from the servant leadership sphere, now includes acts of volunteerism and charity. If someone can motivate us to have something else to live for aside from ourselves, we’ll be able to alleviate what broken systems could not provide for us. 

While I re-learn and continue to immerse myself in being a leader again, albeit, in a small group, I do hope that whatever I have imparted to these people somehow positively affects their work or life.

*If you like what you are reading here or on my blog, I hope you will consider donating or giving me a tip at buymeacoffee.com. This will help me get motivated to continue creating content for you guys. My link is http://www.buymeacoffee.com/halfreformed

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