Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Once a Leader

A common misconception in leadership is that if you have lead others before then you will always be viewed as a leader. This is not necessarily the truth. To use a cliché, “the proof is in the pudding.” Take this young lady I know. She was from a small town and had done well, been active in the community, serving in several leadership roles and operating her own small business. One day she decided to explore other options, which lead her out of state, amongst people she did not know, placing her in a competitive corporate culture with highly intelligent co-workers. She had a business background but had never worked for anyone much, and especially not on this level. It was truly like starting over. However she was quickly identified as someone with the initiative to solve problems and before long she was promoted and working full-time with C-suite executives. 

The fast pace of her career was exciting and lucrative yet after some time, she longed for home. When she returned to her small town roots, she noticed all the new faces of people who did not know her and about her accomplishments. This became clearly apparent when she returned to volunteer with an organization close to her heart. All of the seasoned members welcomed her back. She was immediately chosen to chair a standing committee of people she had never worked with before, people watching to see if all they had heard about her rang true. To their surprise, this young lady knew what true leadership meant. She did not rest on her laurels and past reputation, instead she stared the scrutinizers in the face, worked alongside them, and earned the right to be a leader in that organization, once again. 

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