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On leadership

I thought being a leader was... well actually I didn't really know much about leadership when I applied for my first leadership role, I applied because I wanted more money and to advance my career, oh and many of my peers had got management roles.


First day I found out how hard it was. Showing, explaining, answering questions, teaching, listening, understanding, arbitrating - so many elements to manage and so much to learn.


I moved country and went back into an individual contributor role. And loved it, it was easier to do, more manageable, and less stressful. But after a few months I applied for and got my next management role.


This time I lead a team of people 15-20 years my senior, all subject matter experts in their field of data book publishing and database management. It could have been a nightmare, but advice from a family member saved me. I walked in with curiosity - with the mindset of learning about what they did, discovering their challenges and pain points, seeking their ideas on solutions.

And that's where I fell in love with leadership, in those interactions, those conversations and achievements.


In my career I've held the silence for a colleague whose child was stillborn, counselled someone in cancer treatment; talked over career paths, workplace conflict, domestic strife and debated parenting styles.


Oh don't get me wrong I had to put staff on performance improvement plans, give hard to hear feedback, deliver the dreaded "lay off" talk track.


So to me, leadership is about listening to your people, to let them feel heard. And then using what you hear to lift, motivate, console, celebrate, develop the list goes on.


If you're interested in money there are easier ways to make it. Leadership is not for the faint hearted

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