“Real letter-writing… is founded on a need as old and as young as humanity itself, the need that one human being has of another.” -Agnes Repplier
It is a common trend in November to write gratitude posts and I always try to think of new ways to share my appreciation for my work, not just in November, but always.
This year has been so unique given the many challenges we have all faced and as I was thinking about my November blog, I knew that I wanted to write to all of you, the leaders in my life, and share with you the profound lessons you teach me every day.
Here are just five of the many things you have taught me:
1. Sustainable Selflessness
You inspire me every day with your selfless acts of service. It is not the grand gestures, although those are also notable, but rather the little things you do every day that speak volumes. I love how you see interruptions as opportunities versus burdens, knowing those you lead require something you have to offer. I love that through the pandemic, as water-cooler talk became non-existent, you took the initiative to reach out and serve others. You did this through sharing power graciously by delegating and relinquishing control, in many cases, at the perfect time. Perhaps the most selfless thing you do every day is you listen more than you talk. This is something I learn from you over and over again as you listen with the will to understand. The magic about listening is that it is the foundation of Self-Awareness. Because you serve those you lead, you have strong people around you who you can delegate and listen to which means you can sustain your level of service to others because you don’t operate alone.
2. Courageous Continuous Learning
You inspire me every day with your courage to learn. You arrive with an open heart and mind to face problems as they arise without flinching or retreating. I love that when you learn a new way of doing something, you don’t erase the old way in a broad sweep. Instead you talk with those you lead about what is to remain, and what needs to change. It is your gracious courage that fosters loyalty and trust because it comes from within you.
3. Energetic Empathy
You inspire me every day with your capacity and seemingly endless empathy for others. Because empathy is the cornerstone of Emotional Intelligence, this is something I so value in you. It is perhaps the thing we talk about the most and therefore it provides the most learning for us which is a testament to who you are in the world. I have worked with so many leaders over the years and I have seen firsthand those that lead with empathy and those that lead without it. I have watched your empathy shift company culture and grow businesses because those you lead feel heard and work hard because they know someone cares. You make yourself available, you listen and you follow up. Most importantly, you lead by example which leads me to the next thing I love about you …
4. Leading the Leaders
I am so inspired by observing your leadership in action. I have watched you lead your direct reports. I have witnessed your ability to build relationships with peers and stakeholders. I truly admire how you lead your leaders. It is perhaps the savviest of skills as it requires such a suspension of ego to truly engage at the executive level where there is seemingly so much to lose. You do this through your example. Because you are so committed, selfless, courageous, and empathetic, you teach others to do the same. Your reach is high and impacts the most senior executives because you are you and you lead from that authentic place. It is so powerful to see that one person truly can make a difference.
5. Hopeful Visionaries
Your hope inspires your vision and without a vision, there is no “why.” Without the why it is much harder to get up in the morning and you provide that every day. I love how bold you are with your vision and persistence. Your optimistic, focused ability to organize others is truly an example for me and for all those lucky enough to cross your path. You are magnetic and you draw people to you in a way that is so welcoming and inclusive. Because of this, you foster collaboration and innovation. Your vision is never just yours because it is a shared process and you are not afraid of improving and changing the vision as necessary. Most importantly, you understand that hope is what carries a vision. You are generous with spreading your hope in a way that breeds faith in others and that is perhaps what I love the most.
You are a sustainably selfless, courageous learner that demonstrates energetic empathy while communicating a hopeful vision. As the introductory quote so eloquently stated, without you, the leaders in my life, I would need that which was missing, YOU! In other words, thank you for all you have taught me about the love that you pour into leading. You inspire me always, but especially today and I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be on this journey with you.