Whenever I used to hear the word leader the first thing that would come to mind for me were politicians, CEO’s, people with a title, power and wealth. I never that that normal people who aren’t powerful or have wealth could be leaders. But now I have come to realization that I was wrong. In the last three weeks there were a lot of concepts discussed about what leadership is and what leadership means for people. When I reflect on the concepts discussed in class about leadership the concepts that I found to be most meaningful to me were first that we are all leaders on an everyday basis, second the importance of examining our bias and having inclusivity and lastly that leadership is teachable.
The first concept that changed my understanding of leadership was by Drew Dudley who had a Tedtalk called “Everyday leadership”. In this TedTalk he talked about how many people are not comfortable with calling themselves leaders and the reason is because we have made leadership into something bigger than us, we made it about changing the word, we made it the impossible. He talked about this concept called the “lollipop moment” where someone did something or said something that you feel made your life better. This reminded me of my lollipop moment when I was in high school. Throughout high school this was never the type of student to have good grades. My teachers never expected me to do good in class either which led me to always doubting myself and believing that there was not point of even trying. I always thought that I would be lucky enough to even just get my high school diploma and going to college wasn’t even a thought that crossed my mind.
In my final year of high school, we had a new teacher named Mrs. Ross. On the first day of school she gave a little speech that to the whole class that till day I still remember. She said “Good Morning class, my name is Mrs. Ross I will be your grade 12 English teacher for this semester. For those students who haven’t always gotten the best grades or are doubting your ability to succeed. I want you to put those memories and feelings in the post. Think of this year as a fresh start, do better, study harder and don’t let what others say about your abilities affect you. You are the only person in control of your life and it is up to you to choose what you want to do with it.” Looking back, she was the person that gave me a lollipop moment that forever changed my life for the better. That year I studies hard, believed in myself and had a goal to prove to everyone that thought I wouldn’t succeed wrong. This video completely changed my views of who can be a leader. We need to understand and value the impact that we can have on someone’s life. It can be as little as changing one person’s understanding of what they are capable of, or ones understanding about the world. I never used to think I could be a leader but after this video I’ve come to the realization that anyone can be a leader and to be a leader you don’t have to have money, power or be able to change the world. Being a leader can be as little as positively affecting one person’s life, making what he call’s lollipop moments.
The second concept that had a major effect on the way I think in the video by Duke University called “Building an inclusive work environment” they talked about the importance of examining our bias and having inclusivity in work environment. They talked about how everybody has bias and its okay to have bias but what’s not okay is if you don’t examine it and do something about it. Bias can be explicit (consciously) it can also be implicit (unconsciously). I thought this was really interesting because a lot of people including myself don’t like to admit they have bias but in reality, we have implicit bias that we may just not be aware of or don’t want to admit to ourselves because were worried about how people may judge us. I believe it is important for me to work on my bias. I need to be more conscious of it and work towards examining my bias and making sure I do something about it. In the future I would like to work in a hospital as a nurse. And I believe that in order for me to be a better health care professional and better colleague I need to be constantly examining my bias.
They also talked about the importance of having an inclusive work environment. Inclusivity is about understanding, accepting and respecting that we are all different, look different, we grew up differently, have had different experiences, have different beliefs, cultures, sexual orientation, have different capabilities; mentally and physically. I believe that we all have something to contribute and these individual differences as a whole is what make the team stronger. For example, when working in a hospital as a nurse. If I have a patient that has different religious beliefs that me than there is something I may not know about their culture/belief. But if I have a colleague that has the same beliefs as my patient I can ask for advice and my colleague can help me understand better. Which can result in me giving my patient better care and a better experience in the hospital. Lastly was the concept that leadership is teachable.
In the video “What is leadership?” by Richard Rierson he talked about how a team of people could be super talented but they may not be able to reach an achievement because of the leadership ability of the leader also called “lid”. As leaders we need to raise our lid to let more potential flow through and in order to raise our lids we need to understand that leadership is teachable, it’s a lifelong process and does not happen overnight. I always thought that to be a leader it should come naturally but this video taught me that it is more than that it is a lifelong process. This made me understand that today I may not be the leader I want to be. But if I continue to teach myself, be open to new experiences and continue to grow. The potential for me to be great leader is there.
In conclusion I’ve understood that to be a leader I don’t need to have power, money, a title, or change the world. I need to accept that I have biases and I need to be more conscious about my biases and if needed to something about it. Being a leader is life long process it’s something you can learn and happens on an everyday basis. I need to start being more aware of my surroundings and understand that every interaction I have is an opportunity for me to grow and be a leader. I start being a leader in my life today.