My leadership, my journey

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By Ivana Braga  

“It is a shame that so many leaders spend their time pondering their rights as leaders instead of their awesome responsibilities as leaders.” — James C. Hunter, The Servant

I used a Internet quiz based in Psychology to give some clues of my leadership style. Please, don’t laugh. Actually, it was quite accurate. You see, according to the system I have characteristics of participative and delegative leadership. It’s not bad at all. I made some progress. I experienced a process like that before in my country, Brazil, personally with human resource and headhunter professionals. The evaluation concluded that I do was participative, but not delegative. I like concentrate things in my hands.41 copy

No, I didn’t limited myself to take tests. How you can see on other post, I’m overdosed by American leadership. I’ve attend to seminars, read books and discussed in groups. As result, I found out about Servant Leadership. I identify myself on that pathway, and I know it a long journey. “Being others-focused instead of self-focused changes your worldview. Living in a selfless manner and seeking to help others enriches our very existence on a daily basis. Get your hands dirty once in a while by serving in a capacity that is lower than your position or station in life. This keeps you tethered to the real world and grounded to reality, which should make it harder to be prideful and forget where you came from.” Miles Anthony Smith, Why Leadership Sucks: Fundamentals of Level 5 Leadership and Servant Leadership

I asked Raquel Gutierrez, associate director at St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, to tell us about leadership skill. She highlighted three essential characteristics of successful and authentic leaders: Empathy, curiosity, and vulnerability. And she explains why listed vulnerability. “My experience with impactful leaders is that when they can easily admit they do not know or share an emotion that might not be valued in public/professional arenas, such as sadness, grief, abundant joy it creates a connection with others because these are core human emotions that everyone experiences at one time or another. I happily think this is changing because more case studies are being written on how these characteristics have benefitted well known leaders (Oprah, Brene Brown, President Obama, Sheryl Sandberg). Empathy is about being able to see one’s self in another – this is the cornerstone of being in touch with your humanity.”

Sandy Bahr, Chapter Director of  Sierra Club Grand Canyon, also shared her thoughts. “I think my leadership style is to try to inform people and inspire them to act. I try to make sure each person understands that they are powerful and can make a difference, and that by working together, we can make an enormous difference. I think that you really need to like people and also be able to connect with them to work effectively in the non-profit world. I enjoy meeting new people, hearing various perspectives, learning about issues, and generally working with people to try and effect change.I suppose one of the most important qualities in my work is persistence. Giving up is not an option – it is just too important.”

After all, I have to agree with Heissebein leadership is question of to be. Reflecting on my leadership style also reminds my childhood, learning by example. So, let’ me finish talking about part of my day. Today, December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela passed way. I knew when I got school. I was late for a meeting. I’ve a mix of weird feelings. It was not a surprise, in somehow the world expected it because he was sick for long. That day, I cried, but not for him, for myself. At the night, I refused read news about his death. I preferred to see some pictures Madiba young and old, in the prison, traveling abroad, in South Africa, along politicians, activists, children, family members. I read quotes and historicalNelson Mandela on Day After Releasefacts. Mandela did what he could, was persecuted and put in jail, suffered to establish another system and changed mindset of million of people about racism. After all, I was still too quiet. Then, I examined why. Of course I was sorry for us, for him, for our cause. I found out that doesn’t matter which leadership style we have. At the end the day or the life what really matters is to rest in peace. It depends what we are, do and which examples we let as legacy. Hail, Madiba!

I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die” – at the Rivonia treason trial in April 1964, when he faced the possibility of a death sentence.