Thursday, January 17, 2013

Leadership Lessons: Boldness

Today I did something that really scared me. I led a group of 10 people in a two hour meeting on a new initiative that the board of directors (Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network) I am on is spearheading. That may be scary to some and not to others, but to me it was huge. I took a course in the fall on Not for Profit Leadership and so when this opportunity came up to be the lead on a vision / governance group I took it. It was a risk for the other people involved to let me take on such a big role but I guess they saw potential in me.

See I haven't been in leadership for seven years. Prior to that I was in leadership a lot. Seven years ago I started dealing with a major illness and this was the first time I was able to lead while still having this illness. Today after the meeting I went home and I cried because I knew it was a break through for me. It is the beginning of something new, I don't know exactly where it will lead me but it is my hope that I will someday be a leader in a not for profit.

To get ready for the meeting today I read the book Visioneering by Andy Stanley. A quote from the book states...  “Visions are born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be.” I care about poverty issues, I have for a long time. The tension I have between what is and what could be is the lack of affordable housing and positive community spaces for those living in poverty. I want to be apart of something that matters, that makes a difference. I can't talk about the specifics about this new project until the press release on Tuesday but it has the potential of impacting many lives. I want to be apart of that and now I am.

To get ready for the meeting I put together a work sheet that we would work through. Having a round table discussion always has the potential for a lot of rabbit trails. I started out by asking the question what is the problem and how is this idea the solution to that problem. Then we looked at the scope, what could this project encompass? Then we looked at a vision statement and a name. Finally I asked the question, what else do we need to know to move forward?

The discussion was fruitful and we accomplished our objectives. People left with a clear understanding of where we were heading and what they had to bring to the meeting the next time. I got some great feedback afterwards about how I had conducted the meeting and all of it was overwhelmingly positive. Those on the board with me knew that this was a big step for me and they made an extra effort to encourage me.

So what is my leadership lesson? Boldness. Step out and you never know what opportunities you may find. Be the solution to someones question and you will never lack leadership opportunities. 

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