Anyone with a healthy ego would feel some hesitation at launching a personal website with “leader” appearing prominently under their name. Despite feeling that hesitation, owning my role as a leader is important.
As I work on putting this website together, Jeremy Corbyn has just massively lost an election in the United Kingdom. This loss is a real blow to vulnerable people in the UK and there are many opinions as to why it happened. I was struck by a quote saying that Corbyn has always been a “reluctant leader”. This may not have played a role in the outcome, but it made me think about the fact that I need to feel comfortable and confident in a leadership role in order to be effective.
I registered this URL many years ago but am only launching it now because, while I expect Blooming City to continue, I want to move forward with a new sphere of work — offering training to mental health service providers based on my experience as a service user. Although service user education has a considerable history, particularly in the United Kingdom, it is not a well recognized, accepted or understood endeavor in Canada. Identifying as a leader acknowledges that I have held leadership roles in the past, but more importantly it expresses my intent to expand an area of activity that will require considerable leadership given that the training we will be offering is one that our clients may not yet see the value of.
My achievements as a CEO of several charities are evidence that I am a competent organizational leader, particularly in leading through crisis and change. At the same time, over fifteen years experience running a small business, at first completely alone, has taught me a lot about my personal challenges and limitations. One perspective I have gained is that I am an effective leader in no small part because I am keenly aware of how much I need the support and effort of others in order to achieve and succeed. I deeply value my people (and yes, while jarringly connoting ownership, ‘my’ also invokes belonging, responsibility and protection, which are all important to effective leadership). Respect, flexibility and gratitude are cornerstones of my approach to leadership.
Leadership has many dimensions and can be effected in a multitude of styles. Exploring them is not my point here. I simply want to acknowledge my awareness that it is both somewhat egotistical, and very necessary, to identify as a leader if one wants to be effective in the role.