Johnda Buck Director LLDMy Individual Leadership Vision

“I desire to be a leader others will follow, if nothing else, out of curiosity.”  If you’ve heard me speak about leadership vision, these words will be familiar to you.  This has been my vision for nearly 20 years.  Not only do the words resonate with me, I desire the meaning behind the words to be a direct reflection of my soul.

Think about the conditions that need to be present before someone follows you just because they’re curious about where you’re going.  This isn’t my vision just so people will follow me; rather, I desire to have the conditions met that allows a team to actually follow someone out of curiosity.  For this vision to actually happen, there must be a high level of trust.   They know I have their best interests, and I always have their back.  They know I will have the difficult conversations and keep respect at the highest level.  Also, they know I’m going to be authentic in my communication, I’m going to have a servant heart – always putting their needs above my own.  They also know I will sacrifice for them.  They know they will receive proper recognition and credit for their accomplishments and we will honor the failed attempts and learn from them.  They know their ideas are always welcome and feedback is 360° in the team.  In order to achieve and sustain this, there are areas of my leadership style I must be evaluating constantly.  I will never assume I am good enough; rather, I must continually chase excellence.  When I stop chasing excellence and leading with intentionality, my leadership falls stagnant.  And ultimately, I am not fulfilling the Covenant Pledge.

My Approach to Leadership

For several years, we have focused on many leadership tools and techniques; each providing you a different or newer approach to a situation.  However, I would encourage you to reflect on your leadership to determine what’s working and what’s not working.  When someone is providing you feedback, and they tell you that you seem to have difficulty delegating; do you say, “oh yea, I’ve always been that way.”  Or, “yea, that’s nothing new for me.”  If that’s the case, rather than just admitting you’ve exhibited this behavior for many years, have you considered why it isn’t changing?  I’m confident if we all are authentic with ourselves, we all have “that one behavior” that we’ve had for years.  It’s generally a learned behavior and one that we slip back in to because of our comfort zone.  It’s a source of comfort for us, not because we know it’s effective; rather, we know it requires energy to change it.  Therefore, I challenge you:  What is the consistent feedback you’ve received for years in your career (or even personally) that you know you need to change; however, haven’t seen it as a priority?  What’s preventing you from tackling this?  What keeps you held to the ‘old’ ways of doing things?  What will you gain if you correct the behavior?   By accepting feedback from those around you and actively engaging in improvement methods, you help create a culture of feedback within the organization.

Confession time:  I have always had a very difficult time saying no to requests at work.  I will stretch myself and work endless hours just so I don’t have to say no.  However, this puts a strain not only on me, but typically those with whom I work.  Things usually get done, but my lack of proper planning often creates a fire for others.  I actively work on this; furthermore, I have told the team with whom I work, that this is one of my biggest weaknesses.  I’ve asked them to help me by holding me accountable for this.  In communicating this, it helps me be transparent and it has created an environment where I now receive feedback on many things outside my inability to say no.  Thus, it creates trust with the team.

I’m often asked for advice or guidance on how to be a better, stronger leader.  My advice is generally the same:  Lead with conviction and intentionality, and have the difficult conversations .  Know your areas of weakness and intentionally work on them.  Own your behaviors.  Ask yourself the hard questions.  “Am I striving to make a point or make a difference?”  “Am I more concerned with looking good or getting good?”  When you become intentional in your leadership, your focus changes from views of self to visions for your team.  Your team deserves strong leadership; leaders who create an environment of trust so that others have a desire to follow, if  nothing else, out of curiosity.